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We have an endemic of leadership in this country

By Culture, Industry, Tramma Time, WellnessNo Comments

We have an endemic of leadership in this country. The biggest threat to our nation and people is not the virus. It is in fact many of our leaders.

As a 1st generation migrant, I was so proud to call this country home. So proud when I traveled overseas to boast about the beauty of our landscape, freedoms and wonderful opportunities available to all. Friends and family would engage with me with a sense of envy of the beautiful country of Australia.

Today I am not so proud. Today I am disappointed that the fabric which once distinguished our very country from the rest of the world has been torn apart.

In my VIEW, the deterioration of our society across this nation is directly attributed to our leaders. Many of our leaders have forgotten that their purpose is to serve the people. To set the stage, creating a society that is united and overflowing with opportunity. A society that is inclusive, considerate and respectful. One where differing views are accommodated, respectfully discussed, and embraced. One where an individual is not mocked or shamed for communicating a deeply held belief.

Instead, many of our leaders have caused a deeply divided Australia. One where people’s choices have been eroded and mandates have been forced. Compliance has been heralded and bragged about as great leadership. I instead view it as an abuse of power and coercion to force outcomes. People forced to make a choice between putting food on the table and or going without, is not a choice. For some, it may be, but for many, it’s about dignity, provision and survival.

Consider the recent protests in Melbourne where those who attended branded extremists. A small % may well be, the majority however are not. They are normal everyday Victorians who are appealing to the tone-deafness of our leaders. What I can not believe is the government officials not presenting themselves before the people to hear their cries and address their needs. Instead, with arrogance and contempt, they press on because the preservation of their pride and the need to be right is far more important than doing the right thing for the people.

Countless decisions by many of our leaders and their behaviors leave much to be desired. For many in power, their experience and qualifications (huge lack of) to hold a position has me questioning the validity and competence of those elected to run a proper economy, education and health system. Let me ask a question, would you let an accountant perform a knee reconstruction? Absolutely not. The reality is, many of our leaders are elected on personality, popularity, spin and how big their budgets are to run good campaigns. Being friends with those in power also seems to be an important checkbox to be ticked when assessing the suitability of a candidate. Very obvious is the fact that qualifications and experience are not part of the recruitment equation.

We need an overhaul of leadership in this country.

We need people to step up who are competent, qualified and most importantly invested in this great country and its people.

People who will push aside the narrative, take a stance and truly represent the people that trust them to lead.

The Human Touch

By Bec Loves CX, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

Steve Jobs previously said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around”. I could not agree more!

Too often we focus on simply getting the task done and we avoid putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients to truly understand what solutions the business should be providing.

To apply experience design, there’s a process involved and elements you need to consider:

  1. Research: Conducting studies, interviews, and observations to determine problem and cause. Ask questions and listen!
  2. Analyse: Review findings and re-define the problem. Sometimes step one can reveal that the problem you thought you had initially is far bigger than you anticipated.
  3. Ideate/ Prototype: Create ideas to solve the problem.
  4. Prototype/ Test: Put it to the test! Show your clients and take on feedback for the final solution.

The key takeaway I get from these steps is that it is vital to involve your clients in the process – this is type of design approach is referred to as ‘Human Centered Design’. We must involve our clients in designing their experiences to ensure we are providing them the right solution. You’d be very surprised how many of your clients would love to be involved in such initiatives.

It’s important to also recognize that not everyone knows where to start when it comes to this and if this is you, I encourage you to consider recruiting a person who has the experience (internally or externally) and is passionate about it.

Here’s a great example of the payoff this type of design process can achieve for your business:

A hospital in America wanted to know how they could ensure they were providing a pleasant experience for the patients that stayed with them. In pursuit of human centered design, they hired a professional experience designer to conduct research and provide recommendations.

The designer jumped into a hospital bed and placed a camera next to his head (in-line with what he could see) and spent a day in the life of a patient. Watching the footage back, he identified that for most of a patient’s day, all they saw was a dull grey roof. Fellow patients concurred that they were sick of looking at it. Imagine how bored you’d be!

Following the research conducted, the hospital had their roofs painted by a professional artist and eliminated the dull grey. Patients were delighted with the change and the feedback was nothing but positive. It gave them something else to focus on during what is usually a difficult time.

If the hospital hadn’t have hired this professional, odds are they would never have thought to jump into a bed and take a walk (or lay) in the shoes of a patient. Very effective and the return on investment was profound.

