A New Partnership with CMC Markets

We’re proud to announce a new partnership with CMC Markets! Now CMC clients in their Premium Traders tier will have access to Sharesight Investor Plan for no cost. Building off our existing relationship, in which CMC trade and holdings data is shared automatically with Sharesight, investors who place at least 30 trades per month will now have access to up to three portfolios with unlimited holdings and trades on Sharesight as part of their CMC package.

Bottom line, if you trade with CMC you don’t need to setup your portfolio. It’s done with one click of the mouse, with all on-going trades coming through automatically. It’s like Sharesight’s existing portfolio setup process on steroids. Online broking and Sharesight go hand in hand. CMC gets this, which is why they were our first brokerage partner and were keen to put a second arrangement in place.

It’s a no brainer mate, CMC & Sharesight makes sense

Sometimes investors (and even accountants and advisers) ask us “why?” “Why do I need a portfolio tool when I can see my holdings and performance on my broker’s website?” For starters unless you’ve kept your business with one broker since day one of your first dollar invested, your historical cost basis will be incorrect. Most people transfer CHESS sponsored holdings from one broker to the next. Once moved across, your historical costs basis is lost so any performance “calculation” incorrectly begins with whatever balance you’ve transferred. Also, since your broker isn’t always privy to dividends (reinvested or paid out) or holdings you have on wraps, platforms, or with other institutions, your preferred online broker is likely not giving you an accurate or complete picture.

Furthermore come tax time, most online brokers don’t offer comprehensive capital gains or dividend income tax calculation, nor reporting tools. Nor do they want to build them. That where Sharesight comes in. If you use CMC, for example, your capital gains, losses, and dividend income are all sent through to our tax reports automatically, at the close of each trading day.

You look so familiar, haven’t we met before?

Last, but not least, if you’ve enabled your Sharesight + Xero connection that means when you (or your client) make a trade that information goes from CMC to Sharesight to Xero in real time. And automatically without human intervention. This represents a key milestone in our effort to build and encourage an investing ecosystem in which you, the investor, have choice of services and can easily transport your data from one system to the next.

The way we see it, if you can book a holiday and organise a travel itinerary by using your Facebook login, you sure as hell should be able to have your broker talk to your accounting platform.

Straight-through, automatic processing

If trading technology and low cost trading is important to you, then check out CMC Markets. They do most of their development in house, which is rare for a broker and means they’re on the leading edge of investing tools.

Portfolio Setup Tip #3: Automatic Contract Note Processing

Third in our series of “by now our New Year’s resolutions are long gone and let’s do something manageable” portfolio set up tips is Sharesight’s terrific contract note processing feature.

I hate PDFs. They’re handy, don’t get me wrong. They work on any type of machine, including your mobile (pinch, zoom, pinch, zoom), and they’re the universally accepted official document file for businesses worldwide. And that’s just it. They’re a static, locked document, but one that you need to pay attention to, get data out of, or do something with. You can’t copy and paste and you can’t make changes. This includes buy and sell confirmations, a.k.a. contract notes.

Sharesight automatically reads contract note PDFs, without need for human intervention. It’s like we’ve got a team of (benevolent) robots behind the scenes scanning PDFs 24/7. This means when a contract note is sent to Sharesight, we automatically suck out the necessary data and update your holdings and portfolios within 60 seconds.

This feature is most commonly used by investors and accountants keeping portfolios updated from today onwards, i.e. today I buy 200 shares of BHP through Commsec and have the contract note sent to Sharesight. Portfolio updated just like that. Complete with number of units, purchase price, and even the brokerage fee paid. Oh, and Sharesight will store a copy of every contract note we receive and attach it to the appropriate trade.

When your contract notes are sent to your email address by your broker, you can either forward them to you dedicated, secure, and private Sharesight email address – or even better – you can add this Sharesight email address to your list of email recipients within your broker account settings. Most brokers allow you to have multiple email addresses on file. This is what I do for my trades and it works perfectly.

