Welcome to the Mclowd Newsletter, our monthly communication to Investors, Marketplace participants and Partners.
Back in September 2012 we released the beta version of Mclowd’s free SMSF accounting software. At the time it was a very basic system, unsuitable for most Trustees and not comparable to incumbent offerings.
This was a deliberate move on our part designed to trigger engagement from the Trustee Community and test the hypothesis that a business model could be developed around a free, cloud-based SMSF accounting system.
(Incumbents who didn’t understand the concept of Lean Start Up mistakenly interpreted this as a sign of weakness, when in actual fact it was an indication that Mclowd had the potential to be a very disruptive force, due to the capital efficiencies associated with this approach).
Today we released version 3.0, and while the evolution of Mclowd will be ongoing, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Product Manager Graeme McGuire and the whole Team, and congratulate them on setting new standards in terms of the application of Lean Start Up principles.
(Mclowd has no office or full-time staff, but instead uses cutting edge online workflow to deliver technology outcomes at a fraction of the cost of incumbent vendors. As Mclowd continues to grow similar workflow management tools will be made available to practitioners and the asset owners they support, and the cost savings will extend well beyond software licence fees).
Accounting Platform Update
Version 3.0 is now live, including a raft of new functions:
- Statement of Taxable Income
- Depreciation and loan accounts for Direct Property
- Profit and loss allocation to Members at year end
- Basic year end tax journal
General ledger drill down will be available next week and as always detailed Release Notes are available on the website.
Version 3.1 will be live at the end of October, including:
- Allocation of tax to Members at year end
- Multi-Fund login for practitioners (allowing unlimited client accounts to be managed with no software licence fees payable)
As the accounting software matures and the Community continues to grow we will also be able to turn our attention to the numerous discussions that have been held with product partners.
These products will be integrated into the Community in one of two ways:
- Directly into the accounting software (as we have already done with actuarial certificates)
- By being made available via the Marketplace
We are currently upgrading the Marketplace so that it is much easier for these providers to list their offering (and having become aware of the margins which BGL, Class and others seek to impose, it is clear that there are just as many opportunities to improve net returns for investors as exist in relation to software licensing and services).
In the August Newsletter I emphasised the importance of governance in relation to the long term success of the Mclowd Community.
At every turn Mclowd has leveraged the economics of cloud computing and crowdsourcing in order to limit the amount of capital being deployed. As a consequence of those efforts we have reached this point with just $259,000 in equity on the balance sheet.
Once you have spent tens of millions (Class, Wave) or hundreds of millions (Xero) in building a cloud-based accounting system, you have created a governance model that cannot be undone (absent catastrophic capital losses).
In contrast just over 10 years ago a handful of developers built the web content management system known as WordPress, and due to the absence of substantial balance sheet funding were in a position to give the software away for free.
Fast forward 10 years and 60% of the world’s websites run on WordPress. In fact in building the website for their new product SimpleFund 360, incumbent BGL chose to use WordPress. On that basis BGL is quite happy to use free, crowd-based software for its internal purposes, but is not prepared to extend the same privilege to its customers and the SMSF Trustees whom they support.
It’s still early days in the evolution of Mclowd, so I will not make any predictions about how the SMSF (and SME) space will pan out over the next 10 years, but I am increasingly confident that Mclowd will have a substantial role to play in improving net returns for investors.
Mclowd Pty Ltd