Meet Sharesight at Xerocon Sydney 2014

Never ones to miss a party – Sharesight will be exhibiting at Xerocon in Sydney on 20-22 August at Sydney Olympic Park! We’ve gone all in this year and will be hosting a huge expo booth and are giving away a free drone! Also be sure you don’t miss our two break-out presentations.

Xerocon Sydney 2014

This will be our fourth Xerocon event, and they get better each time. Xero knows how to throw a party. The quality of the presenters, exhibitors, and genuine enthusiasm of the attendees creates an electric atmosphere. We promise this is not just another conference.

Stop by the Sharesight booth to meet our (ever-expanding) team, and to see a personalised demo. We’ll have staff running two demo screens simultaneously. We’ve released four major new features recently – including Broker Import, which can setup your clients’ portfolios in seconds. What better way to try our new features than alongside the people who built them?

Parrot AR 2.0

And if you need one more reason to visit our booth, enter to win our terrific giveaway – a Parrot AR Drone 2.0. This thing is sitting in our office right now and it looks awesome. All you need to do is sign up for a free trial of Sharesight Pro and you’ll be entered to win. Does your neighbour have a wifi-enabled quadcopter with an HD camera? Didn’t think so. Get your hands on one of these while they’re still legal!

Register for Xerocon here.

The Importance of Using a Purpose-Built Application

Back in the day big businesses built big software with big price tags. With scores of developers, the temptation to stray from a core feature set was too great.

Want a terrific example of an epic fail?

In 2000, Enron (yes, that Enron) teamed up with Blockbuster (yes, that Blockbuster) to offer a broadband service. Enron spent $350M on servers alone. Of course, they eventually filed for the largest bankruptcy in US history and its former CEO is due to be released from prison in 2028. Blockbuster also went bankrupt. Their business model seemed to be pretending Netflix didn’t exist. So that didn’t go so well.

In our industry, we’ve seen $20,000-a-year investment software offer CRMs, self-publishing tools, and even instant messaging. It’s not a pretty sight. Nobody uses these features and they give rise to bloatware.

Recently, Reckon, an accounting software provider, created a stir amongst its client base by announcing they will no longer provide downloadable share price data on their Reckon Accounts Personal Product. Reckon made this decision due to a “forced technology change,” and is asking clients to move to a new product to retain this functionality.

While this is a bummer for their clients who’ve relied on this feature for years, this announcement shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. Reckon provides accounting software, not investment software. We’ve seen their latest release in action – it’s very cool. Their focus is most likely on providing mission-critical accounting features for small businesses, accountants, and individuals.

If they’re concentrating their efforts on core features, this is a win for their client base – so long as they adopt an open platform architecture and allow their users to connect to purpose-built applications. Look no further than the app store on your mobile as to why this structure is so effective.

Shark with Laser

Shark With Frickin’ Laser Pointer from ThinkGeek

Any software provider focusing on a set of core features will never be able to keep up with speciality apps on the periphery – especially a software provider who’s not in the cloud. This is something we remind ourselves of constantly at Sharesight. We get well-intended feedback on a range of ideas from technical charting to document storage to becoming an online broker ourselves. Some of these ideas would generate revenue in the short-term. All of these features would hurt our core application over time. We’re never going to do any of these better than dedicated providers unless we fundamentally change our business.

Our aim is to connect to these services via APIs and let our clients choose which apps to use. In this way, sometimes Sharesight is the platform and sometimes we’re the add on.

Before relying on an application to provide important life-admin tasks, make sure you understand what its core functionality is. While any application might serve your immediate needs well, there’s no guarantee that they’ll continue to provide the feature. Products change, competitors change, technology changes. Sometimes the best way to grow is to kill-off peripheral features.

To put it another way, trust Sharesight to track and store your portfolio data, but by all means don’t use our file uploader as a free alternative to Dropbox.

New Feature: How Can I Quickly Check Share Performance and Dividends?

By using our new Share Checker feature of course! Works for managed funds and ETFs too.

Sharesight Share Checker

We realised many of you like to keep  a watchlist or “dream” portfolio in Sharesight. We do too. We’ve got a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio and a Tech All-Stars portfolio. Amazing what a little hindsight can do for your total return.

On the other hand, if you simply wanted to check a company’s performance quickly or verify that you’ve selected the correct security, previously you had to add the holding to your portfolio by going to the trouble of creating a (fictitious) buy transaction.

Now with the Share Checker you can map the value of $1k invested in mere seconds without having to add phoney data to your portfolio. On the Portfolio Overview page, click the Share Checker button next to the Add Holding button. Then enter your data range, market, and code/name.

Sharesight Share Checker

On an overlay, you’ll see a hypothetical $1,000 investment. Further down the page, you’ll see our familiar total return components and then several tabs corresponding to dividends, corporate actions, and news.

The Trades & Adjustments tab works out retrospectively how many units (rounded to the nearest whole unit) you would have needed to buy to get close to the initial investment of $1,000. Our total return calculation works out the difference between that initial $1,000 and today’s value.

Sharesight Share Checker

We hope you find this feature as handy as we do!

Introducing Broker Import: Automatic Portfolio Setup!

