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Victoria – The place no one wants to be – Part 2

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I have not written for a while about the depressing situation in Victoria. For those in the other states, believe me when I say “depressed” is an understatement of the way people in Victoria feel. Angry, frustrated, over it – I could go on and on.

The question I keep asking myself is how did it get to be this bad? How did Melbourne go from the world’s most livable city to the world’s most locked down city, and why or how did we let this happen?

Well, let’s look at the how first – how did this happen? Last night our Chief Health Officer (CHO) Brett Sutton told us he had no choice but to lock Melbourne down for 246 days. Really? No choice? Then why did the CHO’s in 1,170 cities (with populations of more than 500,000) not feel they had no choice but to lock down their cities? Why only Melbourne? I think the record lockdowns have more to do with your competency than anything else. YOU could not find other solutions. YOU only had one card in the pack – lockdown. lockdown, lockdown. You have destroyed Melbourne. All the things that were great – sporting events, theatre, restaurants, shopping – all gone – under YOUR watch. That will be your legacy as CHO

And then there is SlugGate. For those who are not aware of SlugGate, Sutton closed down a food business because a slug was found in their food kitchen. However the slug appears to have been planted by a council Inspector. The matter is before the courts but check out the link for more info. If these charges are proven, and it looks like they will be, Sutton will be remembered not only for being incompetent and totally out of his depth (obviously) but also corrupt.

But Sutton would not have been able to lock down Victoria for 246 days, without the complicity of our Dear Leader. Sutton and Andrews will both be remembered as the people who destroyed Melbourne and killed 802 Victorians through their bungled hotel quarantine. Everyone seems to forget that according to the Victorian Health Department Organisational Chart, Sutton was in charge of hotel quarantine. Why was he not sacked? Does he know too many dirty little secrets?

Why has Andrews not resigned? Gladys Berejiklian resigned when an inquiry was announced – that took guts. Andrews has no guts. He does not take any responsibility for anything, yet he is the man in charge. All this happened under his watch. 246 days of lockdown. 802 + deaths. The most cruel and debilitating restrictions in the world – restrictions that make no sense and some that even help spread COVID-19.

Let me name a few – golf, fishing, boating, tennis, lawn bowls, playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor exercise equipment – all shut down? Why? What’s the logic? Yet building workers can play on their sites throughout the whole pandemic (save 2 weeks)? Why? Because Andrews needs money from the building unions to get re-elected.  And why are we forced to wear masks outside when your risk of catching COVID-19 outside is so low? When governments enact stupid laws or regulations the people eventually say – enough is enough.  In Victoria this has taken far too long.

And then along came Victoria Police. When I grew up, I was taught to respect the police. I was taught the police were there to protect me. Boy how things have changed. The Victoria police have become bullies. They have lost the respect of the community. When police throw little old ladies to the ground and then spray them with pepper spray, brutally throw citizens talking to police to the ground, swarm and attack protestors with rubber bullets and tear gas, they lose the respect of the community. I know not all police are like this but there would appear to be a culture of brutality in the Victorian police that I have never seen before in my lifetime. When the police are being used as political enforcers’ by Andrews to enforce dumb laws enacted by an incompetent CHO, their ability to police disappears. And this has happened in Victoria. The people of Victoria no longer respect the police and this, I think, is a real problem for our future.

The incompetence and ineptitude of Andrews and Sutton was certainly the main cause of the Victorian devastation – but the other complicit organisations are the media. Where is the media scrutiny we expect in a democracy? Where is investigative journalism? Most of the media are just cheerleaders for the incompetents. They should be the ones out there questioning how thes 2 incompetents have handled COVID-19 in Victoria not sucking up to them to get the next exclusive. And why is the Andrews government the only government in Australia that does not provide transcripts of press conferences? Isn’t the reason obvious? This way he can’t be fact checked.

I mentioned earlier there were two things I think this inept state government did or didn’t do that actually contributed significantly to the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria. The first thing is the curfew. The curfew forces people to all go out at the same time meaning more people are compacted in more places to spread the virus. Look at the crowds in the parks (not a problem) and the supermarkets. And then there is the total inability of this hopeless government to implement a contact tracing system that works. Contact tracing in Victoria has not worked since day one. This is the No. 1 reason Victoria is in the mess it is in today. This is why the case numbers have gone up. Contact tracing is at least two weeks behind – so yes – it is absolutely useless.

The other thing that concerns me is the scare, scare, scare. Everything still seems to be about case numbers. Case numbers are irrelevant as 99%+ of people who get COVID-19 have no or mild symptoms. Less than 1% of cases end up in hospital or the ICU. (PS: Remember the 4,000 ICU beds Andrews promised in March 2020 – searching, searching, searching – can’t find them? Neither can I).

Apart from the lack of honesty, integrity and leadership from Andrews, the thing that annoys me the most is the lack of accountability. Everything is everyone else’s fault. It is like a child in the playground – he did it, he did it – not me, When the numbers go up it is because we had Grand Final parties (BTW: with contract tracing two weeks behind, there was NO evidence Grand Final parties spread the virus) or we didn’t follow his inane rules. Always everyone else’s fault. Real leaders take responsibility. All of you do in your businesses.

The lockdown policies in Victoria have been a complete failure. The incompetence of Andrews, Sutton and the government is breathtaking.

A quick comment about vaccinations. I am fully vaccinated but I strongly oppose mandatory vaccination. How dare these government officials tell me or you what to put in your bodies.

I am really scared for the future of my children. One son already lives in the UK and another is thinking of joining him. They don’t want to live in Victoria like the 43,000 other now ex-Victorians that have left between the start of the pandemic and 31 March 2021. Many more will leave once they can – and I will probably be one of them. Who wants to live in a place that is so depressing when you have a choice?

So where is the future? I do not think Victoria will recover until Andrews, Sutton and Sally Capp (Melbourne’s Lord Mayor) are all gone. No one has confidence in any of them. Capp has destroyed movement in and out of the city with crippling bike lanes, removal of 1,000’s of parking spaces and a proposed new access fee. This on top of the parking space tax. Andrews and Sutton have destroyed business in Melbourne. So many empty shops and restaurants and how many other businesses that will never return.

There will be no change unless YOU are prepared to make it happen. Most of the media are complicit. It is time for you to take a stand!

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….

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!

 

Muro Group Accounting Firm: Let go of the past, create the future!

By Case Study, UncategorisedNo Comments

After 10+ years using BGL’s desktop solutions, Muro Group Accounting Firm – with the assistance of MuroTech, migrated to the cloud.

Our Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Tramontana, recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Michele Romano (Partner at Muro Group) and Tom Romano (MuroTech Owner), to talk about Muro Group’s desktop to cloud transition experience.

Adapting to the fast pace of technology

We are a traditional firm that values all our business and client relationships, but we’ve also adapted to the fast pace of technology.

The accounting practice has been in operation for 15 odd years. It’s a two partners firm with offices between Brisbane and Gold Coast, plus some satellites in Sydney and Melbourne. We’re now in a growth phase – recruiting a few more people to join the team.

How it all started… “BGL has backed us from day one” 

Around 12 years ago, I went to a seminar and it was all about CLOUD. I came back to the office and said to my business partner (Canio Muscillo), listen there’s this new thing coming called the CLOUD and it’s going to change the way we do things. We thought straight away that we have to get on the CLOUD and ride it otherwise we’re going to get left behind.

We were probably one of the biggest HandiSoft users in Queensland and we were always pushing them to go into the cloud environment.

We were also using BGL Simple Fund Desktop and it was purely by chance because we’d taken over a couple of practices and they were already using BGL at the time. Other Practices also mentioned Class, but I never really liked Class system – there was no connection or relationship with their team and that for us made a lot of difference. That was when Daniel flew to Brisbane and after a good conversation, we decided to migrate to Simple Fund 360.

Migration: Decision-making and implementation process

There are a lot of things that go into the decision-making and implementation process – but it is rewarding once you get to the other side. It’s a lot more efficient!

Tom: From a tech point of view, being a software engineer myself, helping to push Muro’s down this path over the years, I would say that it is actually not a difficult transition – in terms of implementation and the migration done. The things that we definitely considered in the design process were the cost and compliance. I remember we sat down and worked through the cost benefit analysis of moving to cloud, how much savings we would have by not having equipment and servers running anymore vs how much would it to cost us to migrate vs how much we would gain in terms of efficiency and increased productivity levels. In the end, the decision was a complete no-brainer.

Implementation was easy and quick with the support from BGL team and MuroTech.

Plus, the software itself is much more user-friendly and the resources/training available made it easy to get started.

What are the key takeaways of using CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 for your business?

At the time when Daniel came (to visit), we had about 30-40 super funds in Simple Fund Desktop and then when we signed up for Simple Fund 360, since then we have grown to now manage over 150 funds. Obviously, we couldn’t have got there if we didn’t have the technology and the knowhow and the brains trust with the BGL product behind us.

We’re bringing on more people because we are getting quicker at the workflow process. Plus, we’re getting more referrals and recommendations. I don’t even think about the cost of running the platform anymore, it pays for itself. It’s all about the efficiency gained. CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 allow us to take in the next step, apart from compliance we can now develop better relationship with our clients. Having data at our fingertips, it’s easy to provide them with an advisory and excellent customer service.

BGL’s software do the job and then it’s us as the accountants to take that job to the client and give them the full experience.

There is nothing worse than waiting until 30 June, then waiting another 12 months after that and getting old information – it’s irrelevant.

Especially when COVID-19 hit, clients were talking to their advisors, financial planners and stock brokers and discussing “what do they do” and for us as the accountant to have the information to give to the financial planners with the advice component – clients love that.

We are much more proactive rather than reactive.

How has CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360 saved you time and helped improving workflow? 

Just as an example: A fund that would traditionally take us 10 hours to complete/prepare for audit, it’s now done in half of the time. Plus, with Simple Fund 360 it is real live data – being processed on the monthly, weekly, daily process. The information is there, and you can make decisions when you need to. We were using Simple Fund Desktop for over 10 years, we made the change to Simple Fund 360 and never looked back and honestly, it’s the best program out there and I can’t sing my praises high enough for it. 

For CAS 360, we went directly from a manual system and the ASIC website, downloading all the annual return information and preparing all the manual stuff and sending it off to CAS 360 – processes were drastically quicker and more efficient. For the cost benefit analysis, it wins every time. You can’t fault it. With CAS 360, for half the time we’ve spent on that same job, the client has gotten more from us. We don’t have that issue any more where clients have missed their payments or paperwork – it’s all covered. 

How do you see the security aspect in the cloud vs desktop?

Tom: It’s night and day. From a traditional server setup sitting in within your premises, you could have a fire, or somebody break in and cause damage. For AWS cloud, there are data centres all over the world, in massive clusters, so that they have data redundancy, backups are taken care of… it’s just an absolute no brainer. Not only that, it’s keeping you current and up to date. You don’t need to pay to update your server. You’re paying that subscription premium to ensure you are on the cutting edge of technology.

What are the key things that you look for when considering your technology stack?

For me, the biggest thing is that you want it to have an easy migration path, you want to look at the implementation plan, where is the technology hosted and how secure it is. Also having the customer service, support, training and education available to get that transition done is important. You want to have someone there to back you up if you have any issues and that’s where we leaned on MuroTech as well as BGL to help us through the transition. 

If your best friend were on the fence about trying CAS 360 and Simple Fund 360, what would you tell them?

I’d tell them to let go of the past and create the future! We don’t live in today’s world, we live in tomorrow’s world and it’s probably an important thing to think about, whatever has happened today is gone, it’s already finished, and we need to learn from it to think ahead.

If you don’t change, then you will get left behind” 

About MuroTech:

MuroTech is a BGL partner offering advice on tech stacks to suit your business, software development and integrations and software migration/implementation – helping you from start to finish to get the right tools to streamline your operations and unlock your full business potential. Contact MuroTech today to find out more >>>

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.

16 : Integrations with Adriana Cavallo

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BGL Account Manager and host of the pod Jorge Tsipos interviews BGL’s Adriana Cavello.

  • Integrating client data across multiple databases in accounting firms – moving from multiple silos of information into one database shared everywhere.
  • Do you just ‘switch on’ a software integration, how does it work?
  • Cleaning data sets – be the integrations specialist that you want to see in the world.
  • Have a checklist – the step-by-step process of change management implementing new software in any organisation.
  • What are the little things in the product that have an outsized effect on the client experience?
  • Adriana’s personal journey through BGL over the last 7 years.
  • How do you deal with all the product feedback from client, make decisions and prioritise the responses.

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Disclaimer: The views, information and opinions expressed during “BGL Podcasts” are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BGL Corporate Solutions Pty Ltd and its employees.