This time of year is always worth reflecting on what the team at Smarter SMSF has been able to achieve, and without question 2020 will be remembered in more ways than one.
With the team having moved to working from home (WFH) in late March 2020, the achievements this year have been even more remarkable. With Melbourne in lockdown for 112 days, we saw zoom meetings replace our normal team meetings, virtual events replace face-to-face training… but throughout this year the team’s resilience and persistence to deliver solutions for our clients has remained central to our focus.
We were only 1 week away in March from hosting the first of our SMSF day events in Melbourne as part of our annual national roadshow when we needed to postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst remaining optimistic about getting back on the road later in the year, this optimism dissipated quickly and needed us to pivot into a virtual event. With over 210 attendees, we delivered an amazing experience with a great line-up of topics and speakers. In fact, over 90% of respondents to our survey confirmed to us to deliver a virtual event again in 2021!
Our COVID-19 response
When the pandemic hit, our COVID response was a simple one – help as many people as we can to navigate through the barrage of information that impacted SMSFs. We knew practitioners were getting ‘smashed’ with assisting clients through JobKeeper and more – so our focus was to guide you through many of these super and SMSF related measures including rent relief, LRBA relief, early release payments, temporary minimum pension reductions, just to name a few.
As this information started to become law (or at least more certain), we started fast-tracking document development. This included 6+ COVID documents becoming available for use via the Smarter SMSF platform and also within BGL’s Simple Fund 360. We even went that one step further to help during this time, making these documents free of charge through to the end of July 2020.
2020 highlights & achievements
In addition to what I’ve already mentioned above, he’s a brief summary of some of the other highlights and achievements from the year:
- We launched the SMSF foundations course, designed to help practitioners build their core knowledge on SMSFs. It was a huge task – currently six modules, offering a total of 18 CPD hours. The release of the course also coincided with the release of our new learning platform, providing members with an improved e-learning experience and management of CPD certificates from completed courses.
- Our first client with the SMSF foundations course was TOA Global, having worked with them to build a solution to support the growing number of staff in the Philippines undertaking SMSF accounting work.
- Our partnership with BGL also delivered over 24 documents for use within Simple Fund 360, a huge effort that we aligned to the BGL’s development cycle to regularly release legal, pension and compliance documents for use. The investment strategy report has been the most utilised document for the year, accounting for over 30% of all orders during 2020. Work continues on new features and key updates that we look forward to rolling out throughout 2021.
- A significant amount of work has also been invested into our updated document platform (version 2.0). We have now released a number of documents on the updated platform in beta that incorporates the BGL and Class integrations within the form to save time when completing the order. Throughout 2021 we will undertake a full migration of documents from the existing platform into version 2.0.
- A new ticketing support system, including live chat, beacons and updated knowledge base was rolled out. This aimed to simplify the process for members and users to access support and find out more information about ordering documents, sample documents, technical support and more.
We also got close with a few other items that we are excited to be rolling out in the first half of 2021. These include:
- the Automated Deed Update Service, that will redefine how practitioners and trustees can manage the fund’s trust deeds, variations and more.
- New SMSF and trustee company order form, that will include the ABN/TFN registration and other key features to streamline the establishment process.
- Parent-child structure for ordering and subscriptions across both the Smarter SMSF platform and within Simple Fund 360.
There’s been some big projects that we’ve brought to life in 2020 and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has achieved during this challenging period.
What has 2020 taught me?
The I one thing I kept coming back to through the year was Jim Collin’s 20-Mile March. For me it was sticking together as a team, remaining focused, being consistent and with a rigorous approach to our work. Even amongst the uncertainty and chaos that was COVID-19, the team kept at what was important, delivering more training, more documents, and more features… all to ensure that our members can focus on what they do best.
Whilst we certainly don’t wish another year like 2020 again, it has provided some valuable business lessons that we would never have otherwise received. I hope the year is not a total write-off and has provided some insight into what’s important for you too.
But most importantly, from everyone at Smarter SMSF… enjoy the festive season with family and friends and we look forward to continuing to serve you again in 2021.