Each Sharesight portfolio has a dedicated, private, and secure Sharesight email address.

Your Sharesight email address can be found within Settings > Broker email import menu. Just click “Enable” and you’ll be good to go. If your contract note PDFs require a password to be opened (true for E*TRADE), just enter the password in the field and click “Save Changes.”

Because our crack software engineers built this “automagic” technology to be flexible, you can also send through old contract notes. If you have some of these PDFs gathering digital dust somewhere on your hard drive, simply attach them to an email and send to your dedicated Sharesight email address. Our robots will also read the transaction date and recreate those positions when they occurred and update your portfolios accordingly.

Sharesight automatically stores all contract note PDFs and writes you a reminder.

This is just one of several ways to get up and running with Sharesight. Previously in our series of post to help you get started we covered manually entering opening balances and uploading a file with multiple opening balances.

Portfolio Setup Tip #2: Opening Balances (Bulk Upload) Are Also Your Best Friend

Last time we told you how to setup a portfolio manually using our opening balance feature. For portfolios with less than 20 holdings, this is an easy process, which takes about 10 minutes.

Now, for the second entry in our “scrap your bold New Year’s resolution and do something you can actually commit to” series we’re staying with opening balances, but we’re covering how to upload an unlimited number of holdings at once using our Bulk Import: Opening Balance feature (seriously, we once helped a client do this with 12,000 holdings).

This process is especially useful for Sharesight Pros. Some of the accountants and financial advisers we work with are onboarding new clients who inherently have opening balances. Others are moving data from legacy or offline software into Sharesight, and more still are moving data from spreadsheets into Sharesight. Spreadsheets are by far the most common “system” used by professionals. Sharesight is here to end your reliance on offline, error-prone, manually updated procedures forever. It’s 2014 after all, time to go cloud!

If you’re a Sharesight Investor or Expert Plan user with more than 20 holdings or you’d prefer to organise your opening balance data in spreadsheet format first (or already maintain it this way), this process will be helpful for you too.

To get started, as we explained last time, you’ll need to pick your “Big Bang” date and wave goodbye to transactional history data prior to this date. Your portfolio will NOT BE inaccurate using this method, it’s just that by forgoing historical trade data, you can’t go back before the opening balance date to examine your portfolio’s performance in say, 2004, for example.

Chances are you’ll have access to an accurate opening balance date as at the portfolio’s last tax lodgement or some other official statement period. We advise clients to pick the oldest possible date at which your portfolio data is reliable. This way you’ll have access to some history too. From a compliance perspective, though, choosing an opening balance date immediately following the previous tax year (e.g. 1 July 2013) is the safest way to go.

1. In order to calculate an accurate opening balance, all we need is opening balance date, code, cost basis, and quantity held. This means Sharesight needs to have at least these data points available on the spreadsheet you’re about to import.

2. In terms of the file itself, we require CSV format. Most software will export files in CSV format, but if your file is in .xls, .xlt, or .xlsx format (standard Excel formats), you can easily switch to CSV by “Saving As” and then changing the file format.

3. Or download a pre-formatted template from Sharesight here

4. You’ll notice  the file we provide contains extra data columns. These aren’t mandatory, but if you have the data feel free to include it in the appropriate columns.

5. On the Add New Holdings page, scroll down to the bottom and click the “+Bulk Import” button.

6. The next page will prompt you to locate and upload the file. Be sure to choose “opening balances” from the “You are importing” dropdown. Note the template file is available for download here too.

7. Sharesight will now begin its “automagic” upload process and first ask you to confirm the column headers (data columns) in your file. If you have data in the wrong column, you can make edits here.

8. Next, Sharesight will ask you to confirm the actual data in your file, and alert you if any errors have been found. You can make edits to your data directly on this page without having to change your file. Notice in this screenshot, I left out the number of QAN shares. Sharesight still accepts the file so you can fill in the blanks here.

