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Simple Fund 360 vs Simple Fund Desktop with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

By BGL Update, Meet the BGLers, Simple Fund 360, TechnologyNo Comments

Change can be hard, but it’s important to remember that with change, comes opportunity, and when given the opportunity to add value to your clients, and really blow them away, I dare say, that’s a change worth getting behind!

Simple Fund 360 vs Simple Fund Desktop with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

How do you react when you hear the word ‘change’? Does it make you shudder, panic, slip into the great abyss of the unknown? Well, you’re not alone. Change can be scary, it can be time consuming, and it can be costly. But change, like anything in life, can be dependent on the attitude in which you approach it.

When I was working in my previous role as an accountant and the idea of switching from Simple Fund Desktop to Simple Fund 360 came up, naturally I wanted to cling to a product that I had come to know, love, and as far as I knew, was very efficient at using! However, with times changing, and advances in technology happening faster than Covid-19 lock-down restrictions being lifted, this was a change I knew was unavoidable.

As with any change, we went through the process of researching various cloud based SMSF software providers, watching product demos and preparing cost evaluations. Ultimately, the firm made the decision to continue with what had come to be a long-standing relationship with BGL, (even though at the time, Simple Fund 360, was probably the newest entry in the market and didn’t have quite as many features as some competitors – definitely not the case these days), the relationship that had been built with BGL over the years was important.

At first, saying that I was sceptical is probably an understatement. The software looked different, I didn’t know where anything was, and I had to learn how to process from start to finish, with plenty of hand holding from the support team, and numerous Help Articles. Then I had to figure out how to get all my reports together to put into workpapers, that could be reviewed in the same way that we had ‘always done it!’ Needless to say, some processes and reports that we were used to using, needed to be reviewed. Eventually, we were able to come up with a workpaper pack that covered off all the checks we needed to do, to give us peace of mind about what we were providing to not only the auditors, but as an end product to our clients.

During this implementation stage, we worked very closely with BGL. Given the number of funds we were looking after (less than 100), they could’ve looked at us as just small fish in a very large pond, they didn’t however, instead listening to feedback, implementing changes we suggested, and helping us not only understand the new product we were using, but also assisting us to get to an end result that we were happy with. Having worked with other software providers later on down the track, and hoping for the same level of cooperation, or openness to feedback, I can assure you that it’s not common.

Fast forward to implementation

Fast forward through this initial stage, and we soon began to look at ways to achieve efficiencies from the product. We started this by putting together an implementation plan, our first focus was Bank Data, and getting all of our clients onboard with this, so that we had up to date data, and could provide quick responses to those sporadic client queries of ‘How much can I contribute… today!’ or ‘How much more can I withdrawal – I’m standing in a car dealership and need to know NOW!’ Once we had bank feeds in place, setting up smart matching rules, made answering these questions on the fly a breeze.

Our next focus was on Data Packs, great for those clients that liked to manage their own investments and did a bucket load of trading. Not only could you generate a report that checked in with all their balances against Computershare, Link Market or Boardroom, but you could also have contract notes attached to each transaction, as and when it came through, rather than having to request all these documents however many months after the fact. Wrap Feeds came into place shortly after, and once we understood the power of the Global Chart of Accounts and set up of Investments, boy was it a game changer! Having data that feeds in, is reviewed in the first fund you process, and then feeds through to any fund with the same investment, think distribution components, and only having to enter these once per investment at the end of a financial year.

“Eventually, our SMSF processing team, found ourselves in a position where, what had once taken us 12 months to get through, was now taking us roughly 6 months, and we had a lot of spare time on our hands (another change!!!)”

So, we decided to use this time to focus on presenting clients their fund performance and current stats in a way that was more engaging than just a set of financials, we reviewed the accounts and found areas where we could add value. We reviewed whether they held Life Insurance, either in their SMSF or elsewhere, and if not, putting them in touch with the right people that could assist them or checking to see if they had multiple super accounts, inadvertently opened over the years, that could all be rolled into one, and actually able to grow their balance for their retirement, rather than being eaten up in fees.

The response and engagement from the clients for this added service that we were able to offer was amazing. Our team was also able to further their learning and expand into various other areas of the business, learning business service compliance, audit, and corporate advisory.

So, to end, whilst this change was initially scary, and definitely not without hiccups and pain points, perseverance, eagerness to learn, and ultimately the passion to deliver a better service to our clients were our driving forces. Change can be hard, but it’s important to remember that with change, comes opportunity, and when given the opportunity to add value to your clients, and really blow them away, I dare say, that’s a change worth getting behind!

