H&R Block SMSF Solutions
Kimberlee Brown – SMSF Director, H&R Block SMSF Solutions
H&R Block adopted Class Super as the cornerstone for its new self managed super fund administration service. The software is enabling the high-profile firm to scale rapidly, deliver outstanding client service and meet its internal business goals.
Entering the SMSF arena
H&R Block is famous for helping clients prepare tax returns. The business has 480 offices across Australia as well as offices in Canada, India and the United States, where it started in 1955.
However, the firm also offers a range of other services. These include business tax and accounting, bookkeeping and, more recently, self managed super fund (SMSF) administration. H&R Block started its SMSF business in 2015 by hiring Kimberlee Brown to lead the practice, then set about establishing its services and systems.
Scaling up with Class Super
Kimberlee, a CPA and SMSF Specialist Adviser (SMSF Association), was formerly a senior manager with a super administration group that had a large number of funds under management. In that role, she gained extensive experience in using Class Super and considered their software to be the best choice for H&R Block’s new SMSF business.
“We wanted to be able to scale up really quickly and, quite honestly, we saw Class as the lynchpin to achieving this,” she says.
H&R Block’s SMSF practice now provides a national service from its Adelaide headquarters and uses Class Super as its sole SMSF administration platform. The Group is also considering using Class Portfolio in other areas of its practice to help clients manage non-super portfolios.
According to Kimberlee, the H&R Block group has been delighted with Class Super and has gained numerous benefits from using the software.
Reliability and innovation
Kimberlee comments that she considered that the first real benefit was simply that “Class Super works as promised, while so many other SMSF admin systems promise to deliver but fall short in so many areas”.
Kimberlee said that “I know this might sound silly, but I’ve used accounting software products before that haven’t even been able to do the basics, which is scary.” She also added that “Class Super has always been a very comprehensive and reliable solution for
managing SMSFs. It’s also very intuitive and user-friendly.”
Kimberlee highlighted Class’ commitment to continuous innovation and staying up to date with the many regulatory and market changes that influence the SMSF arena. “They’re very open to any suggestions and it doesn’t just feel like a piece of software. There’s a lot more support that Class offers us in being able to do a good job for us and our clients.”
Using Class Super has enabled H&R Block to launch its SMSF division with a small team and to maintain an efficient structure as it grows. Key to this has been automating as many operations as possible. “You very quickly see the cost savings and the efficiencies
your staff can gain out of using Class as opposed to other software,” she says.
As the practice grows, Kimberlee is also finding Class’s reporting functions useful in gaining an in-depth understanding of the business and its clients and funds.
Compelling client offer
One of H&R Block’s key market differentiators is offering clients fixed prices for taxr eturns. By using Class Super, it has been able to extend this proposition to SMSF administration and give clients fixed, competitive pricing for relatively comprehensive services.
“What I like about Class is the flat pricing arrangement. That makes it very easy to understand and allows us to operate on a similar basis with our clients,” says Kimberlee.
H&R Block has also found its use of Class Super to be attractive to clients, many of whom have heard of the software or become accustomed to its easy-to-follow reporting interface. “We would have clients ask us, ‘Do you use Class?’” says Kimberlee.
Depth of data
In addition to daily direct-connect data feeds from more than 180 banks, brokers and wraps, H&R Block appreciates Class’s ability to provide automatic property valuations and actuarial certificates.
“Trying to tell clients that they have to go out and get valuations each year is a nightmare,” says Kimberlee. “The fact that you can provide that with the click of a button really allows us to give value to the client very quickly.”
Kimberlee’s team has also found Class’s access to historical share market and managed fund data and corporate actions information invaluable in serving clients who are behind in their SMSF compliance.
“We have a high number of clients who come to us with multiple years of lodgements outstanding and things like that,” she says. “All the historical data that Class has access to has certainly helped us deal with those funds.”