A key part of Class’s strategy has been to develop tools and features that ensure its customers can respond effectively to change. This year, the super reforms have been a strong focus, as well as new tools for helping accountants meet the changing expectations of their customers, like the Class mobile app.
Importantly, the SMSF administration software provider sees this current climate as a time of huge opportunity for advisers and accountants to create profitable new revenue streams.
“So we have introduced new features to help them achieve that, such as consolidated portfolios, which makes it easier for accountants to expand into wealth accounting of trusts and other non-SMSF portfolios,” Class chief executive Kevin Bungard says.
“We find that accountants are very aware of the need to adopt efficient technology to be able to compete in a changing market and meet the new regulatory requirements.
“We expect the trend of accountants moving their SMSF administration to the cloud to continue as they really don’t have a choice if they want SMSFs to remain a profitable part of their business.
“The super reforms have been a massive disruption for accountants and this has no doubt contributed to a slowdown in the industry growth of SMSFs and the rate of accountants moving to the cloud. However, we expect this to be a passing phase.”
Bungard adds for some time, the business had anticipated that the regulations and reporting requirements for SMSFs would become stricter.
“But I think the industry generally is only just coming to understand what a big issue this is and how automated systems are the only way forward for accountants that want to have a profitable SMSF practice,” he explains.
“The other interesting issue is the relatively recent rise of the low-cost administrator and the challenge this poses for accountants. This is also placing pressure on accountants to become more efficient in order to stay competitive.”
He stresses for a technology company, innovation is crucial.
“It’s vital to be able to anticipate the trends of tomorrow, not just what is happening today. I think that’s been part of the secret of our success – anticipating change and not just responding to it,” he says.
“It’s also very important to listen to your customers and understand what their needs are.
“We conduct a regular customer satisfaction survey and we have a formal system in place where our customers can suggest new features at any time and vote on which new features they want most. We also attend a lot of accountant events around the country to get that face-to-face feedback from our customers and potential customers.”
He says in addition to this, the Class Connect Annual Conference is one of the most important feedback forums for the business.
Bungard attributes Class’s consecutive award wins to the intellectual capital of its entire staff.
“We’re thrilled to have won. Although this is the fourth year in a row we’ve received the award, it is no less significant for us,” he says.
“It validates all our efforts over recent years and shows we’re heading in the right direction.
“A lot of our staff have been with us for more than five years and as they grow, we grow. And as new people join they also bring their experience and skills.”
Class will continue to add additional resources where needed to remain a top innovator in SMSF software and meet the needs of its customers, he adds.