When Ron Lesh wrote corporate compliance software on MS-DOS for a postgraduate project in 1989, little did he know where it would lead him. The software formed the basis for BGL’s very first compliance product.
Thirty years on, after becoming Australia’s first Windows-based corporate compliance product, then making the shift to the cloud, BGL now employs over 150 people across Australasia, with Ron still at the helm.
This month BGL is Xero’s app partner of the month – and for good reason. Their cloud-technology takes away the pain of compliance for accountants and bookkeepers, and dramatically reduces administration time. What’s more, they don’t just have one, but two apps in Xero’s app marketplace.
Thanks to the power of automation, their self-managed superfund (SMSF) compliance app, Simple Fund 360 can reduce administration by up to 11 times. And their corporate compliance software, CAS 360, cuts a one-hour filing process down to just five to 10 minutes.
And we’re not the only ones singing their praises. As well as winning Xero’s 2019 Practice App of the Year in Australia, they were recently awarded fifth in The AFR Boss Most Innovative Company awards.
We talked to BGL’s Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Tramontana, about the benefits of partnerships and automation in the cloud. We also asked what is it about BGL that makes the culture so special.
Making the most of automation
According to Daniel, BGL’s focus is on delighting customers with technology that removes manual and cumbersome processes and replaces them with highly automated systems.
“We harness artificial intelligence and machine learning. So, for example, with Simple Fund 360, through our smart matching, we’re able to predict and auto-code transactions. It means that data entry is the exception and not the norm anymore, and users can simply review and accept the automatic entries. This allows users to move to real-time reporting and engagement with their clients through BGL engage, our brilliant mobile app.”
“When it comes to managing companies, let’s consider the ASIC annual review. CAS 360 automatically checks for the annual reviews on a daily basis. We automatically download ASIC’s annual review form into CAS 360, and through a clever series of notifications we communicate the annual review status to our users. Then with one click they can send the annual review (with all supporting documentation, including invoices) directly to their client for digital signing. We’re saving our users valuable time and resources. We’re also offering real-time insights so they can focus on client relationships. It also enables them to offer new services and improve engagement with their clients,” Daniel said.
The power of connections in the cloud
BGL’s vision is to offer a complete solution for clients to run their entire practice. Integrating with Xero has been a key piece of that puzzle.
“I can talk so much about Xero. I love what you brought to the industry. You challenged all of us to move into the cloud space by setting a standard for others to step up to. If we stayed where we were, we probably wouldn’t exist today”.
“Many accounting practices using practice management systems have multiple layers of software that don’t talk to each other. Our Xero integration solves this problem. As an example, a contact list within an organisation could be replicated and have to be maintained across multiple platforms. Our integration with Xero means clients only have to manage one set of contacts. So you’re effectively running one database that’s in sync and there’s one source of truth,” Daniel commented.
BGL also shares a common value with Xero – that people are what’s most important. This includes customers, partners and employees.
“We believe our software is an extension of who we are as an organisation. We’re here to deliver our clients’ great moments. So when we hear their amazing success stories about how we’re making compliance easy, that’s what really drives us and why we keep showing up everyday. I’ve been at BGL for 23 years. I was in a meeting of 15 employees recently and added up our total years of service – it totalled 185 years. Employees like to stay with us, and that speaks volumes about the kind of organisation we are,” Daniel said.
So where to next for BGL
BGL’s integrations with Xero are only currently available in Australia. However, 4000 companies are already trialling the beta of CAS 360 in New Zealand, and they’re getting closer to being able to notify the market of a release date. Next, Singapore is the big focus for introducing the CAS 360 integration, followed by the UK. So watch this space!