Meg's Musings July

8 Jul 2020

Meg Heffron

Managing Director

Just when I thought I would be writing my monthly article for our newsletter with no reference to Coronavirus, it flares up in Victoria in a major way! Our best wishes to all of you in Melbourne who have just gone into lockdown again and to those with businesses (or business clients) that will yet again be decimated by the next six weeks. 

In many ways I expect it has been even harder to return to isolation having experienced some lifting of restrictions. And I hate to think of the impact on the hundreds of restaurants or other face-to-face businesses that had just started re-opening.

Given that the start of the calendar year has been so challenging, I had hoped the new financial year would be more cheerful. Certainly the superannuation news is largely positive – some long awaited changes for contributions after age 65 have finally materialised and the one gap in these changes will hopefully be passed in the next sitting of parliament (an excellent blog by Alex Denham on the current state of play features in this edition). 

At Heffron, we’re continuing to work on expanding the resources, tools and education for advisers and accountants. 

You’ll have seen already that we’ve launched our Super Companion (resources) and the first item in our Super Toolkit (tools). Work on these will continue – if you’re a Companion subscriber you will already have seen the rapid expansion of our “Under the Microscope” section and Toolkit subscribers should be on the lookout for more features in the next few weeks. 

On the education front, so far we have focussed on providing a steady stream of webinars, masterclasses and discussion forums like our SMSF Clinics. We’ll be providing our first online Super Intensive Day in October 2020 and the team are very excited about the challenge of bringing the “Heffron family vibe” to an online event. There are plenty of ideas! 

In the latter half of 2020 we’re also now ramping up work on our education platform so that we can provide ongoing online learning opportunities for you and your colleagues. One possibility we are considering early on is to make some of the education we currently run for our own staff publicly accessible. Every fortnight, our accountants, support staff and technical team receive a few pages of reading and/or a brief video to prepare for a short quiz (10 questions at most). We introduced this as a simple way of keeping our team up to date with the latest superannuation changes and providing us with an avenue for quickly socialising topical client questions rather than sending hundreds of emails and expecting our staff to remember them all. 

But we’ve discovered some other (somewhat unexpected) benefits. By providing the materials and quizzes every fortnight but in small doses, our staff have effectively embedded regular learning into “normal life” rather than specifically taking time out to attend webinars or in-house training sessions. There is definitely still a place for these formal and longer events but the fortnightly quizzes have added a new dimension to supplement this.

The quiz results give us great insight into areas of strength and weakness (corporately, across teams and for particular individuals). The quiz participation shows who is eager to learn and has helped us identify some rising stars that might otherwise have stayed under the radar. And the fierce but friendly competition that has naturally emerged gives us all a great laugh when the results are announced at our fortnightly staff meeting. 

I have to confess that the biggest laughs are reserved for the times when I am (regularly) beaten by our staff. 

And that just ignites my own competitive spirit and determination to read the questions more carefully next time (having said that, I only got 87.5% today). 

We’d love to know whether having access to this same material would be valuable for your organisation – or even if it’s not, what you would prefer instead. Please take the time to help by completing the short survey.

Take the survey

Believe me we really do use these survey results. The last time we asked a lot of questions about education, you told us that you really wanted reference material that you could use afterwards, not just a great course. The Heffron Super Companion was born out of that feedback. We realised that great papers and materials at the time of doing a course were good but an online, constantly updated and expanding resource could be even more powerful.