Why one accountant switched from Excel to Sharesight
In this Q&A, we talk with Chris Wheatley, Director of Queensland-based firm Scope Accounting. We discuss how Sharesight for professionals helps improve productivity in his business, why accountants should switch from Excel to Sharesight for professionals, and what makes it such a useful tool for preparing deceased estate tax returns.
I’m one of two owners of Scope Accounting, a suburban accounting business in South East Queensland. We have a mix of clients, but many are smaller clients with investing profiles or aspirations. Many of them have rental properties and shares, and some of them are self-directed investors. Sharesight is definitely a value-add for those clients. We also have some small business clients that don’t have shares at the moment but plan to in the future.
When I went into business on my own in 2014, I knew I needed a solution. The incumbent solution from where I used to work was clunky, heavy and expensive for what I needed at the time. I needed something scalable like SaaS. I was at a Xero Roadshow and Sharesight was there, and it made sense. And since then, I’ve even had clients whose brokers have encouraged them to use Sharesight. So it’s become more commonplace for me to use Sharesight to help keep track of clients’ tax reporting (dividends, DRPs and CGT), or for those clients who want to know what their investments are doing week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year.
It was originally just me using Sharesight but I had a team of 8 or 10 people and Sharesight made it easier to delegate work. We’ve had some deceased estates referred to us to do the final tax return and the tax returns for the estate, for which we’ve been using Sharesight. When it’s just a mum and dad investor with $4k-worth of Telstra shares, it’s not an issue – you just log into the share registry, download the form and there are four pieces of paper for the beneficiaries. However, we’re talking about someone who purchased BHP in the early 80s before various demergers, bonus issues, splits and DRPs; or someone who has an average cost base of 77 cents for CSL shares because they’ve owned them through a multitude of splits, purchase plans and rights issues since they were listed.
So from a productivity point of view, in the last year or so, we have started to use Sharesight's professional plan a lot more. Because with deceased estates, let’s just say that our ageing population means we’re going to have a lot of people dying with multi-million dollar share portfolios and their kids are going to have no idea about anything. And if their accountant still has everything on Excel… there’s 40 years of history in some of these shares. Like with BHP, Rio Tinto, Coles, Woolworths, you just can’t do that in Excel. Sharesight is able to take care of a lot of this, which saves a ton of time.
Sharesight is great for our workflow. You can access it anywhere, plus clients can access it and upload their information. They also know what we need (based on the previous year) and they know what reports we can get out of Sharesight. So after year one, there’s just a smarter breed of clients using Sharesight.
In terms of productivity, it definitely gives us a faster turnaround time and job throughput, because what could take 3 hours in Excel takes 20 minutes in Sharesight.
Some of my favourite features are the Historical Cost Report, because I can reconcile it back to the balance sheet, and the Unrealised CGT report, which makes it easy to make informed liquidation decisions.
Our clients like to see the reporting at Sharesight. It’s relevant to their wealth and provides factual information in a format that they can easily read, with the tax consequences taken into account. This allows them to make informed tax-based decisions about their share portfolio. In general, Sharesight gives our clients a more consolidated and accurate view of their investments, which they can see at any point in time.
It’s worth switching clients from Excel to Sharesight for professionals because in the long-term, it’s a better experience for the accountant and the client. As I said to one of my main clients, "I’m setting you up in Sharesight because it will save you time in the future and will be cheaper with the hourly rate if you take into account cost allocation". For example, by using Sharesight for this client’s accounting we noticed that we missed out on adding a purchase, as we could see on the holding statement that there was an open balance. We wouldn’t have even looked unless we were trying to reconcile the Historical Cost Report. That’s just one example of the added value you get from Sharesight Pro.
If you’re an accountant or financial advisor looking for an investment tracking platform that both you and your clients will love, there has never been a better time to trial Sharesight for professionals, and enjoy:
- The ability to aggregate – Track any combination of brokers or managed funds and over 40 worldwide exchanges.
- Automated portfolio admin – Automatically track new trades and dividend income (including DRPs).
- Powerful performance reporting – Access Sharesight’s performance reports at your fingertips instead of waiting for a third party.
- Advanced tax reporting – Taxable Income, All Trades and Sold Securities
- Direct portfolio sharing with clients
Put Sharesight Pro to the test with a free 30-day no-risk trial – there are no billing details or credit card required and you can upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time.
Sign up today and a Sharesight Account Manager will be in touch to help you get started.
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