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Ron Lesh

APIs should be free!

By Homepage, In the MediaNo Comments

This is an opinion piece

I think charging for APIs that allow clients to access THEIR data is wrong.

It’s becoming a trend – a bit like buying disparate businesses – companies desperate for revenue decide to charge for access to their APIs. We are seeing more and more of this these days.

APIs for those who don’t know are gateways into your data. They are used by multiple software businesses to connect your apps together.

BGL made a decision on Day 1 of our cloud products that we would not charge for our API. We have reasonably simple rules around who can use the API – but the determining factor of whether the access is available is decided by authorisation from our clients. We authorise the connection – the client authorises access.

I find it interesting however some software companies think they are entitled to a share of revenue earned by the business accessing their API. How ridiculous! The data belongs to the client. The client is being charged a fee for the service provided. And now the client is being asked (and in the end the client will pay for this) to pay for the same data twice. What a racket. It’s almost an exhortation!

So if you are in our industry and your supplier decides to charge your connections (auditors, document providers, other services) for access to their API, please come and talk to us. We are happy to convert your data for FREE and even give you 6 months free to move to our solutions.

BGL achieves industry leading results for Customer Support!

By BGL Update, Culture, In the Media, TechnologyNo Comments

BGL is 14.7 hours faster at first support replies and 54 hours faster at providing a full resolution!

BGL introduced Zendesk as its technology solution for client support in mid-2018. Since that time, the BGL Team has worked to implement Zendesk in all areas of the BGL business, replacing old help databases, telephone support systems and, giving BGL the ability to add chat support.

Zendesk recently provided BGL with performance comparisons. The data showed BGL was 14.7 hours faster at first support replies and 54 hours faster at providing a full resolution to client problems than those in similar industries. 

“These results are amazing and were achieved through the skills and expertise of our Support, Client Success, Account Management and Data Services Teams” said Ron Lesh, BGL’s Managing Director. “I am really proud of our teams and their commitment to providing clients with excellent customer service”.

“I am also really impressed with the work of our Documentation Team” added Lesh. “27.74% of our clients took a first look at our documentation to try to resolve their queries – this is 21.71% higher than the industry benchmark of just 6.03%”.

“This is one of the reasons BGL won the 2020 National Australian Achiever for Excellence in Customer Service” noted Lesh. “We understand it does not matter how good a software is if customer service is bad. At BGL, our focus has always been on providing the best software and remarkable client experiences.

Zendesk Support is integrated with BGL’s software platforms CAS 360, Simple Fund 360, and Simple Invest 360, giving users access to Live Chat with a member of our team and the ability to log a  telephone support call without leaving our applications helps to provide our clients with a seamless support experience.

Find out more about BGL’s omnichannel customer support: bglcorp.com/hub/support/

BGL recognised as the 6th best technology workplace in Australia & New Zealand

By BGL Update, Culture, In the Media, Industry, NewsNo Comments

BGL Corporate Solutions, developer of Australia’s leading SMSF administration and ASIC Company Compliance software solutions, is proud to announce it has been recognised on 2021 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work List as the 6th best technology workplace in Australia & New Zealand.

“We are honoured to rank #6 on the technology list from nearly 700 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand” says Ron Lesh, BGL’s Managing Director. “The assessment, conducted by Inventium, requires a written submission from BGL and a Team survey, with questions relating to policies, practices, and programs at BGL. The methodology is underpinned by Inventium’s Workplaces of the Future framework, which identifies ten key factors critical to employees feeling motivated and engaged at work”.

“This is an absolutely fabulous achievement by the BGL Team and especially our People and Culture Team”, added Lesh. “Over the past 30 years BGL has grown to become the leading provider of SMSF administration and ASIC company compliance software solutions in Australia and we would not be here without our amazing team of 170+ committed professionals. We believe great goals can only be achieved with inspired and passionate people! This award recognises our efforts and practices to provide our staff with a safe, flexible, inclusive, and friendly work environment, where they feel inspired, motivated and produce amazing results for our clients”. 

