It’s that time of year where as a Product Manager you begin to reflect on the achievements, challenges and fires extinguished over the past 12 month and begin to look forward with a clearer vision with what you have learnt.
Here is a brief review of what the amazing Simple Fund 360 team achieved in 2018.
SMSF Compliance Tsunami
Anyone who has worked in SMSF space for over a decade, knows every so often you are faced with a tsunami of legislation. Well 2018 was certainly a major weather event for both SMSF practitioners and software suppliers.
The team started early, with our first compliance update delivered January 18th, enabling clients to generate the new ATO paper TBAR forms. The team continued to execute in 2018 implementing over 200 features and improvements into 17 separate staged releases. Compliance changes involved: CGT Relief, Exempt Current Pension Income, TRIS Retirement changes, New Contribution Types and Limits, AMIT Distributions, 2018 Tax Time Changes and the onerous new Transfer Balance Reporting requirements. The amount of change presented major challenges for SMSF specialists and Tax Agents having to navigate the new reporting requirements.
The volume of change was a major challenge , but how the teams worked alongside our SMSF clients to implement the change in smaller bite sizes chunks, made all the difference. Effective planning provided clients with early options to create manual TBAR forms for early windups. Later adding Bulk Lodgements for opening balances followed up a few weeks later with ECPI changes and cancellations allowed clients to progress through their annual workload. A big shout out to Anthony Fernandez, Jeevan Tokhi and Joanne Ng for their leadership and persistence in getting this volume of compliance executed , including seven actuary providers updated and delivered to clients in a timely manner. Importantly the Support Team led by Pablo Rodriguez and Success/Documentation teams led by Anthony Costa and Samuel Boyce kicked into high gear, guiding clients with numerous webinars, videos, training tips and tens of thousands of individually completed support calls and emails.
Scale was an essentials ingredient in 2018
Throughout 2018 calendar year 56,500 paid funds were added to the platform a tribute to our Sales Team lead by Andrew Paszko . With success in the cloud , the real challenges truly begin, with scaling and performance being critical as we approached 20000 monthly active users. Everything had to scale in unison. Our engineering team, measured over 100 million historical transactions migrated across to Simple Fund 360. During this rapid growth period, the engineers were under the hood implementing continuous performance upgrades and security measures. Best of all they did it relatively quietly. Yes we are human and there were a few minor unplanned outages, however for 2018 we scored an important 99.995% uptime score. Put another way we had less than 30 min downtime for the entire calendar year. The engineering teams even managed to squeeze in both a major tooling and a database upgrade. This is like boring a new high capacity subway tunnel while the city above you goes about its business, oblivious to the machinations happening under their feet. A big thank you to technical engineering and DevOps teams leads Jing He, Roy Fernando, Kevin Gao, Chen Wei, Samer Shami and Ashley Avileli.
More Data – More Automation – More Insight
In 2018 it became even more apparent, that without Daily SMSF data you are at a significant disadvantage to your peers. Having to make decisions around CGT reset and Pension Commutations without data, is the equivalent to stumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch. The connected service team lead by Brad Wilkinson and Roy Fernando added over 80 new Banks Brokers & Wraps providers through 2018. This is a significant effort and the teams persistent focus on adding new feeds requested by our clients has resulted in BGL now providing a greater number of options in the SMSF data arena.
The big data team meanwhile focused on adding more insight to this data. Through smarter rules and improvement to algorithms, that continuously work in the background, we moved closer to the goal of “Zero Touch” SMSF processing. The result, over 30 million unknown bank transactions, were coded in the background, with little to no human interaction. Chief among the “Zero Touch” innovations in 2018, was the Smart Matching AI features. In August – RegTech18 we released Smart Matching. After two years of solid research by our Head of Development James Luo. This incredible time saving feature can automatically categorise any SMSF bank transactions with up to 99.97% accuracy. With as much candour and as little BS as possible, James is honestly one of the smartest yet most humble human I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Thank you, James, for your dedication to the SMSF industry you have removed a lot of the drudgery from processing Bank Transactions and can’t wait to show off some new custom build SMSF Machine Learning algorithms in 2019.
Two Peer Awards
After a few false starts and 5 years of solid work the team always knew we were in this for the long haul. As Ron Lesh would often tell us, building an SMSF product is like bringing up children it is very rewarding but has significant challenges as the child develops into adulthood. Well at least we broke through the terrible twos and threes. Clients are seeing the product as mature and well rounded. In 2018 with your assistance, we were fortunate enough to be awarded SMSF Software of the year for at the SMSF Adviser SMSF Awards as well as winning the CoreData SMSF Service Provider Awards for SMSF Accounting Software/Administration.
I would like to sincerely thank our CEO Ron Lesh and General Manager Daniel Tramontana for their guidance and support of the Simple Fund 360 Team. I’m am so proud of our product and how together we have helped change the SMSF landscape for the better. I hope that in some small way we have reduced not only the cost of advice but also helped many Australians with their retirement.
Most of all, I’m proud of the people that I work with each day. When you have a team of amazing people all doing their job a little better than they have to, you get incredible results. Thank you to everyone in the Simple Fund 360 Team for all your work and putting up with me in 2018.
On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you our clients for your continued commitment and support to BGL and the Simple Fund 360 product, and wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
We look forward to returning in 2019, energised and ready to continue working with and for our SMSF clients.