And that’s it! Once you click Save, your portfolio will be setup from that opening balance date forward.

A few handy notes on the logic behind this process:

This upload will add data to anything you already have input for this portfolio, and will look for any discrepancies and alert you if there are issues. As an example, if you recorded a few transactions for QAN prior to the newly introduced opening balance, Sharesight will inform you of the discrepancy and allow you to make edits to fix the error.

You can include different opening balance dates for each holding in the same file. Opening balance dates correspond to holdings, not the portfolio as a whole.

If you want to layer on or backfill buy and sell transactions you can do so at any time between your portfolio’s opening balance date and today. You can do this by forwarding contract notes to Sharesight or by manually entering buy or sell transactions. More on both of these processes later in this series.

Here’s a link to our Help section for more: http://help.sharesight.com.au/upload-import-opening-balances

Next up: Portfolio Setup Tip #3: Creating a Portfolio Using Historical Trades (Manual)

Scrap those New Year’s Resolutions and Get Real | Portfolio Setup Tip #1: Opening Balances (Manual Entry) Are Your Best Friend

New Year’s resolutions never stick. Don’t believe us? Go to the gym this week and count the empty treadmills. Psychologically, we think this sort of absolutism is a fool’s errand, evidenced by years of our own broken resolutions: caffeine, alcohol, fitness, avoiding blogs, leveraged ETFs, you name it. The best changes in life, including investing and app development come from manageable step-wise processes.

Sharesight clients love that we don’t force them into using our app by going whole-hog with a massive all or nothing setup effort of purchasing process. For the newly initiated (or those with less than 10 holdings) Sharesight Free Plan will always be free, and we’ll never deactivate your account due to inactivity, number of holdings, or portfolio value. If you choose to purchase one of our plans, we won’t force you into an annual commitment either. Simply pay as you go monthly if you prefer. But, the best part is all of your data will be automatically updated at the close of each day’s trading, whether you’ve logged in or not.

Regardless of what type of Sharesight plan you use, our goal is to offer the best portfolio product on the market. This means getting a portfolio setup should be simple and by no means an all or nothing exercise. With our approach you can combine our setup processes and edit your data at any time so your portfolio is updated based on your schedule and the information you have available.

So as you make New Year’s resolutions to invest as wisely as Warren Buffett or be on top of your portfolio admin like a German fund manager, Sharesight has you covered should you find yourself retreating a bit from your bold 2014 proclamations.

Over the next week or so we’ll be posting some tips to help get you started and get your portfolios on track. The first tip is arguably the most important: opening balances (a.k.a. just pick a date and get on with life).

Portfolio Setup Tip #1: Opening Balances (Manual Entry) Are Your Best Friend

Whilst Sharesight has historical data stretching back decades that you can use to recreate complete transaction histories (more on this later), you don’t need to go back to day one of your first investment to make sure your portfolio is accurate. Most people we work with don’t have records stretching back to their first buys and sells. Systems change, balances are transferred, and records get lost, we get it!

So, we’ve created a way for investors and the Pros who serve them to put a stake in the ground and begin from a specific portfolio opening balance date. This is no less accurate than having access to trade histories, but you are creating a portfolio start date, before which no data will be recorded and after which, all data should be pristine. This is your personally crafted “In the beginning, God created a portfolio” moment. Enjoy it.

Chances are you’ll have access to an accurate opening balance date as at the portfolio’s last tax lodgement or some other official statement period. We advise clients to pick the oldest possible date at which your portfolio data is reliable. This way you’ll have access to some history too. From a compliance perspective, though, choosing an opening balance date immediately following the previous tax year (e.g. 1 July 2013) is the safest way to go.