As we Australians head into summer, I encourage you to take a walk to your local park sometime this week, sit in the sun and watch this TEDx talk by Evan Fried on your phone. It’s 8 minutes long and will open your mind to designing experiences that solve problems. Get some vitamin D and a better understanding on how to tackle the next stage of your CX journey!

What services or products are you cooking up for clients that might need the human touch first?

Data-Driven Decisions

By Bec Loves CX, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

You’ve put your Customer Experience Strategy out into the atmosphere and now your team and your business have the foundations set and completed your first step in becoming a CX guru! 

What happens next? You deep dive into understanding your clients, using Voice of Customer (VOC), Customer Insights and Understanding.

When you listen, you learn!

Shifting your focus to understanding your clients is the best approach for enabling your team to gain a genuine understanding of who their audience is. When you know this, you can then start using this information to align your CX strategy and your CX delivery with your clients’ best interests. Calling all Accountants – Who doesn’t love making data-driven decisions, am I right?

There are two types of approaches that can be used to collect information:

  • Quantitative 
      • Relationship surveys
      • Touchpoint surveys
      • Focused surveys
  • Qualitative 
    • Unsolicited customer feedback
    • Ethnographic research
    • Focus groups
    • Voice of employee – Don’t forget, employees are our clients too!

For example, Airport security collected data (quantitative) and conducted observations (qualitative) of passengers to identify that floppy-eared sniffer dogs were viewed as less intimidating to passengers and made the experience more enjoyable and people more cooperative, therefore in most cases, the dog that sniffs your bags prior to departure will most likely look like a dog you would want to cuddle.

How do we make sure we provide the “fluffy puppy” experience?

Whilst quantitative data collection enables you to make data-driven decisions, you must consider the fact that the surveys are created by you, and you decide what to ask – Before you send a survey, ask these questions:

  • What are we trying to achieve – Is the survey going to bring value to the business? Or am I wasting clients time with a pointless survey?
  • Are we asking the right questions? 
  • Are we only asking what we think we need to ask and not what we should be asking?
  • If we’re asking the wrong questions, is the data going to be accurate? 

As much as accountants thrive on data, it’s important when collecting it, that we get it right or the decisions we make based on the results will be misaligned. Data can be our friend or our foe, don’t rush the process and make surveys valuable!

Qualitative information is where you can start to build up client personas because everyone is different but is just as important as one another in the CX lifecycle. 

Client personas are fictional characters that represent the key characteristics of the main types of clients you will encounter through the business. It is an easy way of capturing your understanding of them and putting a personal touch on them.

For example, you might have a client that (for persona purposes) is called ‘John’. John is a 37-year-old business executive, who is a sole trustee of his own SMSF. When he comes in for his annual appointment with you (the accountant), you notice he drives a Tesla and always wears a handmade suit. John is sophisticated and is always short on time.

For someone like John, you would design your CX delivery based on your CX strategy and ensure it aligns with his persona.

Again, this can be your friend or your foe. Don’t ever simply create personas off the top of your head. Do your research and really get to know people. This will ensure your fictional characters accurately represent different pools of clients that do business with you and help you to design CX journeys for each type of client.

Your investment in research and data collection should be at the core of every decision you make, be it CX or otherwise. How are you going to adopt these approaches in your business today?

Streamline Director IDs with CAS 360

By BGL Update, CAS 360, IndustryNo Comments

CAS 360 is helping ASIC registered agents manage and streamline Director IDs for their clients!

CAS 360 is Australia’s leading cloud solution for the management of companies and trusts.

The recent introduction of Director IDs means Australian company directors are required to identify themselves with the ABRS via MyGovID between now and November 30, 2022.

ASIC Registered Agents help businesses handle the compliance requirements of the vast majority of Australian companies, so the job to ensure every company director has a Director ID will ultimately fall on their shoulders…

That’s where CAS 360 can help!

To help manage and streamline the administration of these new requirements for ASIC Registered Agents, BGL released a suite of Director ID features in CAS 360. We have not just “added a field” to record the Director’s ID. We have provided a suite of features to help you through the process. Click here to skip ahead to our video >>>

Director ID Alert

The Director ID alert will show CAS 360 users the company directors that have completed their Director’s ID.

Director ID Screen

The Director ID screen provides CAS 360 users with the ability to:

  • Send a customisable email to all company directors about the new Director ID requirements,
  • Send email reminders to company directors when the Director ID deadline is approaching,
  • View which company directors have not completed their Director ID requirements,
  • See if a contact is a director in multiple companies,
  • Add a director’s email address, and
  • Add a director’s ID number once the director has completed registration.

See CAS 360’s Director ID features in action!

