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In the Media

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 lobbies Treasury to drop 45-day reporting proposal

By Homepage, In the Media, IndustryNo Comments

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Published by SMSF Adviser, powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
Written by Miranda Brownlee on 19 November 2020

SMSF software firm BGL has called on the Treasury to drop its proposed 45-day preparation requirement for SMSF accounts, with the SMSF industry having “already suffered through a year of extreme stress”.

BGL managing director Ron Lesh said the proposal to require SMSFs to prepare their financial statements 45 days before their lodgement date makes no sense and could lead to increased instances of backdating.

“I am trying to understand why this is necessary or where this has come from. 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?” Mr Lesh said.

“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.”

Mr Lesh said the SMSF industry has made it clear that the change is unnecessary and that it will simply be an additional burden on SMSF trustees, administrators and auditors.

“I thought post-COVID-19 we were trying to cut unnecessary red tape rather than add more regulations to an already incredibly overregulated industry,” Mr Lesh continued.

“I hope Treasury is listening. A clear statement from Treasury or the government that 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.”

BGL is one of the latest firms to slam the measure, with the accounting bodies and associations such as The Tax Institute and the SMSF Association all expressing concern about the proposed reporting requirement.

“The proposed amendment will achieve nothing beyond forcing the preparation of SMSF accounts into a tighter time frame which will place additional pressure on accountants and those assisting SMSFs in the preparation of their accounts,” The Tax Institute said in its submission.

“Around 99 per cent of SMSFs use a tax agent to lodge their annual return, and tax agents cannot afford to lose 45 days out of their schedule to prepare SMSF accounts earlier in order to meet the proposed requirement.”

Not all corporate compliance and SMSF admin software is the same

By BGL Update, Homepage, In the Media, UncategorisedNo Comments

Not all corporate and trust compliance and SMSF admin software is the same. There are reasons why clients invest in BGL software and why you should be very cautious investing in our competitors software.

So:

I could talk about longevity – BGL has been in corporate and trust compliance and SMSF admin software business over 30 years.

I could talk about our management team – between them they have over 100 years experience in corporate and trust compliance and SMSF software industry

I could talk about the skills of our teams – with so many CA’s CPA’s, MBA’s and SSA’s

I could talk about the awards we have won over the past year – 2019 AFR’s 5th Most Innovative Technology Company or our National Award from Australian Achiever for Australia’s Best Customer Service (in the category of computer systems, software and internet services) or the 2020 FinTech Breakthrough Award for Best Regtech Company.

But I am not, I am just going to talk about product features. And to make it simple for your to compare corporate compliance, trust management and SMSF software solutions, I have created a checklist for you to compare our software products with those of our competitors:

So:

First, ask our Sales Team to SHOW you each of these features in our software.

Second, ask our competitors sales people to SHOW you each of these features in their software. Not TELL you their software has a feature,  BUT actually SHOW you the feature and HOW the feature works in their software.

I am confident this comparison will demonstrate to you the HUGE difference between BGL’s software products and those of our competitors.

Last. The one BIG thing that sets businesses apart is great customer service. The BGL Team provides sensational customer service. My team genuinely cares about you – our clients. We don’t care about our share price – because we don’t have one. We do not need to impress analysts and investors – because we don’t have any. The only people we need impress, the only people for whom we need to create remarkable experiences – is you, OUR CLIENTS.

So check out the feature lists, speak to my team, and let us create remarkable experiences for you ad help you create remarkable experiences for your clients.

Early access impact overstated

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Published by selfmanagedsuper
Written by Jason Spits on 29 April 2020

The impact on the retirement income of superannuation fund members who choose to withdraw $10,000 from their fund in the current financial year under COVID-19 early access measures has been vastly overestimated by some models, according to an investments and retirement-focused fintech firm.

mSmart managing director Derek Condell said while the models put forward by ASIC and Industry Super Australia (ISA) are using figures presented in real dollar terms, they have also factored in inflation until the age of retirement, which in some cases could be up to 40 years away.

Condell said modelling conducted by mSmart, using algorithms developed by mSmart director Dr Frank Ashe and which eliminated the inflation component, found the overall decrease in a final super balance was around $30,000 for a super fund member aged 35 at the time of early access and who had an initial balance of $70,000 at that time.

He added the decrease translated to only a $55 a fortnight, or $1430 a year, drop in an original estimated pension drawdown of $58,000 and similar declines were seen for members currently aged 45 and 55 and retiring at age 67 and drawing a pension from age 68 onwards (see table below).

“We have calculated the above with a 50 per cent probability and assume that the investment portfolio is continually invested in assets despite markets having fallen from their highs, and the results are shown in today’s dollars, where we have taken inflation out to give a meaningful ‘like with like’ result,” he said.

