BDO’s Quarterly Superannuation Update | March 2024

BDO’s Quarterly Superannuation Update | March 2024

Welcome to our first edition of BDO’s Superannuation Quarterly Update for 2024, where we provide the latest news and insights from the ever-changing Australian superannuation and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) landscape. In honour of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, this quarter, we have a special edition to acknowledge the contributions of the women in our team.

International Women's Day holds profound significance as a reminder of the achievements and contributions of women throughout history, acknowledging their resilience and strength in various spheres of life. Beyond celebration, International Women's Day gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing challenges women face worldwide, from gender-based violence to workplace discrimination. It prompts collective efforts to break down barriers, empower women, and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society.

Superannuation can play a significant role in advancing us toward gender equality, as many women face financial hardship in retirement. By addressing the unique challenges women face in the workforce, such as career interruptions and wage disparities, superannuation policies and practices can contribute to narrowing the retirement savings gap. Representation in the industry and advocation for pay equity measures can positively impact women's ability to accumulate sufficient superannuation throughout their careers, ensuring a secure retirement. By recognising the systemic imbalances within the superannuation system and working towards reducing these imbalances, we can create a more equitable financial landscape that fosters true gender equality - not only in retirement outcomes but also in broader society.

Our Superannuation team is committed to having conversations inspired by International Women’s Day, recognising that there is no better place to start than with our own people.

Paul Rafton, BDO’s National Leader for Superannuation, conducted a special Q&A session with a selection of our Superannuation Managers nationwide to discuss International Women’s Day and their experiences as women in the industry.

Lisa Philip, Brisbane

Lisa is our National Superannuation Manager at BDO. Prior to assuming the role in January 2022, she spent fourteen years as a key member of BDO's Superannuation team in Perth. Lisa is a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) Specialist Advisor, accredited by the SMSF Association, and holds a Master’s degree in Taxation. Residing in Perth with her husband and three young children, Lisa efficiently manages her professional and personal responsibilities by working remotely.

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

Early in my career, my manager at the time, Pat Kelly, who still runs our Perth Super team, told me to "be confident and back yourself," and this is something I've kept close. She meant that I should trust in my own abilities, instincts, and decisions, even when things are uncertain and challenging.

Following this advice isn't always easy, especially when I feel like I might not be good enough to get the job done (the dreaded imposter syndrome), but remembering to be confident and back myself helps me overcome those doubts and stay strong in my beliefs.

My mentors still remind me to be confident and ‘bold’ (one of the core BDO values), and it’s always good to get a reminder to believe in myself and trust that I have what it takes to succeed, even when things seem challenging.

Tenille Ireland, Adelaide

Tenille is a Senior Manager in our Adelaide SMSF team and has been in the SMSF industry for 16 years. She is passionate about SMSFs and enjoys working closely with clients to understand their needs and implement solutions that deliver positive outcomes. She has achieved specialist qualifications including being a SMSF Specialist Advisor through the SMSF Association (SMSFA). Tenille is on parental leave after having her second child and looks forward to returning to work in June 2024.

Which women inspire you the most, both professionally and personally?

In my professional life, I am most inspired by Shirley Schaefer, Superannuation Partner in Adelaide. I met Shirley early in my accounting career, and when I commenced my specialisation into SMSFs. She was someone I admired for her dedication to the SMSF industry, her incredible technical knowledge and ability to communicate and present to large groups of people with confidence. Over the years, she became a mentor to me, and I have always been extremely appreciative of the support she gave to me and my career.

There were many things that needed to align for me to have an opportunity to work with Shirley and I am grateful that they did almost two years ago.

Going to work every day to work with someone I deeply admire has been life-changing for me professionally. I continue to learn an immense amount from Shirley and am inspired every day to not be afraid to be ambitious and to push myself to reach my goals.

Personally, I feel very lucky to be surrounded by incredible women who inspire me to continue to strive to be the best version of myself. These family and friends who work hard, take risks, tackle challenges and don’t quit, brave adversity with grace and kindness, and chase and live their dreams all inspire me to embrace each day and prioritise what matters to me. They give me the confidence to set big goals and take on the challenge with the belief that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. I am inspired every day by these women.

Diana Wong, Brisbane

Diana is a Senior Manager based in our Brisbane team, bringing her expertise and dedication to the firm since 2017. With a passion for the field, she is pursuing a Master of Financial Planning, demonstrating her commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends. Outside of her career and academic pursuits, Diana is joyfully navigating the journey of planning her wedding.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #inspireinclusion. What does this mean to you?

This year’s theme of #inspireinclusion for International Women's Day is significant to me professionally and personally.

Inclusion, to me, signifies more than just the representation of women in the workplace—it encompasses fostering an environment where every individual, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or background, feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

Moreover, #InspireInclusion reminds us of the importance of advocating for gender equality and empowering women to take on leadership roles and pursue opportunities for professional growth and advancement, which I believe our Superannuation teams at BDO excel at!

Furthermore, having parents that immigrated to Australia, I recognize the importance of embracing cultural diversity and creating spaces where individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds feel respected and included.

Ultimately, #inspireinclusion is about fostering a culture of belonging where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued for who they are.

Beth White, Cairns

Beth joined our team as a Senior Manager in November 2022 and runs our Cairns Superannuation team. Working in the SMSF industry for 18 years she is a Chartered Accountant, CAANZ SMSF Speciallist and SMSFA Specialist Advisor, and is qualified to provide financial advice on superannuation. In her spare time, she loves building Lego and travelling.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Diversity in the workplace provides us with the opportunity to broaden our skillset and leverage off others to work cohesively while fostering innovation. Diversity brings together different ideas and perspectives and can often be the secret to a successful, thriving workplace.

Kirsten Williams, Sunshine Coast

Kirsten is the Manager in our Sunshine Coast SMSF team. A Chartered Accountant and SMSFA Associate, she has been with the firm for seven years. Kirsten resides in the rural hinterland of the Sunshine Coast with her two teenager daughters, enjoys playing soccer, and has a love of cricket and bushwalking.

Define a great leader—What are three traits you think great leaders possess?

To me, a great leader continuingly strives to make a positive difference through being courageous, taking risks on people and believing in others. Importantly, a great leader is always in learning mode. I continue to remind myself that being a great leader means it is ok to make mistakes, while at the same time, trust myself to know I have the capability to make a positive difference as a leader, whether it be parenting, volunteering, or in a professional capacity with BDO. Watching others rise and achieve is a great leader’s reward.

It is very challenging to narrow down great leadership qualities to only three, but if I have to choose, they would be empathy, integrity, and adaptability.

Pat Kelly, Perth

Pat has been working at BDO for over 35 years and runs our Perth superannuation team. Pat is a Chartered Accountant, SMSF specialist, and a St Kilda (and part time West Coast Eagles) supporter.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

I believe that we should celebrate the day (and every day), to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements we have made as a society. At the same time, to keep reminding us that we need to keep pursuing the positive changes required - reducing inequality, discrimination, abuse, harassment, providing more opportunities for education for all. The ability and right for all to be able to make choices for themselves.


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