Watch our video to hear from BGL’s Head of CAS 360, Warren Renden and see a live demonstration of the Director ID features available now!

If you would like to learn more about CAS 360 and how it can benefit your business, contact the BGL sales team on 1300 654 401 or email [email protected].

Tramma Time: The Great Mitigation.

By Culture, Industry, Tramma Time, WellnessNo Comments

The great mitigation.

There has been a lot of talk and publications across the world talking about the Great Resignation. For various reasons, it is estimated that a significant percentage of the workforce is looking to switch jobs when things go back to the new version of normal.

Let’s not sugar-coat this. This is a potential threat to business. Let’s face it, losing good people is hard at the best of times. Given the current shortage of labour right now and the difficulty with recruitment, losing good people will have an impact on us, our clients and the businesses that we run.

While there is a focus on the resignation, I want to turn this on its head and focus on The Great Mitigation.

What do I mean by this? Simple. I would like to explore how we as business owners and leaders can work to minimise resignations and keep the people who are key to our business.

We cannot control the external environment; we can control our internal one. This is the place of our greatest influence and control.

As I reflect on what we have done at BGL and from my personal observations, here are my top 10 tips to help you retain your people.

  1. Culture – great culture attracts and retains people. Define it. Be intentional about it. Dedicate time to it daily. Culture is not set and forget. It requires hard work, resources and intent.
  2. Training – all team members need a training plan. Clearly defined and documented. By investing in people, you will grow and retain them.
  3. Know your people – it’s all about relationships. Take the time to know your staff. Invest time in them and let them know you care. Ensure that you are accessible and present. Take the time to have conversations and reconnect with your people. Organisation company-wide and smaller team events is also a good way to connect with people and will ensure people are connected again.
  4. Flexibility – it is fair to say that going back to the office 5 days a week, is a thing of the past. Speak to your team. Involve your people and come up with a plan that supports a good balance and meets the needs of your business.
  5. Review salaries – undertake a review of all salaries. Make the necessary adjustments. Get on the front foot and don’t allow salary to be the determining factor why good people leave. Of course, there are limitations but engage in the conversations openly.
  6. Eliminate fear – communicate your commitment to employee well-being and safety. Make clear the resources and investment you are prepared to make to help them through and support them in the best way possible.
  7. Recognise and reward – you, your team and your clients have endured a lot over the past 18 months. Recognise and reward the efforts of those who deserve it. Take a moment to also recognise your clients in a small way.
  8. Measure engagement – I do not see many organisations do this. It is so important to know how invested your people are and to what extent they believe they are part of the journey. There are many great products out there that not only make it easy for you to measure engagement, but they also provide guides on how to improve it.
  9. Language – eliminate negative talk. Minimise the time spent living in and talking about the past. For many people, this will trigger responses that can be negative. Inspire hope and optimism by using words that bring life, hope and the aspiration for a better future.
  10. Define your why – make what people are coming back to exciting. Articulate a picture of the future that is exciting, inclusive, full of opportunities and at the same time challenging. Capture the hearts and minds of people by believing in them and allowing them to be the best version of themselves.

I just want to encourage you that the possibility before us really is limited to our thinking. Our actions, behaviours and belief in people will make all the difference as to the culture and ultimately the business we build.

Your investment in your people and culture makes a difference.

What are you going to change today?

Customer Experience Strategy: Building the boat!

By Bec Loves CX, Homepage, IndustryNo Comments

Before we can steer the ship, we must first build the boat!

Last month, we worked on coming to terms with how clients truly perceive us, and we’ve got a pretty good understanding of what remarkable experiences are. The next question we need to ask ourselves is “What’s next?”.

Before we can steer the ship, we must first build the boat! This is where your Customer Experience Strategy comes into play. Call me a CX nerd, but I absolutely LOVE this part of the process as it’s where creative freedom is your friend and you start to bring CX to life.

The CXPA defines the CX strategy as “… our intended Customer Experience, how it links to our overall organisation strategy and objectives and how it aligns to our brand values and attributes.” This will build the foundations of your approach to customer experience and give your team direction.

We need to create our vision, values, and branding, centred around CX and aligned with the business direction. This will build a foundation for realistic expectations of experience for your staff and your clients.

For some inspiration, The Ritz Carlton Hotel penned their CX vision as “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”. When I read this, I would assume that as a customer of the Ritz I could expect an experience of a glamorous standard, to be wined and dined. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hector Elizondo from ‘Pretty Woman’ was there, ready to teach me which fork goes first. I drew this conclusion from one sentence, powerful right?

