The Sharesight Story

Seven years ago my son Scott and I developed Sharesight. We began by asking ourselves a few basic questions, which turned out to be awfully relevant for investors of all stripes.

When you have finally paid off your mortgage and you ready to do some serious saving, where is the best place to put your hard earned cash?

In the bank? Debentures? Bonds? Buy a rental property? Or maybe you could stick it in the share market? Surely not the share market. Everyone has heard of the Wall Street crash and the periodic crashes that have followed.

When I eventually became mortgage free I did some research to answer the big “where to invest” question. To my surprise I discovered that over the long term the share market was hard to beat despite the well-publicised crashes.

Next question: Who should I use to manage my share investments? More research and another surprise. Most investment advisors struggle to outperform market averages. Worse still they charge like wounded bulls but provide you with a very basic record of your investments to say the least and no meaningful performance information at all.

The solution was obvious. I’d do everything myself. Problems solved. Well… not quite. Two things drove me nuts.

  1. Record keeping for tax and accounting purposes was a time-consuming pain in the neck.
  2. How could I be certain share market investing was the best option? Working out the true, annualise return on my shares was damn tricky. No wonder investment advisors don’t do this for their clients.

To solve these problems Scott and I developed Sharesight. Not just for me but for all investors who have the problems I did.

In Sharesight your record keeping is automated. Your trades, dividends, share splits, dividend reinvestments and much more are all recorded for you.

You will love our tax reporting and you can see the true annualised return of every share you own and for your total portfolio over any time period you choose.

But wait – there’s more. Sharesight has been going 7 years now and has developed a host of other features over that time. Many of them kindly suggested by our customers, so please keep the feedback coming.

Sharesight Early Days

Sharesight is now a Silver Xero Partner & Certified Advisor!

We’re pleased to announce that Sharesight is now a Silver Xero Partner and Certified Advisor. These milestones demonstrate our continued partnership with the innovative cloud-accounting company, as well as our commitment to provide investors with a comprehensive portfolio admin & performance tracking tool.

Xero Silver Partner & Certified Advisor

Sharesight + Xero: A Love Story

As cloud natives, we’ve always had an affinity for game-changing online services. As such, we decided early-on to partner with Xero’s market-leading online accounting system in order to provide a seamless solution between investment portfolio management and accounting. We’re proud to have been one of Xero’s very first Add-Ons (now an entire sub-industry into itself!) and remain the only investment portfolio Add-On to this day.

Sharesight + Xero Cashbook

How it Works

Xero Add-On Partner of the Year 2014

When you link Sharesight to Xero, your buys, sells, and dividends will flow into Xero automatically so you can incorporate your investments into your personal wealth and budgeting picture. And Xero sends your cash positions back to Sharesight – a perfect solution for viewing cash investments inside your Sharesight portfolio. As we like to say, if you like Xero, you’ll love Sharesight! In fact, our Xero integration is so great that they named us Add-On Partner of the Year for 2014.

Why do we sell Xero?

Sharesight at it’s very core, is designed for the DIY investor. So while you can gain access to Xero via a certified accountant or advisor, we thought it was important to give investors the opportunity to own and manage their own Xero account. So back in August, we began to offer Xero Cashbook as a Sharesight Add-On. (You read that right: Sharesight is a Xero Add-On, and Xero Cashbook is a Sharesight Add-On. We love the openness and innovation that has grown out of Xero’s Add-On ecosystem and couldn’t resist building our own. Stay tuned to this space for more on this!)

What is Xero Cashbook?

Cashbook is the striped-back version of Xero without invoicing or payroll functions. What remains is a powerful personal finance tool that allows you to treat your personal or household finances like a P&L centre. And as mentioned above, once Cashbook is linked to Sharesight, you get a 360 degree view of your financial picture: income, expenses, cash and investments – easily accessible from anywhere and in real-time.

Sharesight Investor and Expert users can try Cashbook free for 30 days, after that it’s just $15/month. For more information, visit: http://www.sharesight.com/cashbook.

