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Software driving better client outcomes

Developments in technology, such as automation, the cloud and built-in processes, meant SMSF advisers and accountants could use software to boost their clients’ results and engagement.

“What’s changed with the way you now deal with clients compared to how you used to deal with clients when you’re doing their compliance work nine months after the end of the year?” BGL managing director Ron Lesh told the 2015 Accountants’ Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) in Sydney last week.

“These days, your clients want the answers to questions as they’re asking them, as they see the transactions come through.”

Lesh said that was a result of the cloud.

“It’s changed and moved your engagement,” he said.

“So it means redefining what you’re doing, looking at daily reports, looking at alerts, integrating your services and providing everything as a single solution to your clients.”

He said he knew of one firm that had built an app for its clients to use on their smartphones.

“Clients can go in, click on a button and look at all the services they’re doing for them,” he said.

“That’s fantastic because that’s what the cloud is all about; it’s enabling you to do this.”

BGL’s Corporate Affairs System (CAS) 360 offering, which prepared extensive lists of paper and electronic forms for lodging with ASIC, including annual reviews, would be launched as a beta product in the first quarter of next year with a full release expected before June, he said.

“It’s about taking processes that you currently do manually and automating those processes for you,” he said.

“CAS 360 can also seamlessly integrate with all sorts of people through APIs (application programming interfaces).”

During another presentation at ATSA, NowInfinity principal Grant Abbott said systems that had built-in processes and intelligence gave SMSF accountants and advisers the capacity to deliver sophisticated strategies.

“For anyone who’s over age 50 or 55 in an SMSF, you need to be building for them quite a sophisticated estate plan,” Abbott said.

“The biggest strategy that we’ve got out at the moment is making a system built inside an SMSF so that only bloodline [individuals received the distribution of benefits] either through an auto-reversionary through the pensions side, which you can do, or a binding death benefit nomination.

“Three to four years ago, we started to develop an automated system that had a built-in strategy flow, for example, in the case of a limited recourse borrowing arrangement taking money from an industry or retail fund.”

He said NowInfinity would continue to build out its strategies.

“We have 40 different strategies just through Xero Practice Manager,” he said.

“The key thing about this is with the data that we get, we’re pulling it from one source, which takes you through to the next steps so you can’t make a mistake, and provided the system is audited, everything should be A-okay.

“We try to pull data from one source, which then integrates, and we have data discrepancy reporting that runs every night, which will pick up discrepancies of your data from Xero Practice Manager to Class Super to ASIC to Macquarie Bank, to anything you’ve got.”

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