If the portfolio has less than 20 holdings, our recommendation is to key in the opening balances for each holding. This should take about 20 seconds per holding. All you need is your cost base and the number of shares. Once this is input, we’ll work out the rest for you, including all subsequent gains, losses, dividends, and corporate actions. Remember, you can always go back and edit these holdings later. If you do make a change, all of the performance data will be updated accordingly and automatically.

 

Code, cost base, quantity is all you need to begin with an opening balance

On the Add Holding page, just make sure you’ve selected “Opening Balance” and Sharesight will show you the required fields. Once your opening balances are entered, your portfolio will carry on from that point forward automatically. All performance gains/losses, dividends, and corporate actions will now affect your portfolio. It’s a good idea to go into each holding and check and confirm things like dividends and splits.

It’s important to understand, however; if you want to layer on or backfill buy and sell transactions you can do so at any time between your portfolio’s opening balance date and today. You can do this by forwarding contract notes to Sharesight or by manually entering buy or sell transactions. More on both of these processes later in this series.

Here’s a link to our Help section for more: http://help.sharesight.com.au/setting-up-your-holdings

Next up: Portfolio Setup Tip #2: Opening Balances (Bulk Upload) Are Also Your Best Friend

New Feature: Carry Forward Loss

Based on your comments in the Sharesight Client Forum, we’ve built and released a new carry forward loss feature found on the Capital Gains Tax report for Australian clients and on the Traders Tax report for New Zealand users.

This new feature allows Sharesight Retail and Pro clients to enter a carry-forward amount from the previous reporting period ($) that can now be included in the current report totals. You’ll find the amount towards the bottom of the reports as a dedicated line item. Currently this value is not saved and must be re-entered when you re-run the report.

carry forward

carry forward 2

Carry-forward feature on AU CGT report, example shows a carry-forward loss of $1,000

Ideas for future enhancements include:

  1. Saving the carry-forward value against each financial year so that the amount is pre-populated when you re-run the historical report. This could get tricky as currently the report date range and lock periods are not restricted to a financial year.
  2. Pre-populating the carry-forward amount if a CGT loss was calculated in the previous financial year (this is probably only useful if you don’t have CGT gains/losses outside of your Sharesight portfolio).

As always we’re keen to get your feedback!

Sharing is Caring

We work with DIY investors every day through Sharesight, our original application, and with accountants and financial advisers through Sharesight Pro. A feature that receives little fanfare, but a lot of use is our “share access” policy, which is where our two client bases come together.

So much of financial services is vertically integrated and walled-off from the end client, you the investors, the depositor, the small business owner. Getting hold of your investment data is akin to rocking up at the Google office asking to reorder their search results. As such, one of the original tenants behind Sharesight was to facilitate information flow between investors and the professionals who serve them. We wanted to increase productivity and accountability.

As an DIY investor on the Investor or Expert Plan, you can share access with anyone you’d like. Want to keep your accountant in the loop during the tax year and need a bit of extra guidance on how to treat those partially franked dividends? Go ahead and allow Read & Write access. Want to keep your spouse up to date on your (naturally genius) share picks? Read Only access would probably be the safest way to go, a.k.a. “marriage preservation mode.”

If you’re an accountant or financial adviser on Sharesight Pro, not only can you share Read Only or Read & Write access with your clients, but you can set them up to receive portfolio alert emails too. Plus, you create as many staff logins as you’d like for no extra charge.

Sharing

Sharing is caring. Send a personalised note while you’re at it.

When we first launched Sharesight Pro, we helped early adopters realise the time savings Sharesight afforded. Once client portfolios were set up, everything just ticked forward automatically. Accountants and advisers began to realise that with more time on their hands and with Sharesight as a sales weapon, they could market their services proactively to clients seeking investment accounting help, both the DIY investing crowd and of course, SMSF trustees.

We also discovered that all of a sudden Sharesight Pro partners had a few more billable hours to fill, while putting a stop to write-downs caused by the dreaded shoe box full of client trading data.

Share”- sight, get it?