Our In-House Xero Expert

We’re also happy to announce that our Client Experience Specialist (aka Portfolio ChampionLulu Ye, is now a Xero Certified Advisor. She’s at the ready to help you connect your (or your client’s) Sharesight Portfolios to Xero.

2014: The year in review

Since December is a time to reflect on the past year, we thought we’d take the time to highlight our significant accomplishments from 2014 — and what a year it’s been!

Countdown to 2015

New Features & Improved Usability

If you’re a veteran Sharesight user, then you would have noticed the launch of our improved look & feel earlier this year. From there came major charting improvements and the ability to apply custom groupings & display options. We also added a handful of powerful enhancements, including:

  • Broker Import — Import your entire trading history with just a few clicks.
  • Share Checker — Quickly check the performance of any share or fund.
  • More Brokers — We now support contract notes from over 60 brokers across AU & NZ.
  • Google Authentication — Signup (and login) to Sharesight using your Google account.

Everything in One Place

Don’t let the name deceive you — Sharesight tracks more than just shares. This year, we added support for:

  • mFunds — Track ASX’s unlisted managed funds.
  • Managed Funds — Monitor over 10,000 Australian & New Zealand funds.

Awesome Partners

We forged new strategic partnerships and expanded upon existing ones in 2014:

  • CMC Markets — Premium CMC Traders now get Sharesight Investor plans at no cost.
  • Stockspot — Their curated ETF model portfolios are seamlessly tracked by Sharesight.
  • Xero — We were absolutely thrilled to be named Add-On Partner of the Year. Additionally, we now support:
    • Cash Management — Track your cash & fixed interest investments in Sharesight.
    • Xero Cashbook — You can try it free for 30 days, after that it’s only $15/month.

New Teammates

Beyond all the product enhancements, 2014 also brought the addition of a few new teammates, including application developer Michael, marketing maven Angela, and support & training superstar Lulu.

What’s Next?

2015 will kick-off with a long-awaited feature launch and a major strategic partner announcement. From there, we already have a whole list of feature enhancements and partnerships to work on and roll-out. For the latest updates, stay tuned to our Twitter feed and to this blog.

Thanks

But enough about us… we also want to take this opportunity to thank you! Whether you’re an individual investor, accountant or adviser: thanks for your support and for spreading the word about us. We love hearing the many ways that Sharesight helps simplify your portfolio record-keeping and reporting, so please keep the feedback coming next year.

AWI & ASX Fintech Expo – Roundup

Last week we were given a chance to speak and host a stand at the Self-Directed Investor Fintech Expo, hosted by AWI and ASX. It was a terrific event with a great DIY investor turnout. Lots of curiosity following our Sharesight demo and lots of investors stopping by to learn more about Sharesight. Our basic theme was: “ditch the spreadsheet.”

Doug Morris from Sharesight presenting at the Sydney Fintech Expo

There are some exciting – and more importantly – some very real things going on in the Australian and New Zealand financial technology space. Running your investment life online is possible. Today.


AWI & ASX
To be honest, it can get lonely running an online business. Don’t get me wrong, the Sharesight staff manages to have a lot of fun. But, much of our work is heads down, earphones on, hunched over laptops. That’s why it’s so nice to get together with fellow fintech companies to learn about what works, what doesn’t, and to swap war stories.

A few presentations (and quotes) stood out:


Stockspot
Yeah, we’re biased. But, regardless of your stand on active versus passive investing, Stockspot represents one of the best elements of fintech: connected applications. Chris Brycki and his investment team use Desktop Broking (Bell) for execution, Macquarie CMAs for cash management, and Sharesight for client reporting. Much of what they’ve accomplished relies on off-the-shelf APIs and some clever (but lightweight) engineering. What does this mean for you, the investor? Transparently managed, responsible, low-cost portfolios.

