Welcome to the Mclowd Community Newsletter

Our nonprofit needed a cheaper way to send email blasts. So we engineered one.
Quincy Larson, freecodecamp.org


Last year I came across the above blog post from Quincy Larson, Founder of freeCodeCamp, an online Community whose aim is to make learning web development accessible to everyone.

Quincy wasn’t happy with the fees he was being charged by Mailchimp for cloud-based email marketing software.

So rather than debate pricing with Mailchimp, he and a global team of contributors simply went about building an equivalent system. Which they promptly loaded up onto Github – a platform which can be used to manage software development and online collaboration more broadly. (If you would like to view the repository simply click here).

In my discussions with stakeholders over the last 12 months I have kept coming back to this story because it echoes the way the Mclowd Community has evolved since inception.

SMSF practitioners and individual trustees spend more than $50 million each year ‘renting’ access to accounting software. This intellectual property can be replicated for a tiny fraction of that amount.

However rather than building it themselves (which they are arguably capable of doing), a growing band of SMSF professionals have realised that they can lower their licensing costs by 70-90% simply by backing the Mclowd Community, and with a minimum of effort on their part.

And that is precisely what they have been doing in increasing numbers.

Accounting Software Update

As a consequence of this collective effort the technology platform underpinning the Mclowd Community matures on a daily basis.

Recent improvements include:

  • Year end Reports Pack
  • Support for the Westfield demerger
  • Publication of a suite of video tutorials and template documents

Speaking of his participation trustee Michael Brownlow had this to say:

“I have been working closely with the Mclowd Team in recent months.

While it took a while to grasp that Mclowd is a Community (rather than a software vendor), the benefits of this approach have become all too clear.

Moving forward I can now see how my goals as a self-funded retiree are closely aligned with the success of Community itself.”

Open Banking

Echoes of freeCodeCamp can be seen in the way in which the standards for open banking are being developed in Australia by the Data61 division of CSIRO.

Mirroring the approach taken in the UK, this whole process is being conducted in an open and collaborative fashion, and can be viewed on Github via a public repository.

(Of equal significance is that the ACCC’s Draft Regulatory Framework has confirmed that all this data will be made freely available to recipients such as Mclowd).


In a manner similar to Quincy Larson and the Australian Federal Government, Mclowd recently closed its 2,000th Github ticket (a single ticket representing a discrete software development target, based in most cases on feedback from active users).

While there will no doubt be many more in the months and years ahead, they will all be delivered in the same open and collaborative fashion, and driven by the same purpose:

To improve retirement outcomes for more than 1 million Australians.


Ashley Porter
Managing Director
Mclowd Pty Ltd