CAS 360 New Features Webinar recap with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

By BGL Update, CAS 360, Product Updates, TechnologyNo Comments

All in all, a feature packed webinar from our CAS 360 team, with plenty of auto completing and time saving features.

CAS 360 New Features Webinar recap with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

Wow, what a release… times 2 (and a bit)!

In the latest CAS 360 New Features Webinar, Warren Renden, our product head for CAS 360, ran us through the new features released across November & February’s updates, including a sneaky second February release which covers some pretty important ASIC changes.

First up, let’s quickly duck back to November 2020 (no lockdown required, promise!). In this month’s release, look out for the ability to customise the company selection screen, and add a filter which shows the company status – trading, SMSF Trustee etc), also the introduction of Google address integration makes entering in addresses faster, thank you auto complete! There has also been some work done to the contact functions, with the addition of the foreign jurisdictions as CAS 360 further expands across international waters! Multiple email addresses for a client, or multiple contact numbers? No worries, these can now be added in too! You can also now store important identity information like drivers’ licence or passport details, handy to have on file, if you need to set up any new companies.

Working with Trusts? Or want an easier way to manage them?

CAS 360, now has a template you can download, enter in all your trust details, and we can import these trusts in for you. Which leads me into the second update released in February.

The updates in this February release covered the addition of the following trust functions; a new report that can show the Register of Trust Relationships, also a report for Trust Events. You can now prepare more documents for Unit Trusts transactions, such as the allotment journal.

Also, part of the February release, the introduction of a Casual Name in the contacts screen.

You can use this to generate those letters or emails and not have to worry about changing Robert to Bob, Jessica to Jess, also great with this new feature, the clients proper name will still be used in the documents, just not in the greeting of the email or letter.

As part of the additional release in February, CAS 360 has you covered for the recent ASIC changes on Illegal Phoenix activity. A very clear validation error will now come up when lodging a Form 370 or 484 to advise of any changes regarding the cessation of a director. If this form is lodged more than 28 days after the event, the effective date will now be overwritten by the lodgement date.

This webinar took a slight detour when the topic of auto reminders was raised, with lots of attendees wanting to see this feature in action. If you haven’t had a chance to look into this yet, make sure you check it out. The ability to set up and have reminders sent to those clients that can often be a bit forgetful, especially with the option of sending email or SMS reminders, can be a massive time saver. Best of all they automatically stop, once the documents have been signed, and even better still, the SMS function is included in your CAS 360 subscription, at no extra cost!

Another notable mention is the ability to auto import company details from ASIC when you take on a new client. A great way to ensure the company details you’re bringing in, are accurate.

All in all, a feature packed webinar from our CAS 360 team, with plenty of auto completing and time saving features. Well done to the CAS 360 team on another great release!

Simple Fund 360 New Features Webinar recap with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

By Homepage, In the Media, Product Updates, Simple Fund 360, TechnologyNo Comments

‘It’s not magic!’ but one could certainly be forgiven for thinking there has to be a bit of it happening behind the scenes!

Simple Fund 360 New Features Webinar recap with BGL Product Advocate, Alissa Haralambopoulos!

In the latest Simple Fund 360 New Features Webinar, Matt Crofts, our wonderful head of Simple Fund 360, ran us through what’s new, what’s been added, and what’s to come, and let me tell you, implementing even one of these new features is sure to add back time to your day!

From the introduction of having more control over digital signing with the addition of priority groups, yes, now you can elect that trustees/members sign first, ensuring tax agents or auditors don’t receive any notifications until it’s their turn, to the addition of the ability to add Direct comparatives for those often-occurring interim accounts. This release sure covers a lot.

The emphasis on using the account view, basically makes the need to run general ledger reports to gain a running balance, redundant. The detail in which this account view is now able to drill down is worth checking out, my personal favourite is the bank accounts, or the PAYG Instalments, which now shows which year each instalment relates too.

Another great addition is the ability to create % splits within the transaction rule screen, think of those monthly life insurance premiums, that historically had to be split manually, you can now simply set up a percentage rule of say 40% to be allocated to one member, and 60% to the other, and going forward this will now pick up this split. Also, great to be used in the instance where you have fortnightly or monthly rent payments that are split between Rent Income, Agent Fees, Property expenses, simply click ‘Review before Applying’, and any adjustments that need to be made can be done to the transaction, without needing to add the accounts in every time.

There’s also been an update to the corporate actions available for the 2021 financial year, for those of you processing on a regular basis. Also, in the investment space, the addition of a security description for those ASX listed securities that start to get a bit messy, think preference shares, convertible notes etc.