Once you have your vision, you can build on this with values. These are generally short points outlining the core values that support your vision and sets a standard of what you might look for in potential applicants that join your team in future. For example, if I were tasked with writing the values that underpin The Ritz Carlton’s vision it would comprise of words such as:

  • Opulence
  • Exclusive
  • Personal
  • Refined

Now that you have your vision and values, we need to consider what implicit and explicit promises your business is making to the wider audience. Below are some questions to ask internally and externally – Remember, we can never assume we know the answer ourselves!

  • What are our clients’ expectations of the experience we should be providing, based on the impression our brand portrays?
  • What specific promises are we making? 
  • Are our clients’ expectations of CX, and the promises we make around CX, align with our CX and business strategy?
    • Are they realistic expectations? 
    • How can we make sure we get this right from the very beginning of a client’s journey?

Now you are armed with this information, the boat won’t build itself! Block out some time to meet with your team and brainstorm how you could approach this.

Trading Hobbyist: Accounting trap or goldmine?

By Homepage, In the Media, IndustryNo Comments

Trading Hobbyist: accounting trap or goldmine?

Never before has there been such a perfect storm leading to potentially either a goldmine or a nightmare for accountants. In this post, I will attempt to explain why accountants need to be prepared, how we got here and how you can turn a possible disaster into a goldmine for your firm.

It has been written and talked about ad nauseam – the world has changed. Ever since March 2020 we were told to go home: it’ll only be a few weeks and then we can all go back to normal. As weeks turned into months and the months into years and the situation spiralled out of control, many of us struggled with what to do with all this extra time we had on our hands. We were no longer distracted by social activities, ferrying kids around to various sports or being forced to go on holidays.

It was finally here. This was our chance. We were home when not eyeing people off suspiciously at the supermarket, or trying to hold in a cough at the chemist (just a dry throat, I swear). And then the storm hit. The formula looked something like this:

Increased time at home + technology at our fingertips + low brokerage fees = we could all be the Wolf of Wall Street.

Finally living the dream. Sitting around in pyjamas, a bowl of corn chips resting on our enlarged bellies, phone in one hand while keeping an eye on whatever it was Netflix told me everyone else was watching so why aren’t you. And within the phone the power to trade across time zones, across markets, derivatives, options, CFDs, crypto… Endless opportunities to make your millions, or quietly realise a loss that would never be spoken about.

This scenario may sound familiar or chances are you know someone that went down this path. Some people were just passing the time with a flutter, others legitimately trying to build wealth. Either way, we know that a lot of Australians did this.

According to SelfWealth’s (a flat fee retail share trading platform) Annual Report, active traders on their books increased by 105% during FY21 and the total number of trades increased by 147% for the same period¹. The reduced costs associated with working from home and lack of alternatives meant people had a surplus of cash and now that cash became seed capital for their own private hedge fund.

While the popularity of ETFs is growing, only 15% of investors choose this investment type compared to 58% of investors directly holding Australian shares (ASX, 2020)². A key area to watch is the number of investors dipping their toes (and sometimes up to their neck) in the ever-expanding galaxy of cryptocurrencies. According to the AFR, 1 in 5 Australians is likely to buy cryptocurrency in the next 12 months³.

We are now seeing investors using multiple brokers and exchanges to take advantage of sign up offers and referral programs. This may make sense for the investor looking to capture the highest return possible, but it does mean that they may end up with poor records and difficulty in tracking their investments.

Throw into the mix buybacks, stock splits, DRPs, demergers as well as the even more complex world of crypto yield farming and come tax time there will be either underreporting (non-compliance) or a heap of work for someone to reconcile the data and make sense of all the transactions.

While excel has been one of the greatest fintech solutions since Lotus 1-2-3, it does have limitations. Excel formulas can be error-prone, time must be invested for compliance changes and reconciliation back to any data source is limited or non-existent.

Luckily for today’s accountants there exists a whole new world of automation: an ecosystem of data feeds, AI and automated processing that will drastically reduce the amount of time required to keep track of CGT records, produce financials and arrive at a reliable tax optimised position.

The perfect storm has enabled trading and wealth creation for a whole new generation and now this generation needs your help to make sure they do not give it all back with poor tax planning and compliance issues.

References:

  1. SelfWealth Limited Annual Report (2021, June 30)  https://www.selfwealth.com.au/investor-centre/
  2. ASX Australian Investor Study (2020) https://www2.asx.com.au/blog/australian-investor-study
  3. AFR (2021, June 8) Four million Aussies set to buy into crypto https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/four-million-aussies-set-to-buy-into-crypto-20210608-p57z2g