As the market leader in self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) compliance software, BGL can boast some impressive numbers. And yet with more licences on the company’s books than Australian Taxation Office-documented SMSFs, managing director Ron Lesh believes those numbers could not have been achieved without a continual focus on streamlining the SMSF process.
“The thing that differentiates us is that we’ve been in the industry for a very long time,” he said. “We’ve been making this software since 1997. Our primary focus is on compliance because that’s what we’re very good at and, importantly, we’ve got very good relationships with all the regulators because we’ve been dealing with them for a very long time.”
“We’re not a start-up who is ‘gonna’ do stuff,” Lesh continued. “We’re there and we’re doing it. The accountants trust us because we’ve provided them with high levels of service over a long period of time and over a number of products.
“We’ve got the people and the systems to ensure that out clients do get good service and do want to renew their subscriptions with us every year.”
Yet beyond getting the basics right and providing what they hoped was a ‘best-of-breed’ piece of compliance and administration software, Lesh said that development was also important. And for SMSF trustees who want their fund to be truly DIY, one such area of development is trustee-oriented software.
“I think we’ve got about 1,300 individual trustees who are using the software, but we’re actually working to have a full web version of our software available for trustees early next year,” he said. “To our way of thinking, the desktop software is probably too complicated for them because it wasn’t designed specifically for trustees so we’re going to have a web product that will be designed specifically for trustees.
“It will bring in all the data automatically for them every day, allowing them to get valuations of their portfolio and see their members’ position. But most of all, it will be simple.”
Contemplating what the future would hold for SMSF software, Lesh said that one had only to look at how far technology had come in a short period of time to have a guide to what it could achieve in the future.
“If you looked at where we were five years ago, we were focusing on getting the administration part right and we weren’t that concerned about getting stuff in every day because people weren’t reporting it like that,” he said. “But I think over time stuff has changed and what we’re working towards now is really a fully automated model. So the financial planner makes a trade on Thursday, and on Friday that’s reflected in the SMSF administration software – it can be accessed by the adviser online and then accessed by the trustee online as well.
“So one of our focuses at the moment is the automation of more data,” Lesh continued. “However, we’re also working on giving clients the option of working on the web, working on the desktop or working on both.
“We’re constantly working in a variety of areas, but the common thread is that we’re trying to help our clients automate SMSF processes as much as possible, make it as simple as possible and really streamline things for them.”