The new Feed Management License report also provides users with a great way to export and view their subscription usage in excel, both overall as a firm, and then drilling down into each fund.

Last but not least on the Simple Fund 360 front (note this feature is also available in Simple Invest 360), and this is truly where I think the magic is, is the update to the CGT/Smart Docs report function. Think of those funds you receive from another firm, after the initial excitement of winning a new client wears off, the realisation of having to recreate opening balances kicks in, and when this involves a vast investment portfolio, and receiving a huge unrealised capital gains report with multiple parcel purchases, a slight sense of dread is understandable.

“Not anymore! Simply upload the Unrealised CGT report into the CGT – Smart Docs screen, and the ‘magic’ of smart docs will read the report and input into the information into the software… historical data.. DONE!”

Not to be forgotten is also the extensive amount of work the team have put in, in developing our newest kid on the block, Simple Invest 360, the magic of Simple Fund 360, is now available for Trust, Company and Individuals.

The most noteworthy update in this latest release is the Tax Reconciliation screen, and distribution allocation functionality. Making working out your Taxable and Accounting Profit, and where it’s all going a breeze. If ever you found yourself as an SMSF processor, wishing for the ability to achieve the kind of efficiency you were getting with super funds with your trusts and companies, Simple Invest 360, is the answer. If you’re interested, jump onto our website, search for Simple Invest 360 and register for our Beta phase.

Looking forward to the next release and will definitely be keeping an eye on what’s to come, particularly in the historical and external contributions space, as well as the greatly anticipated workflow management screen.

All in all, a wonderful release of some great functions, features and well quite frankly magic! A big well done to the Matt Crofts, Andrew Paszko and both the Simple Fund 360 & Simple Invest 360 teams.

In case you missed it, you can watch the Simple Fund 360 New Features webinar recording below!

BGL very concerned about Total Balance Cap indexation

By BGL Update, Homepage, Industry, NewsNo Comments

BGL is very concerned about the practical implementation of the indexation of the Total Balance Cap.

“It’s simply too complicated” said BGL’s Managing Director, Ron Lesh. “Indexing the $1.6m cap to $1.7m is not the problem – it’s the partial indexation where a person has already commenced a pension that is crazy.”

“There are 2 real problems with partial indexation.

1. Potentially every person can now have a different total balance cap, and
2. Access to ATO total balance cap data is not readily available.

This makes these changes a nightmare for SMSF advisers” says Lesh. “The ATO and Treasury have known for 2 + years that this will be a problem but have done nothing about it. BGL and many others have been asking for API access to ATO total balance cap data, but our requests have been ignored – it’s simply not good enough.”

“Something needs to be done – and fast”

“The Government needs to find a solution to this – fast” added Lesh. “The simplest is to remove partial indexation and increase the total balance cap for everyone to $1.7m. This removes the complexity and is fairer than some of the other solutions. Why should the date a person commences a pension determine how much that pension should be? Clearly this is unfair”

“BGL needs to implement these changes in our market leading Simple Fund 360 SMSF admin software by 1 July 2021. Implementing partial indexation without access to ATO total balance cap data is going to result in many errors” noted Lesh. “Something needs to be done – and fast”.

BGL has over 6,000 clients representing over 200,000 SMSFs using it’s multi award winning Simple Fund 360 SMSF admin software. “It would be really nice if the government took into account the practical implementation issues of the legislation and made changes to help accountants who have already beared the brunt of the work around JobKeeper of the past 12 months” Lesh said.

Meet BGL’s Product Advocate, Alissa!

By BGL Update, Meet the BGLers, NewsNo Comments

Hi, my name is Alissa, and my journey to BGL has been quite an interesting one…

At 21, after completing a qualification in Event Management, which turned out, wasn’t quite for me, I found myself working in retail. It was during this time that I decided to further my education and get myself a degree. My love for processes and numbers, made accounting an obvious choice. Fast forward three years, and I had successfully completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting.

Even with my degree now under my belt, I still felt a bit apprehensive about entering the corporate office environment, and as such, deferred starting my accounting journey, instead opting to teach children to swim, whilst also training as a development manager. Although I loved my time working with children, the travel eventually became too much (Beaumaris to Caroline Springs – everyday!) and I felt I was ready to join the accounting industry.

“Straight away, my passion for process naturally drew me into the SMSF space.”

