Accessible advice could boost economy

Australia’s economy would be more than $110 billion better off if the number of people receiving professional advice increased by just 10 per cent, new research has revealed.

The research, compiled by CoreData on behalf of CPA Australia, modelled the macroeconomic impact of making professional advice – including financial planning as well as other types of advice such as accounting, business and mortgage advice – available to the entire population.

It found that if all Australians had properly implemented professional advice, the economy would see a $630 billion annual uplift and age pension spending would reduce by around 22 per cent.

CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Jane Rennie said while such a scenario was unlikely, even a 10 per cent increase in the proportion of Australians accessing advice could see an annual economic boost of around $113 billion.

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On a per person basis, the research found that properly implemented professional advice could add 30.6 per cent, or around $25,000, to an average Australian consumer’s annual income.

The benefits were greater for younger workers, who could see a 40 per cent boost to their income by accessing advice, and retirees who could add around 36 per cent to their income per year.

The research also included a survey of around 1,200 consumers and 800 small businesses to gauge their views on accessing advice.

Dr Rennie said the results across both groups indicated “improvements in almost every aspect of people’s lives” when they sought professional advice.

“Respondents reported benefits to their physical and mental health, family and social life, relationships and work satisfaction from receiving professional advice,” she said. 

“The impact was even more pronounced for women.”

The research revealed that both consumers and small businesses had unmet personal advice needs, and that a potential source of this may be the current regulations around advice, which made it difficult for both groups to access the services they needed through one adviser.

“Consumers and SMEs view professional advice very differently to lawmakers. They expect to see one qualified adviser for a range of taxation, business and financial advice needs. But the regulatory framework isn’t designed for this,” Dr Rennie said.

“To realise the potential benefits identified in our research, we need to increase the accessibility and affordability of professional advice. This requires a system where consumers and SMEs can seek the advice they want from their chosen professional adviser.”

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