SMSFs – working with clients to avoid common mistakes


Shirley Schaefer, BDO
One year on from the introduction of the latest superannuation reforms, advisers are still coming to grips with a range of issues that can have a lasting impact on individuals’ retirement planning. Together with the continued growth of the sector, this has led to the increase in demand for tax and superannuation advice from those with superannuation clients in the profession. 

The SMSF $700 billion sector represents almost a third of the total superannuation system, but the poor performance of SMSFs have some in the industry calling for reform, including suggestions for a minimum threshold for setting them up.

Whatever the future holds, they remain a popular small business investment vehicle, and advisers need to be aware of the opportunities to help clients’ growth, and the risks that are present.
At the 2018 SA Super Day, Shirley Schaefer (BDO) presents the session ‘SMSF hot topics plus tips and traps’. She previews her session here.

Shirley said, “The complexity of SMSFs and the super rules has made a comprehensive understanding of super out of the reach of most of our clients, even the best educated. This means that clients will make mistakes and not know until we pick it up. This can have significant tax consequences for the SMSF or the individual.”

With the 2017 super changes now behind us, Shirley’s session looks at current issues facing SMSFs, including common errors and ATO warnings.

“I’ll cover where the risk areas exist for SMSFs in 2018/19 and when looking back at the past twelve months. The rules have become far more complex and clients will make mistakes. I’ll be detailing those common mistakes, the areas that the ATO is focussing on for SMSFs and providing some tips on how to best educate your clients. It’s always better to prevent than detect & rectify after all.”

“I’ll advise on where delegates can and should focus their attention for SMSFs, checking those ‘hot spots’ first, covering how to get on the front foot with your clients to prevent these mistakes occurring and to how to minimise any adverse tax consequences.”

Shirley has presented regularly at Institute events over the last five years, and said “I’m an auditor by training but a SMSF expert by choice. I entered the SMSF industry almost by default, but quickly found my niche. I am passionate about all things super and helping clients who have fallen foul of the ATO is what I enjoy – setting them on the straight & narrow. Getting me to stop talking super is the greatest challenge.”

2018’s SA Super Day program also covers practical issues resulting from last year’s reforms, the superannuation guarantee, super death benefits, issues related to powers of attorney and SMSF’s, and winding up a SMSF.


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