5 easy steps to get organised at EOFY

by Doug Morris, CEO, Sharesight

It’s easier than ever to use technology to get your investments organised for the end of the Australian financial year (EOFY). Whether you want to check performance or organise tax information, you’re a lot closer than you think to being a “life admin” all-star.

Sharesight brings together data from brokers, share registries, and paper statements to give you a complete picture of your investment portfolio. Using Sharesight means your investments are actually one of the simpler aspects of your finances to get prepped for tax time.

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Don’t believe me? Let’s use my holding in Alumina (AWC) from my portfolio as an example.

If you can access historical buy and sell trading records, you’ll need:

Investment Code (ticker)Number of UnitsTrade DateExecution Price

Tip: if you used an online broker to trade during the financial year, this is the best option.

If you don’t have access to transaction data, use an opening balance:

Investment Code (ticker)Cost BaseNumber of UnitsOpening Balance Date

Tip: if your records are a mess, or you’re looking to make a fresh start this is the best path to take. A cost base can represent a number of trades and corporate actions so it’s less data to worry about. Your financial statements will include cost base or balance information.

Step 1: find out how many units (shares) you own in each investment by checking the share registry or CHESS

Share registries don’t care about you, the investor. But, you do need to login to their websites or track down the statements they’ve snail mailed you to find out how many units of each investment you own. Keep in mind you’ll probably need to do this on more than one registry.

The three major Australian share registries are Computershare, Link, and Board Room. Using their websites is a brutal experience, but you only need to do it once. Just look for the company and quantity. That’s all you need. Here’s my holding in Alumina (AWC):

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If relying on the paper statement, it will look similar. Also keep in mind that registries may require you to create separate accounts if you have multiple Holder Identification Numbers (HINs). While annoying and inefficient, Sharesight will aggregate the data for you because you’re in control of how you structure a tax entity.

Alternatively, the ASX operates a system known as CHESS, which is like a share registry. Any ASX-listed shares you’ve traded through a CHESS sponsored broker will also be reflected in CHESS.

CHESS will post you statements with the number of units you hold in each security. There is no online CHESS facility, incredibly. In your shoe box, look for paperwork with the ASX logo, chances are that’s a CHESS statement.

Importantly, CHESS will not know of any units you bought or sold “off-market,” such as an employee share purchase plan, a corporate action such as a demerger, or via certain IPOs.

Step 2: Gather your trade details from your broker

We’ve talked a lot about the limitations of your online broker. Fortunately, using Sharesight means you can trade through your broker and leave the rest to us.

If you’ve made just a few (less than 10) trades throughout the year, it’s easy to punch these into Sharesight manually. On your broker’s website, look for a page called “transactions” or “confirmations.” Here’s how my AWC buy trade looks in my broker, for example:

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If you’ve traded a bit more, use our Broker Import feature to automatically import your trading history.

Most brokers also let you download your trading history to a spreadsheet (.csv) file. This can be uploaded to Sharesight using our Bulk Upload feature.

Step 3: Enter the data into Sharesight

Once in Sharesight, follow the relevant prompts based on how you plan to enter the data.

Here’s how this looks when manually entering my AWC buy trade:

screenshot - add new buy trade - awc

And here’s how this would look if using an opening balance. Sharesight will automatically work out the market value based on the data you provide:

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Step 4: Confirm your dividends

Sharesight has calculated your performance, including capital gains/losses, the impact of dividend income, and currency effects if holding something overseas. Much of the Sharesight magic involves how we automate dividends.

On the AWC holding page check out how Sharesight has automatically populated the five dividends I’ve received since my first AWC buy. We even automatically factor in the franking credit information:

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Here’s how the dividend history for AWC appears on the share registry website. Notice how the Net dividend matches the Franked amounts in Sharesight exactly.

screenshot - dividends - awc - registry

If you’ve enrolled in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRP), not to worry. You can switch this on in Sharesight and we’ll reinvest the historical dividends on your behalf.

It’s important to note that the data automatically populated in Sharesight is considered “as reported.” It’s a good idea to double-check your dividend history against the share registry. They’re the ones who actually dole out the payments. Once OK, you can confirm each dividend or do so in bulk.

Step 5: Share portfolio access with your accountant

If your data was at hand the above process should have taken you just a few minutes. Now it’s time to wow your accountant – and drive down the cost of your accounting invoice. All the work is done!

Under the Sharing & Permissions tab, you’ll find a simple way to share your portfolio with your accountant. We recommend giving them “Read and Write” access so they can make edits if need be.

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Sharesight is a cloud-based investment portfolio tracker that by its very nature makes performance and tax information easy to report – and it’s free to use when getting started.

Brokers give you one half of the picture, share registries give you the other. You can only be a successful and organised investor if you combine the two.

Remember that the cost of a Sharesight paid subscription is usually tax deductible. Always check with your accountant to ensure it’s appropriate for you to claim the deduction.