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a small boutique-chartered firm, which is where my accounting journey began. Straight away, my passion for process naturally drew me into the SMSF space, which is where I predominantly focused my time, also dabbling in Business Services and commencing my CA studies. I was largely involved in the firm’s migration from BGL’s Simple Fund Desktop Product to their cloud-based solution, Simple Fund 360. This change enabled me to focus on new processes, increasing automation, and improving efficiency, thus being in a position to really come up with ways that we could display client information in an engaging way, and focus time that ordinarily would have been spent completing compliance jobs, in adding value to the client.

It was during this time that I attended BGL’s RegTech conference, and the atmosphere, general excitement and passion at this particular event really resonated with me. This got me thinking about my career, and the direction in which I wanted to go. Whilst I loved my SMSF clients, and I really enjoyed working with the team, my true passion was the process, and because of this I made the decision, having just completed my Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (CA) to move out of the chartered accounting space, and across to BGL.

It was here, at BGL, that I realised the combination of hands-on experience using the product, the knowledge of how a firm operates and the technical understanding that I possessed, put me in a unique position of being able to not only understand the questions faced by clients when contemplating a software change, but also ways to overcome them, and really emphasised features of the products that make BGL an obvious choice.

I now look forward to expanding my contact base, working with the various product teams within BGL and engaging with a wider audience to discuss various topics, from product updates, tips & tricks to best practice methods.

Here comes the next part of my journey….

ASIC announce changes to Form 484 and 370

By BGL Update, CAS 360, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

As a part of the new Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Illegal Phoenixing) Bill 2020 there will be 2 law changes taking effect on February 18 2021. 

Ceasing last remaining Director

From 18 February 2021, companies will no longer be able to cease the last remaining director on ASIC records.

To enforce this, lodgements submitted using a Form 484 Change to company details, or Form 370 Notification by officeholder of resignation or retirement, to cease the last appointed director without replacing that appointment will be rejected.

There are some exceptions to this, including if:

  • the last director is deceased
  • the company is being wound up or under external administration; and
  • the officeholder never consented to the appointment

Changes that you will see in CAS 360

CAS 360 already had a block on resigning the last remaining director via a form 484, a similar block will be added to the form 370.

We will also add new messaging alerting the users when they are trying to cease the last remaining director.

Director Late Lodgements

There are significant changes for late lodgements of director cessations. 

From February 18 2021, if a director’s cessation date is notified to ASIC more than 28 days after the effective date then the effective date will be overridden and replaced with the lodgement date. Late fees still apply to the Change of company details form in this scenario. 

Example 

John Smith is a director of ABC Industries Pty Ltd. 

John Smith resigns as a director on 1 April 2020; however, the Form 484 is lodged to ASIC on 1 November 2020. 

On ASIC’s records, the resignation date will be 1 November 2020. The standard late fees will still apply. 

Changes that you will see in CAS 360

When lodging a document in CAS 360 that is going to receive a late fee. 

CAS 360 will always alert you. A new warning will now appear of officer cessation transactions that are later that 28 days to advise the user that the cessation date will be replaced with the lodgement date.

Important Changes to GuestTrack powered by BGL – our QR code check-in app

By BGL Update, Homepage, TechnologyNo Comments

GuestTrack started as an initiative by BGL to help our clients (Accountants) help their clients (Small Businesses) track guests in a COVID-19 environment. As industry leading software developers, GuestTrack was something we released quickly to relieve some stress for our community.

Today, GuestTrack is spectacular market leading guest check-in tool and as we now enter a new normal, we are introducing subscription options so we can recover some of our running costs. These changes come into affect for existing GuestTrack users on Monday 1 February 2021.

All current GuestTrack clients continue to receive a FREE subscription.

GuestTrack Subscription Free Basic Enterprise Not-for-profit*
Pricing Free $9 + GST per month Contact Us Free
Inclusions
Google Ads ✔️
Unlimited Check-ins/outs ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Unlimited QR Codes ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Customisable Form ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
56 Day Data Retention ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Email & SMS Notifications ✔️
Phone, ID & Face Verification ✔️
CRM, Booking & API Integration ✔️
AI Analysis & Data Prediction ✔️

* To be eligible for the Not-for-profit GuestTrack Subscription, you must satisfy one of the following requirements: (1) Your registered email ends with .gov.au (2) Your organisation is listed on the ACNC.

Visit the GuestTrack Pricing Page

Reminder: BGL cannot sell, share or profit from any of the personal data collected by GuestTrack as it is encrypted, and we simply do not have access to it. The data is owned by the GuestTrack account owner (business using GuestTrack) and no one else can decrypt or access this data. GuestTrack Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy