Free SMSF Accounting Software Approaching Maturity
At the time Mclowd was a relatively new entrant, and the software was in public Beta.
I recently went back to check on their progress, and was amazed at how much the guys had achieved in just 18 months, and how quickly their online Community is growing.
Having spoken to Product Manager Graeme McGuire it is clear Mclowd has the potential to displace BGL and Class with a platform that is free to both individual trustees and practitioners. (Mclowd makes it money out of a services Marketplace that is run alongside the software, as well as product distribution such as actuarial certificates).
With the release of version 3.0 at the end of September (2014) Mclowd expects to provide support for the full SMSF life cycle, including Statement of Taxable Income and Member Benefit Statements.
From that foundation Mclowd intends to address usability issues and help content, as well as targeting some of the bells and whistles (such as data feeds, peer-to-peer analytics and improved integration with the Marketplace).
But for the vast majority of trustees it is already a viable alternative to paid versions of the similar SMSF accounting software.
Graeme told me that trustees have responded to the consistent delivery of new functionality, with nearly $1m in SMSF assets being transferred each day.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mclowd is the way an online Community is evolving.
Founder Ashley Porter started Mclowd because of the fees his mother was being charged for SMSF accounting, and he vowed to create an environment where trustees could manage their retirement assets in a much more empowered fashion, including their relationship with professional services providers.
Looking at the various conversations taking place in the Mclowd Forum, it is clear that a growing number of trustees are making the Mclowd Community their own, and in doing so potentially changing the balance of power in the SMSF space.