“Inventium is proud to announce the 2021 Best Places to Work list in conjunction with the Australian Financial Review. We have undertaken extensive research into what truly makes a brilliant workplace and we are thrilled to recognise many organisations who are leading the way with innovative practices that drive key elements such as flexibility, wellbeing, and equality”, Inventium said.

ABOUT THE AFR BOSS BEST PLACES TO WORK LIST 

The AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list recognises and ranks the best places to work in Australia and New Zealand, by industry, and is the premier list of its kind. The list is judged and compiled by Inventium – Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy, using unique research-based methodology. In 2020, the list comprised ten industry lists, compiled from nearly 700 nominations. More info

ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW 

For more than 50 years The Australian Financial Review has been the authority on business, finance and investment news in Australia. It has a reputation for independent, award-winning journalism and is essential reading for Australia’s business and investor community. The Australian Financial Review is owned by Fairfax Media Limited [ASX:FXJ], a leading multi-platform media company in Australasia. More info

ABOUT INVENTIUM 

Inventium is Australia’s leading behavioural science and innovation consultancy. Inventium applies the latest findings from science to help organisations unlock growth through innovation and to create brilliant workplaces that get the very best out of their people. Inventium is the official methodology partner of the AFR Boss Best Places to Work List and the AFR Boss Most Innovative Companies list. More info

ASIC finally admits SMSF fact sheet was – WRONG!

By Homepage, In the Media, Industry, UncategorisedNo Comments

I have said many times that ASIC’s “Are SMSFs for you?” fact sheet was wrong. The use of ATO data to produce a document that was clearly misleading my view was ridiculous.

Well finally the ASIC Chair has now admitted to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics that it failed when this so called fact (I would call it factless) sheet was published.

BGL has been saying based on data for over 200,000 SMSFs the cost of running an SMSF is somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. It can be higher and it can be lower – it depends – but it is certainly it is NOT the $13,900 published in ASIC’s factless sheet.

I could say “I told you so” but I won’t!

Check out the article below for more info.

https://www.smsfadviser.com/news/19866-asic-admits-failures-in-smsf-operating-costs-fact-sheet

PS: Love Tim Wilson’s comments….

2020 was a mad year – but I am so proud of what the BGL Team achieved…

By BGL UpdateNo Comments

2020 was a mad year.

I think we are all happy it is behind us.

But, during 2020, I was really proud of what the BGL Team achieved.

Let me first look at the CAS 360 Team.

There were 17 software releases with over 400 new features released.

Just think about that – 1 software release every 3 weeks and over 1 new feature every day of the year!

Second, let’s look at Simple Fund 360.

There were 42 major software releases with 100’s of new features released. These include:

  • Simple Fund 360 – 15 releases
  • Simple Fund  360 Workpapers – 2 release
  • Simple Invest 360 – 7 releases
  • Simple Fund Mobile – 4 releases
  • GuestTrack by BGL – 12 releases

And these are just the major releases!

Apart from the work of these 2 teams, the Training and Documentation Team were tasked with updating the documentation and training materials for both products. These guys did an amazing job keeping up with the speed of development of the CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 product teams.

And last, but not least, let’s include the fantastic work of the BGL IT Team. The BGL IT Team released myBGL and a huge amount of internal development during the year. This team also made numerous software releases of both myBGL and to other internal systems.

Not a bad effort from 3 of the sensational teams at BGL.

Working from home the Teams proved they are consummate professionals.

I am so proud of what was achieved in a very difficult year. I am so proud of each and every one of you!

 

The future of BGL’s Simple Fund Desktop

By BGL Update, Homepage, NewsNo Comments

Below is an email I sent to Simple Fund Desktop clients today.

If this affects you, please speak to your BGL account manager

************************************************************************

I am writing to advise you of the future of your BGL Simple Fund Desktop software.

As you would be aware, there will be a number of significant changes to superannuation law in the 2021 calendar year. These changes include indexation of the pension cap of $1.6m, Superstream Rollovers and the ability to have 6 members in an SMSF.

BGL has made the decision to not make these changes to Simple Fund Desktop and therefore 30 June 2021 will be the last tax release of Simple Fund Desktop.

BGL launched Simple Fund Desktop in 1997. This software has had an incredible life but eventually all good things must come to an end.

BGL will continue to support Simple Fund Desktop clients. No date for the cessation of support has been set and we know it will take a while for all clients to move to Simple Fund 360.

What’s next?

Simple Fund 360 is the natural move for Simple Fund Desktop clients. Migration is seamless and ALL data and reports are migrated from Simple Fund Desktop to Simple Fund 360, meaning you do not lose ANY of your valuable data.

To prepare for your transition to Simple Fund 360, it’s best to start early by:

  1. Reaching out to your Account Manager
  2. Preparing your funds for migration
  3. Signing up to Simple Fund 360
  4. Setting up your data feeds

My Account Management and Client Success Team are here to help make your move absolutely seamless. I have asked them to reach out to you in the coming weeks to help you get started but if you would like to contact us, please call on 1300 654 401.

Finally, let me thank you for being a Simple Fund Desktop client. For many of you, I know Simple Fund Desktop has been a part of your lives for a very long time. I hope Simple Fund 360 will help you continue this remarkable experience

Early release of super makes a difference

By BGL Update, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

This has been a tumultuous year for BGL, our clients and the superannuation industry.

During the year, the government introduced another super early release scheme – this time in response to COVID-19.

I have asked our friends at mProjections to do a couple of calculations to demonstrate the impact of a withdrawal and how to engineer a higher retirement. Please check these out.

Example 1

Phillippa, 29, worked in the hospitality industry with 2 jobs, total income (pre Covid) of around $55,000pa, pre-tax. She is single and had built up a Super balance of $25,000.

Shortly after loosing one of those jobs, she withdrew $8,000 without thinking about the consequences to super. Her Super had been invested in a typical ‘Balanced’ Investment Option with 65% in growth assets.

Using the mProjections Report, Philippa moved her post-withdrawal balance to a High Growth Investment Option (85% in growth assets). She saw that, before withdrawal, she would have $55,194 pa annual retirement income for 25 years, but with a move to High-Growth – without additional contributions – she would enjoy a $57,415 projection. Most importantly, her upside for a considerable improvement in retirement spending would increase.

 

Example 2

Jonathan works as an electrician in the western suburbs of Sydney and had his hours reduced to 20 hours per week for 3 months. He decided to withdraw $8,500. Using figures in our Report, he saw how to increase his $79,747 tax-free pre-withdrawal retirement projection by moving the balance of his fund to a High Growth Investment Option and a consequent retirement income projection of $82,442.

He also noted the greater likelihood of upside. ‘Low’ here is 15% of assets in growth.

 

If you would like to prepare an mProjections report for your clients, check out their website.

 

From the desk of the BGL Managing Director | 2020 in Review

By BGL Update, HomepageNo Comments

We are nearly at the end of 2020, and what a year it has been. It is certainly not a year I want to remember and the sooner we get (in my opinion) to 2021 the better.

BGL has a lot to be thankful for this year. Your support of my team and I has been fantastic and we all really appreciate it.

Working from home, Zoom meetings, doom and gloom from our media, has made our lives difficult. The winding back of restrictions, especially in Victoria, is well overdue.

We decided to close the BGL office for 3 weeks from 21 December 2020 to 8 January 2021 (inclusive). My team needs this time to refresh and recover from what has been a tough year. Very few have had any time off during the year.

I am looking forward to 2021 and the gradual opening up of Australian business. I feel very sad for so many small businesses that are not able to reopen. As a small business owner, my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

For BGL, 2021 will be very exciting. With the release of our 3rd cloud product Simple Invest 360 and some amazing developments coming from our product teams, 2021 will provide a heap of opportunities for clients and our Team.

I would like to sincerely thank the BGL Team that has grown to over 170 through 2020. The work you do and the service you provide our clients is invaluable.

Last, I would like to thank each and every one of YOU for being BGL clients in 2020. I hope we have lived up to your expectations.

Please have a safe and happy festive season and a prosperous 2021!

Was our reaction to COVID-19 over the top?

By Homepage, In the Media, UncategorisedNo Comments

Was our reaction to COVID-19 over the top?

There has been a lot written about Australia’s response to the COVID-19 virus. You have many cheering on the lockdowns and restrictions most of whom were largely unaffected. Politicians, public servants and most of the media were very lucky to escape the economic consequences of COVID-19.

But as most of our clients know, their clients were not. Many thousands of businesses will never return.

Many people, especially the young, will find it difficult to find a job for a long time.

Some businesses were lucky – they were able to not only survive but thrive during COVID-19. I am lucky BGL was one of those businesses.

But the question I keep asking is did we overreact ? And don’t think I am being heartless. I said all along we need to protect the vulnerable – a job which was done extremely poorly by the Victorian state government. But we also needed to better handle testing and maybe we should have put ANYONE who had the virus in proper quarantine. rather than letting them stay at home and go out for exercise!

We still have no idea of the long term mental health consequences of the lockdowns. I see it in my people. I see many suffering from a lack of social contact. Those that have regularly come into the office through the lockdown appear to be in a better mental state than those who did not. I worry about the long term effects and wonder what it would have been like if the virus was handled this differently.

I look at countries like Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam who did a great job of managing COVID-19. They did not do it with lockdowns. They did not lecture or scare their communities – they brought their communities along for the ride. Unfortunately our governments did not take this approach.

So what would have happened if our governments had not imposed draconian lockdowns on our communities ? The answer is we don’t know. The Andrews government imposed masks in Victoria, for example, but gave no time to see if this alone reduced the spread of the virus. In other words, in the name of keeping us safe, our governments and their group of poorly qualified Chief Health Officers decided on what was easiest for them.

I don’t know the answer – but either do they.

What I do know is unemployment is only being kept low by Jobkeeper and that our governments have generated a huge amount of intergenerational debt that our children will have to repay. I wonder if they really understand this. Few of our politicians were around when interest rates were 20%

We certainly are not all in this together.

Those who imposed the rules are all fine. Most did not lose 1 cent of income – in fact many even got a salary increase during COVID-19 while their lockdowns put so many people out of work. Those on whom the rules were imposed are not fine.

I always question when a government says we are doing this to keep you safe. Because keeping us safe always seems to lead to a loss of our rights and freedoms.

I have had huge concerns about the mental health of my team during the lockdowns in Victoria. The Victorian government seem to have ignored mental health. They are so focussed on eliminating COVID-19 they forgot all else. More is being written about the mental health affects of the lockdown now. I recently came across this article Victoria fights back COVID-19, but at what cost?

I would probably prefer to be less safe because the cure seems to have been far worse than the disease.

And finally, please checkout the attached article by Chris Kenny of the The Australian. He says this a lot better than me:

Time to unmask the coronavirus alarmists and sideline the fearmongers – by Chris Kenny |
Download here!

 

BGL is dismayed by Treasury’s proposed 45 day SMSF accounts rule!

By BGL Update, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

BGL is dismayed at Treasury’s proposed 45 day SMSF accounts rule.

“It’s just dumb” said BGL’s Managing Director, Ron Lesh. “Why do SMSFs need to prepare their financial statements 45 days before their lodgement date? It just makes no sense”

In a draft amendment to the The Treasury Laws Amendment (Miscellaneous and Technical Amendments) Regulations 2020 it is proposed to insert a new regulation 8.02AA into the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 to require accounts and statements for SMSFs to be prepared at least 45 days before the annual return is required to be lodged.

“I am trying to understand why this is necessary or where this has come from” asked Lesh. “It will not improve SMSF reporting, it will not improve SMSF audits, it will not improve SMSF annual return lodgements – so why has it been proposed?”

“In fact, in my view it could do the opposite. It could put SMSF trustees in a position where they need to backdate accounts – for no reason or benefit” noted Lesh.

“The SMSF industry has clearly said this change is unnecessary and that it would simply be an additional burden on SMSF trustees, administrators and auditors” says Lesh. “I thought post COVID-19 we were trying to cut unnecessary red tape rather than add more regulations to an already incredibly over-regulated industry.”

“I hope Treasury is listening” stated Lesh. “I do not know who came up with this dumb idea, but one would suspect it was someone who has no experience in the real world. A clear statement from Treasury or the Government this change will be dropped is needed now before it causes more angst in the SMSF industry that has already suffered through a year of extreme stress.”