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SMSF Awards 2016: SMSF trust deed supplier winner

Topdocs director Michael Spakman attributes Topdocs’ win in the trust deed supplier category to the firm’s combination of automation, advice and training.

“Being very time poor, accountants and advisers are always looking for ways to streamline their administrative tasks, including the ordering of legal structures, but they also need to feel comfortable that the documents they are ordering will fulfil the needs of their clients,” Spakman explains.

“For these reasons, we have always placed a strong emphasis on both the automation and advisory components of our business.”

Over the past 10 years, Topdocs has invested heavily in technology to automate the process of ordering legal documentation, reducing the time it takes to order documents by up to 80 per cent.

This has been achieved by creating direct integrations with key industry players such as the ABR, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), BGL, Class, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Macquarie, National Australia Bank and Xplan, as well as consolidating the ordering of all related services into single online application forms.

This year, Topdocs rolled out automated Australian business number (ABN)/tax file number (TFN) applications for SMSFs, companies and trusts, saving advisers around 30 minutes each and every time they order a new entity set-up, which was a game changer for the business, according to Spakman.

“Every accountant who completes an ABN/TFN application knows it’s a frustrating and time-consuming process, but one that needs to be done,” he says.

“Our clients have loved this new feature and it has turned into our most widely used integration to date.”

He attributes these integrations alone for Topdocs becoming one of the most well-known legal documentation providers in Australia.

But rather than resting on its laurels, the company continues to innovate with big plans for the coming months, including new developments in the estate planning sector and new integrations with other leading legal and accounting software providers.

When it comes to the crunch, it’s the free technical support and training that really sets Topdocs apart, Spakman believes.

“We have a responsibility as a provider of legal documentation to be able to answer any technical queries our clients may have around the structures they are setting up,” he says.

“Being in the fortunate position of having a fantastic team of expert lawyers and technical consultants on board, this is a service we provide free of charge to our clients, with a huge take-up.”

Topdocs’ monthly continuing professional development accredited webinars, conducted by its legal and advisory teams, have also been a hit with its clients, with over 6000 people registering for these free events this calendar year alone.

To ensure its documents are always up to date and compliant, Topdocs also invests heavily in the quality of its documentation, with key documents such as the SMSF trust deed regularly reviewed to keep abreast of any regulatory, legislative and strategic changes that may arise.

The business also adopts a collaborative review approach, seeking feedback not only from its associated legal practice, Topdocs Legal, but from its clients and a panel of specialist legal and advisory firms and industry experts.

Spakman says this ensures its clients always have access to legal documentation that is completely up to date with the best strategic provisions.

Speaking about the award, he says he is appreciative of Topdocs’ client support and is full of praise for his staff: “At the end of the day it’s all about our clients and we are extremely grateful for their continued support.

“Our team provides exceptional customer service to our loyal clients, day in and day out, and winning this prestigious award is a great reward for their hard work.”

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