“We have done this to show what purchasing power people would have with their superannuation if they were accessing the money today compared to what these funds may look like in 10, 20 or 30 years, and the impact is minimal.”

The firm’s numbers echo comments from a senior Treasury official who was questioned during a senate committee about the modelling used by ISA in producing its figures.

ISA released its model on 26 March and estimated fund members could face an impact on their final superannuation balance that was twice that estimated by ASIC on its Moneysmart webpage.

Responding to questioning from Senator James Paterson as to the difference in the figures, Treasury retirement income policy division head Robert Jeremenko told the the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, which is examining the government’s response to the pandemic: “The major reason for that is the use of nominal figures rather than real figures. Those figures that ISA quote do not use today’s dollars, effectively.

“That is inconsistent with what ASIC has told super funds and what ASIC has told anyone who is making public statements about the effect on retirement balances of various withdrawals from super.

“So it makes intuitive sense to me that you use today’s dollars when you’re trying to estimate what effect a withdrawal will have at some point in the future, which is what the ASIC Moneysmart calculator does.”

mSmart recently announced it was in the final stages of developing an app that projects the likelihood of the future value of superannuation, savings pools and education funding plans, taking into account all the uncertainties of economies and markets.

ATO extends 2019 SMSF lodgement date to 30 Jun 2020

By BGL Update, Homepage, In the Media, IndustryNo Comments

I hope this was as a result of lobbying by the accounting bodies.

When I last spoke to the ATO, I was told the accounting bodies supported the ATO position of asking each tax agent to apply for extensions. What changed their minds ?

I called out the previous ATO position as stupid.

It is nice to see the ATO eventually agreed!

https://www.accountantsdaily.com.au/tax-compliance/14271-tax-commissioner-yields-on-lodgement-deferral

BGL update as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

By BGL Update, Homepage, In the MediaNo Comments

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is becoming a difficult challenge for many Australian businesses.

At BGL, we’re closely monitoring the impact of the virus and following the Australian government recommendations to support our people, customers and community during this difficult time. We encourage you to check out our update, stay connected and put in place a strategy to get you, your team and your clients through this difficult time.

BGL People – Working from Home

Commencing Tuesday, 24 March 2020, all BGL team members will be working from home.
Our systems enable us to continue to deliver the highest level of support and service to you. Your ability to continue to use your BGL products and access the online help and resources will not change.

BGL Software Support

We would like to encourage you to:

  • Log your support queries through your BGL software. This is available in both our cloud and desktop solutions.
  • Make use of Live Chat in CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360.
  • Email your support queries to us at [email protected].

BGL Incoming/Outgoing Calls

Incoming calls – Our phone lines are still open for general enquiries and will be answered by our administration team.
Outgoing calls – If you are expecting a call from a BGL team member, please be aware that all calls from BGL will display as a “Private Number”.

Software Updates regarding the Economic Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Simple Fund 360 team has been working through the recent Coronavirus Economic Response Package. We are conscious that you may be receiving queries from trustees wishing to review their pension payments and also firms looking to implement possible strategies before the TBAR Lodgement dates. We have therefore broken the changes down into two stages. With Stage 1 and Stage 2 now complete.

For more information, visit: https://sf360.zendesk.com/hc/en-au/articles/360040874312

Investment Opportunity

After receiving many calls about migration to cloud-based apps and understanding this is a tough time for all businesses, BGL is offering an investment opportunity to get you up and running – Buy now, pay nothing until 1 July 2020 (offer available to new clients, desktop clients migrating and cloud clients upgrading subscriptions).  Click here to find out more >>>

Classroom Training

All BGL product training will now be held online indefinitely. So, you can learn from the comfort of your home office! The content provided in our virtual classes will be exactly the same as our classroom training – only the delivery format will change to be via Zoom.

Here is our online training schedule for March – April:

Week 1

  • 31/03 – CAS 360 Essentials – 1pm – 5pm AEDT
  • 01/04 – SF360 Level 1 – 1pm – 4pm AEDT
  • 02/04 – SF360 Level 2 – 1pm – 4pm AEDT
  • 03/04 – SF360 Level 3 – 1pm – 4pm AEDT

Week 2

  • 21/04 – CAS 360 Essentials – 1pm – 5pm AEST
  • 22/04 – SF360 Level 1 – 1pm – 4pm AEST
  • 23/04 – SF360 Level 2 – 1pm – 4pm AEST
  • 24/04 – SF360 Level 3 – 1pm – 4pm AEST

Course Fees: $150.00 + GST per person, per course

For more information, visit: www.bglcorp.com/hub/training

We will continue to work within government guidelines and recommendations, placing the well-being of the BGL team at the core of our actions. We are also committed to you as our clients and we will do all we can to support you during this difficult time.

Feel free to contact your Account Manager on 1300 654 401 if you have any concerns or queries.