Six weeks into his new role as chief executive of Class, Andrew Russell has announced plans to build a range of accounting and financial planning products outside its traditional SMSF administration stable.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, Mr Russell said the firm sees itself as a “first-class technology business” and is currently working on developing a product road map for the next three years.
“We’ve had a tremendous beginning in the self-managed super fund area, but we see ourselves as a first-class technology business and we are going to expand from that footprint into other areas in our ecosystem,” Mr Russell said.
“We’ve had a very good start in developing the Class Super product and we also have the Portfolio product, but what else can we do using technology and automation solutions to help people within our ecosystem of accountants, financial planners and administrators to remove pain points out of their operations?”
In its bid to develop a new suite of products, Class will partner with mid-tier accounting network Findex, with plans to automate and simplify trust accounting requirements among other services.
“We haven’t defined what our product set will be. We will certainly know once we are working with an industry leader and to understand their problems that we can use technology and automation to solve and remove pain points out of their back office,” Mr Russell said.
“That’s why we think this partnership will be very beneficial both for Findex and for us to provide innovative technology solutions to the market following this partnership.
“Some of the areas will be discovered further when we have a closer relationship with Findex to actually understand where the industry is going, how are their economics impacting their ability to deliver services to their customers and how can the use of innovative technology allow that service to be better.”
SMSF ‘still a core’
Mr Russell said Class’ move to diversify its product offerings should not be viewed as a distraction from its SMSF offerings, reassuring clients that it would still remain a focus for the firm.
“I don’t think there will be any concerns because we’ll continue to focus on the core because that’s what got us to where we are and that will be a major contributor to our ongoing success,” he said.
“But we’ve got to broaden our horizons and expand our technology capabilities into other areas where we can help clients in our ecosystem to also use technology in their automation of their back offices, as we have in the SMSF space.
“What we’re trying to build is a Class suite where we can have a product in the SMSF space, and where we can have a number of different products in both the accounting and financial planning space that will help automate back offices.”