Chris had a quote that resonated when discussing the glut of index-hugging, high-fee fund managers: “pay for alpha that counts, but rely on low-cost beta”


Simply Wall St

Investing is overly complex. Keep your research simple. Keep it visual. Those were the themes covered by Al Bentley from Simply Wall Street. We enjoyed their clever presentation and their snowflake charts. Very useful way to represent a company’s financial health, discount to fair value, dividend yield, and past and future performance. Al didn’t mention it specifically, but he addressed a topic that we’re passionate about at Sharesight: KISS (“keep it simple, stupid”).


Livewire

This one caught our eye because of its simplicity. There’s a lot of investment opinion out there – some of it high quality, some of it noise. Livewire is like a curated twitter feed comprised of industry experts, top investing personalities, and well-respected research houses. Works great on mobiles too – I’ve already bookmarked it.


Intelligent Investor

These guys took a different approach. In a day filled with fast-talking product demos (me included), Jason Prowd took a step back and reminded the audience that you can be a successful stock picker but you must remain contrarian. It was a breath of fresh air. Intelligent Investor has been around since 1998, but they’re the first research house whose content and delivery looks appropriately contemporary.

Over a giant picture of Warren Buffett, Jason reminded us: “no one ever made money by not being contrarian.”


Interestingly there was a lot of conflict amongst the products at the Expo. Stockspot told the crowd that returns come from asset allocation while Intelligent Investor reminded us that there are indeed high quality companies to be found. Simply Wall Street kept on the theme that the industry is basically designed to screw over the average investor, while Livewire has already tapped into more than 30,000 investors hungry for institutional-calibre research. Macrovue took the middle road and explained how to invest cost-effectively in global themes.

This kind of conflict is good. It means investors have choice. They can mix and match products that suit them best. Nearly every idea represented is a low-cost product that can be bought (and cancelled) online. (We already have a few discussions going about hooking-in to some of these exciting applications. Stay tuned for more details…)

ASX Ticker & AWI Logo

In a follow-up article about the event, managing director of AWI Ventures Toby Heap summed it up nicely by saying, “innovation is crucial if financial services are to keep pace with technology-driven advances in other industries”. In the same article, Toby also said that Sharesight exemplifies ”the trend towards consumer empowerment”. That’s definitely at the core of our DNA, so it’s great to be recognized as such by our peers.

Sincere thanks to AWI and ASX for organising and hosting such a fantastic event, and to the other startups for participating in the expo. It’s an exciting time to be part of the Fintech industry, and working alongside innovative companies like these makes it that much more fun.

AWI 2014 Fintech Expo

How do I attach a file in Sharesight?

At its very core, Sharesight is an online repository for all your portfolio data. In fact, having all your holdings and trade details in one place is what makes it possible for Sharesight to automate dividend tracking and offer powerful 1-click performance and tax reports. But in terms of pure data, we understand that sometimes numbers aren’t enough. So for notes and other details, Sharesight lets you add your own comments within individual holding, trade, and income records. And another feature that’s available to ProInvestor and Expert members is the ability to upload your own files to individual holding or trade records as well.

Storing files at the holding-level

Sharesight allows you to store up to five files per holding. This can be a useful place to store annual reports and other files associated with the holding.

To upload a file to a holding, simply expand the “File Attachments” tab on the right-hand side of the screen, click on the “upload a file” button, and select the file(s) you wish to upload:

File Attachments - Add to Holding

Once uploaded, the file names will be displayed. Simply click on a file to open it, or click on the trash icon to delete it:

File Attachments – View within Holding

Storing files at the trade-level

In addition to storing files at the holding level, you may store one file for each recorded trade within a holding. To upload a file to a trade record, simply click on the trade’s “edit” link:

Edit Trade Details

Click on the “choose a file” button:

Adding a File Attachment to a Trade

Then click on the “save changes” button. The holding details page will refresh and a paperclip icon will appear next to the trade’s “edit” link:

Saved file attachment

To access the file, simply click on the “edit” link again. Your file will appear in the modal window. Simply click on it to view it, or click on the trash icon to delete it.

View Trade File Attachment

Note: if the trade was automatically captured via contract note, then the PDF of the contract note will appear here and will count towards your allotted file.