Pro sharing

Sharing dashboards allow for multiple types of sharing with unlimited people.

New Pro Feature: Personalised Marketing Materials

We just launched a useful feature for our Sharesight Pro clients. Within “My Details” you can now create your own Sharesight materials to help educate your clients about Sharesight. On the “Marketing Materials” tab you’re able to add your company logo, personalised text, and generate the PDF files right there within Sharesight. Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Marketing materials page

Our aim here is not only to help you explain Sharesight to your clients, but to open up new revenue possibilities for your practice.  Once clients see how easy it is to track true performance and tax, chances are they’ll engage with you, their trusted accountant or financial adviser.  If you’re looking to reach the fast growing SMSF market, or your prospect list contains clients with money in the sharemarket, Sharesight becomes an effective sales tool.

One of the biggest roadblocks to advisor/client happiness is the initial information upload. It’s an awkward dance, especially when you’ve just brought a new client on board.  The Professional needs the information, clients don’t have it ready, and so goes the waltz. Even the biggest, global “white-shoe” firms struggle with this stage. Sharesight makes the investment side of this process a whole lot easier – and if you’d prefer a bit of guidance, we offer free training with a Pro subscription.

Also don’t forget, you can add your company logo to ALL Sharesight reports, like Performance Report, CGT Report, Future Income, etc. Just upload your logo on the “My Details” tab and you’re all set.

adding a logo

Sharesight’s Beautiful Xero Integration

A lot of Sharesight clients ask if we’re owned by or somehow part of Xero. We’re not. But the misunderstanding makes sense. We’re both disruptive cloud companies based in Wellington and spend a lot of time out on the road together. The fact that our integration is so seamless might be the real source of the confusion. In a nutshell, the Sharesight + Xero connection means you can do proper investment accounting, automatically.

Xero logo

We’re a “Five Star” Xero Add-On Partner, which means your Sharesight portfolios can be synchronised with Xero. Whether you’re using Xero Cash Book or any sized Xero business plan, all of your investment data will flow through to Xero’s accounting app “automagically.” It’s super easy to connect the two. Just go to Xero Settings within Sharesight and connect by entering your Xero username and password.

Xero integraton

Syncing Sharesight and Xero is a simple one step process.

Once the accounts are synced, just tell Xero if you’d like to use bank transactions or invoices. Now you’re ready to map your Sharesight investment transactions and income with your personalised chart of accounts in Xero. This means you can track your realised gains, losses, dividends reinvested (DRPs), interest income, franking credits, and much more. The point is, you can tailor your chart of accounts for each type of client and setup the corresponding Xero reports accordingly.

dougs merge

Using Xero Report Packs takes this one step further. Report Packs allow for reusable, special purpose templates. These are especially handy for those with self managed super funds (SMSFs), professional traders, and even the buy and hold long term investor.

From this point on when you (or your clients) make a trade or when you receive a dividend payout, this data will go from the broker to Sharesight to Xero in about two minutes. Sharesight will even show you when the data has been sent through successfully. Just watch the little Xero icon appear and go from grey to blue. It’s satisfying, trust us.

dividend xero sync

Real time broker + Sharesight + Xero connection.

If you’re like a lot of our clients, a good chunk of your day is spent in front of Xero. After all, it’s the engine that underpins your business. Since our sync works even when you’re not logged into Sharesight, you can still see investment activities as they flow through. Have a client who invested in the new OzForex float? Clients that stand to benefit from Westpac’s special dividend? How about a client who turned a quick profit on the Twitter IPO? No problem, we’ve got you covered. We’re not talking about a one line, cryptically coded entry either. Sharesight pushes through all of the execution details. And if you want to investigate a bit more, we’ve added a handy link within each Xero transaction record.

Xero

All trade and dividend details pushed from Sharesight to Xero.

