Mclowd Trustee User Update March 2019

Welcome to the Mclowd Trustee User Update.

A lower rate, lower yield, lower return environment will be another story for 2019 and beyond.  Whether that’s a terrible thing or not depends on who you are.

Record low yields stoke fears, AFR March 26th

Introduction

Whether it is due to declines in asset prices or nominal yields, or the recent proposals regarding franking credits and capital gains, investment markets are facing structural changes which will challenge the aspirations of many of Australia’s self-funded retirees.

In this context it is important to note that the Mclowd Community was established in anticipation of precisely this scenario, so that members would have access to a technology platform and services marketplace that would allow them to craft a low-cost, Trustee-centric workflow for their fund.

Suspense Allocations

As mentioned in the recent Community Newsletter, the new suspense allocations screen should be of interest to any Trustee user who is handling even a modest number of transactions annually. A video snapshot of the functionality can viewed here.

We encourage all users to consider this workflow, as it: 

  • Represents a step-change in terms of the efficiency with which data can be entered
  • Lays the foundation for the subsequent improvements that will be powered by open banking and artificial intelligence

Marketplace

As was always the intention, improvements to the software complement and reinforce the resources which are available through the Marketplace. Activity levels continue to expand, with a focus on the following categories: 

  • Migration
  • Audit
  • Data entry
  • Full service admin

Speaking of his experience, Trustee user Ivan Cauchi had this to say:  “I have been engaging hourly support through the Marketplace for the past 2-3 years. This consisted of direct replies to user issues, advice on using the software and liaising in the background with the Mclowd Team to investigate and resolve functionality issues. I commend the support provided as accurate, competent and timely and the price of $20 per hour is affordable even for my small SMSF. I intend on retaining this support model into the future.”

Current WIP Priorities

Both Trustee and Practitioner users will benefit from the scheduled improvements that form our 2019 priorities.

Targets for the next few months include: 

  • Year end simplification
  • Improved support for custom assets (particularly crypto currencies)
  • GST upgrade
  • Property upgrade (additional GL accounts and upgraded Property Expenses Report)

Technical Support and Licensing

Delivery against these goals – alongside continued investment in self help content – will help to reduce ongoing demand for technical support.

For the last couple of years we have offered this support to Pro users (paying $33 per annum) without restriction, as part of the overall licensing structure: 

  • Free forever (core software)
  • Pro (additional features)
  • Premium (automated bank and broker data feeds)

Absorbing the cost of support during this time was a recognition of the need for improvements to functionality and usability.  However continued growth in the Community means it is necessary that this model evolve to ensure: 

  • It can be accessed by all users (not just those on Pro / Premium)
  • Commercial sustainability (for the benefit of all stakeholders)

 As a consequence the following changes are being implemented: 

  • Trustee users will be encouraged to engage with the User Manual, Knowledge Base and Video tutorials prior to submitting a support ticket
  • Access to the Support Team will attract a per-ticket fee of $15 (to be refunded in the event that the user has encountered an issue that should already have been addressed by the development Team as part of the available functionality)

In addition: 

  • Users will still have the ability to submit feedback regarding new features via the Contact Us page
  • In the future – based on regular user feedback – we intend to extend this pay-per-use model to include telephone access

At the same time we will be encouraging Trustees to engage with service providers via the Marketplace, as this is the most efficient and scalable solution to providing support to this segment of the Community, which will one day number in the tens of thousand.

As always, please keep the feedback coming.

Ashley Porter

Managing Director
Mclowd Pty Ltd

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