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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!

If you have questions, please join us for a live 1-hour webinar with our Chief Operating Officer Daniel Tramontana, guest presenter Brett Loney (Superannuation Manager at MKS) and myself on Thursday 11 March at 11:30 AEDT to learn how other BGL clients made the transition! Register now >>>

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….

24 lessons for 24 years

By BGL Update, Meet the BGLersNo Comments

Today I turn 24 years of age at BGL!

Yes, more than 1/2 of my life! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I reflect on my time, I would like to share with you my 24 lessons for 24 years.

To my BGL family members, clients, community + friends, I celebrate you today.

Excited by that which is ahead.

24 lessons for 24 years

1

True leadership is rare and BGL has what I would consider one of the best!

2

Belief is the greatest gift you can give someone.

3

Servanthood and humility are the foundations of leadership.

4

A leader’s role is to mitigate and eliminate fear and free your people for greatness.

5

Words have the power to inspire or destroy.

6

Set the stage, draw the curtain, marvel and celebrate the accomplishments of people.

7

Being candid with someone is the basis of trust and respect.

8

Relationships are the platform for trust and engagement. Trust does not just happen. It is earned.

9

Pull your competitors tail every now and again. It’s good fun.

10

When the crap hits the fan, dust yourself off, stare failure in the mirror. Don’t bow down to it or be intimidated by it. Failure doesn’t determine destiny.

11

Winning alone means your accomplishments are selfish.

12

Make every touch point with your clients, community and people remarkable.

13

Sacrifice is the foundation of success and growing people.

14

Listening is the greatest form of respect you can show to someone.

15

Culture doesn’t just happen. It requires a daily commitment of time and effort.

16

Connect people to the greater good by aligning them to the why.

17

Deliver to market products and services that astound your audience.

18

Wisdom comes from living, observing, learning, trying, failing and winning.

19

A lived experience is the great enabler and pathway to opportunity.

20

People matter. Make people feel special, connected, loved and heard. Genuinely love people.

21

Honour and never forget those that have invested in you to make you who are today. Honour them by doing the same with someone else.

22

Sorry shouldn't be the hardest word.

23

Passion, values, integrity cannot be taught. They are instilled in your DNA.

24

Nothing is permanent.