This is a huge new feature announcement. Now on Sharesight you can instantly import your trading history directly from your broker – meaning no data to enter or spreadsheets to upload. This is by far, the easiest way to get started with Sharesight or to bring in your additional portfolios.

Broker Import by Sharesight

Broker Import allows you to login to your online brokerage account – from within Sharesight. After you securely connect, we’ll automatically import your buy and sell transactions within a date range of your choice. Importing takes a few seconds. When finished, your portfolio will now be setup on Sharesight – complete with your entire trading history.

Give it a try

To try it out, we’d recommend creating a new portfolio, or using a “spare” portfolio you might keep for watchlist purposes. From the new dropdown menu next to Add Holding, select Import from your broker and choose your broker (Westpac is coming soon!):

On the next screen, enter the same details you use to login to your broker’s website and click Import. For security reasons, Sharesight will never store or remember your broker login details. You’re essentially downloading your trading history through a secure connection, and uploading it into Sharesight’s existing setup process.

After a few seconds, Sharesight will display the trading history collected from your broker. This is a really handy step, which allows you to confirm the trades you’re about to use to create the portfolio’s history. For those of you who’ve used our bulk importer before, you might notice that we’ve married Broker Import with our existing spreadsheet upload process.

This page will also allow you to make adjustments (if necessary) without having to leave Sharesight. If you do get stuck on a particular holding, you can always come back and add it manually later.

Once ready click Save all transactions and Sharesight will begin building your portfolio. You’ll see a number of green rows of data layering on top of one another. Any errors that do appear can be dealt with on this page, ignored, or handled once inside your new portfolio. In other words, should any of your holdings not flow through to Sharesight automatically, we’ll flag those, but still set up your portfolio based on the trades that did come through successfully.

And that’s it! The page will refresh and you’ll be taken into your new portfolio. And just like Sharesight does for any holding, we’ll auto-populate all subsequent dividends and corporate actions.

We’re thrilled about this new feature and we can’t wait to get your feedback. We think this will help investors of all kinds and the professionals who look after their portfolios. The faster and easier you can get your data to work in Sharesight, the quicker you can make better investment and tax decisions. We’ve always made it our mission to cut down on the admin time spent on portfolios. We think Broker Import represents an exponential leap forward.

Keep in mind when using a feature that’s THIS automatic & powerful:

1. It’s still beta. There is only so much testing we can do. This feature will be only be optimised after you give it a go and send us your feedback.

2. Broker Import will only bring in your historical trades. You will still need to use our contract note feature for auto-recording future buys and sells.

3. Be mindful of how much history to bring across. If you bring in 20 years worth of trade data, you’d be wise to go through and double check your dividends and corporate actions since we populate everything automatically. And for 20 years – that’s a lot of data. Any edits that you missed will compound over time. Starting since your last tax return or for the past 12 months is a more manageable approach.

4. Negative balances. If you’ve ever transferred holdings from one broker to another, you may encounter a negative balance error message. Since the original broker doesn’t give your current broker any transactional details, Sharesight won’t receive them either. This results in a situation where you’re telling Sharesight to, for example, sell units in a holding we don’t know that you own. This is easily fixed right on the error page:

  1. Record the missing transaction(s). Click the ‘Add row’ link to record any missing transactions.
  2. Exclude the holding from the import and deal with it later. If you don’t have the missing data at hand, you can use the delete checkbox to exclude certain transactions from the import. You can set up these holding later using an opening balance transaction or by manually entering your original buy transaction.

New Feature: Sharesight Pro Integrates with Macquarie Cash Management Accounts

We’re happy to announce that Sharesight Pro now supports Macquarie Cash Management Accounts. Keeping an eye on client cash flow is handy. Tracking cash for trade and dividend settlement purposes is critical. Now do it automatically inside Sharesight with the industry’s most popular cash product. We figured why stop with just shares, ETFs, and managed funds?

Sharesight + Macquarie

We’ve built an automated and on-going link to Macquarie CMA, which means you can pull in your CMA transaction history and cash balance straight into Sharesight – a perfect solution for CMAs used for buy, sell, and dividend reconciliation and so you can seamlessly report an up to date cash balance in Sharesight.

Once you sync the two, we’ll automatically display each portfolio’s cash balance on the Portfolio Overview page. If you see the Macquarie logo, you know you’re synced up! The CMA account will now be automatically updated every day with no manual intervention required.

Clicking into the cash account will display the latest transactional history. On the detail page you can search through the cash transactions or export the data to Excel or PDF.

Setup is easy and a one-off step. Once you instruct Macquarie and Sharesight to talk to one another (using the Macquarie ESI token), you can add as many client CMA accounts as necessary using a dropdown menu.

The CMA data will now be automatically updated going forward and available across the Sharesight application and reports. No more creating custom securities and updating cash balances manually.

What’s more, we’ve created an Unsettled Trades Adjustment option. If the CMA account is used as the trade settlement account, using this feature will automatically offset for the T+3 rule. In other words, Sharesight will temporarily adjust the CMA balance until the cash is debited/credited for the trade so that an accurate cash balance is always maintained. If you don’t use the CMA as the settlement account, you can switch this feature off.

This is a big step for Sharesight. Your feedback was the key driver behind this new feature. As we have more professional investors, asset managers, and financial advisers switching to Sharesight, a proper cash tracking system was mission critical.

As always, send us your feedback!