Kim Collins, Tamworth

“I have been a Chartered Accountant for approximately 38 years, 28 of those being as a Principal or Partner in Accountancy Practices.

I have known Bob for 30 of those years in his position as a Chartered Accountant also.

I commenced my first Self Managed Superannuation Fund in June 1984.

When Superannuation Fund Regulations required Self Managed Superannuation Funds to be audited, Bob was appointed as auditor of my Funds.

Over the period that Bob has been auditor of my Self Managed Superannuation Funds I have not only received a Professional Service from him as an auditor but also proactive advice in respect of my role as a Director of the Corporate Trustees of the funds. As a result I have no hesitation in contacting Bob in respect of any query that I may have in respect of Self Managed Superannuation and as such would have no hesitation in recommending Bob as a Self Managed Superannuation Specialist.”

Mark and Janet Barden, Edgeroi NSW

Mark Barden has lived in the Narrabri area of NSW his whole life. Running a broad-acre cropping property alongside his wife Janet, they produce a range of cereals and legumes, including faba beans, durum wheat, chickpeas and canola.

With the help of Bob Locke, founder of Practical Systems Super, Mark and Janet set up their self-managed super fund (SMSF) after Mark experienced a serious motorcycle accident in 2010. This was a turning point in their lives where they decided to take more control of their retirement plans.

“The accident was a life-changer. Prior to the accident, I thought the farm would provide our superannuation. That was my approach. As farmers we tend to put our money back into our farms, and then typically view our farms as our retirement nest egg,” said Mark.

Bob worked hard to help get Mark compensation for his accident, which took five long years. “I thought, if I do eventually get anything out of this, I’d better put it all towards my super now that I’m unable to work on the farm as I did before the accident,” said Mark.

When the compensation finally arrived, Bob helped Mark and Janet set up their SMSF, taking care of the administration, tax and accounting work on their behalf.

More recently Mark and Janet have been using Practical Systems Super to help them have more involvement in the day-to-day management of their SMSF.

“I have always wanted to be more involved in our SMSF, but it was all too hard. At the time when we started our SMSF I might have had a crack at it, but Janet felt more comfortable handing it all over to third-party professionals. But now with Practical Systems Super, I think she’s happy to let me take over!” said Mark.

“Bob and the team have identified a gap for SMSF trustees and if my experience is anything to go by, Practical Systems Super is not only filling that gap, but is making a huge difference to the way SMSF trustees are able to manage their funds.”

Mark added; “Practical Systems Super is a great blend of administrative support and tools coupled with expert, personal service. The team at Practical Systems Super is really approachable; they talk to you on the same level. It’s great to know that I can ring them up and I’ll always speak to the same person who knows my name.

Rosemary Hook, Cowra, NSW

Rosemary Hook runs a sheep property, producing fine wool, near Cowra, NSW. She took over from her parents in 2002. Rosemary’s long-standing relationship with Practical Systems began when she started using the company’s Cashbook software, following a recommendation from a friend.

Using Cashbook helped her manage both her own books and the farm’s accounts. Rosemary subsequently used it to also manage her parents’ financial affairs when they were no longer able to do so themselves. When switching to Practical Systems software, Rosemary felt much more in control of her accounts; “The reports that the software generated were more appealing. They were really simple, they made sense and they kept all my accounts in one place. It was all really straightforward.”

Rosemary also runs her own self-managed super fund (SMSF). When opting for an SMSF, the main driver behind Rosemary’s decision was to have more control over her fund and investments; something that she felt was lacking with traditional retail and industry funds.

“When I first moved to an SMSF it was because I wanted to have more control over where my money was invested. I like to invest ethically; there are particular things I want to support and companies I’d rather not have my money with. It’s something I feel really strongly about. I wanted to be able to make decisions about my own fund, rather than have someone else make them for me,” she said.

Initially, Rosemary used a well-known, specialised SMSF management software program for the accounting work for the fund but soon found it was too difficult to use and stopped using it. However, having been happy with her experience using Cashbook and the consistently high level of service and support from the Practical Systems team, Rosemary was keen to use Practical Systems Super to help with managing her SMSF.

Given the complex nature of SMSFs and the constantly evolving legislative environment, Rosemary previously needed to rely on a number of third-parties to help with compliance and administration. Now Practical Systems Super has put the power back in Rosemary’s hands.

“Cashbook has given me control over my business accounts for many years, and Practical Systems Super is now giving me that same level of control over my SMSF and financial future,” she said.

Rob & Katrina Blomfield, Walcha, NSW

Katrina and Rob Blomfield live in the Walcha area, near Armidale NSW, where they’ve been running a fine wool, lamb and cattle property for the past 40 years. They are currently transitioning to retirement and are in the process of handing the property over to their two sons.

Katrina and Rob have been working with Practical Systems since the company was founded in 1992. They initially used Cashbook to help manage their own accounting as well as the self-managed super fund (SMSF) they shared with their sons. When their sons both got married, Katrina and Rob split the fund to enable their sons and their partners to have their own separate SMSFs. Katrina still manages each of the SMSFs.

Like many people who opt for an SMSF, Katrina and Rob originally set up their own fund because they wanted more control over their superannuation. “Our SMSF has been vital to the strategy of accumulating off-farm assets as part of our family succession planning, and having more control over how we manage it has given us a real sense of ownership over our financial future as a family.”

Katrina manages all investments herself; “I don’t use a fund manager. I make decisions about where to invest based on my own research. Cashbook had an investment register attached within the platform which none of the other solutions I looked at offered at the time. It kept track of all the dividends and interest earned. It just kept tabs of everything really. It’s been really useful for running our own SMSF.”

When Practical Systems Super was introduced with a range of services specifically developed to give more control to trustees, Katrina and Rob began using it for their SMSF.

Katrina believes being the owner of all the data relating to your SMSF is crucial, and one of the key benefits of Practical Systems Super; “When we changed accountants, all our financial records stayed with that accountant. I wasn’t able to get that data back as it was on a different software system. Data ownership is really important. They’re your records, but people aren’t often thinking about what it means to own their own data. I wouldn’t want that to happen to our superannuation.”

“Practical Systems Super keeps all the information attached to our fund together in one place. The audits, the pension payments, it’s just a one-stop shop for people managing their own SMSF. We’re all busy. We’re all time poor. If you’ve got something that’s a one-stop shop and that’s easy to use, well, what else do you want?”

** Katrina Blomfield is a Director at Practical Systems Limited.