Before the Sharesight and Xero hook-up, investors (and especially accountants) had to play catch up at tax time. Each time an accurate snapshot of capital gains or dividend income was needed, they were forced to wind back the clock and recreate client portfolios. No more. Since Sharesight records trades, corporate actions, and dividends as they happen over the course of a tax year, generating a performance report, capital gains tax report, cash summary, or profit & loss statement is just a couple of clicks away.

Sharesight and Xero gives time back to accountants, financial advisers, and investors. This is time freed up from rote, admin tasks like manually entering portfolio data or tracking down a dividend payment. These precious billable hours can now be applied to forward-looking, discussions like tax planning, estate planning, anything to reassure clients you’re thinking about them strategically.

Greetings from Sydney

The Emerald City. The Harbour City. The Big Smoke. The Big Enchilada. Whatever colloquialism you prefer, it was with a sense of excitement and relief that we set up shop on our last stop of the Xero Roadshow in Sydney. It’s home to our sales and marketing staff so while we pulled in running on fumes, our home ground advantage allowed us to sprint across the finish line.

Because so many companies are based in the Sydney metro area it can be tough to cut through the interference at big events and connect with real, actual product users. In the past we’ve come across larger accounting and financial advice firms who see the appeal of the cloud ecosystem, might use it for their personal lives, but weren’t motivated to ascend into it professionally.

This event marked a total change. We spoke with players big and small who are ditching legacy systems and moving into the cloud whole hog. It seems decision makers within larger businesses can’t afford to not be seen looking at cost-saving, cloud based technologies. Two years ago the concern was cloud security and backup. Last year it was data portability, implementation, and training. This year? The switch is on.

Sydney

Great setup for 500 attendees at the Hilton and some interloper looking for free food.

Of the 500 attendees we probably spoke to 150 and gave as many demos as time would allow. Hell, we even founds out a number of Xero staff rely Sharesight for their portfolios and wanted a training session of their own. People in Sydney are on board. They saw the value in the Xero Add-On ecosystem and by virtue of that, saw how Sharesight makes what used to be an awkward cost-centre into a chance to connect and add value for their clients. No more scrambling at tax time trying to recreate portfolio performance and dividend histories retroactively. No more relying on expensive, offline systems.

All in all, the Roadshow was a fantastic two weeks. We onboarded many new Pro clients and their clients’ portfolios. We took note from our clients on a number things we could be doing better and took down a few really cool product ideas that we’ll most likely build. We also hatched a few plans to work with Add-On partners directly. More to come on that one.

Greetings from Perth

Comparisons between the American Cowboy and the Australian West are common. Both embody a “go it alone” mentality and a resolve to  just “get ‘er done.” It stands to reason then that the 300 accountants, bookkeepers, and financial advisers we met in Perth have taken to the cloud like swans to a river. It just seemed like a “no brainer” to quote one financial adviser. “Common sense rules the day,” said another. This was, so far, the most advanced Xero + Add-On crowd we’ve met so far on the Xero Roadshow.

Perth

Our favourite part about the Perth stop was the enthusiasm of DIY investors. When we introduce Sharesight to first-timer Pros (accountants or advisers), we ask “do your clients have investment portfolios?” The answer is usually “yes,” but in Perth the response is “yeah, but I have one too.” We spent a lot of time Thursday looking up obscure share codes to check performance of favourite mining stocks.

One of the best, time-saving features of Sharesight is our corporate actions data. When one mining company takes over another, for example, Sharesight will handle this automatically. Name change? No problem. Share split? We’ve got you covered with no manual intervention.

In a market like Perth, where accountants and financial advisers are moving to the cloud in droves, an entire support and consulting industry has sprung up around this move towards a new ecosystem. We were fortunate to set up our stand next to the guys from Focus Growth Strategies. They work with accounting practices to optimise sales and service strategies in the cloud ecosystem. In short, there are so many practices moving away from old-school software into the cloud that a consulting cottage industry is thriving right alongside.

Next stop Sydney. Into the big smoke.