If your SMSF is invested heavily into shares, one of the first things you’ll notice when you start your SMSF is the huge amount of mail your fund will be receiving every week. At first you’ll be eager to open every one of them, but the novelty will quickly wear off as the amount of mail and paperwork increases.
Depending on your broker (online or otherwise) you’ll receive a letter every time you buy or sell shares, a welcome letter from each company you’ve invested in, annual reports, dividend statements, notices of general meetings and other special announcements or offers.
When you’re receiving dozens of letters every month, it’s easy to put all letters addressed to your SMSF into a big pile to be worried about later. After all, aren’t they all just notices that mean nothing to the average SMSF holder?
Of course much of the mail received by your SMSF will just be notices that require no action, but there will be plenty of items that you WILL want to see straight away!
In order to reduce the paperwork of your SMSF you should be electing to receive your dividends via direct deposit (or dividend reinvestment if you wish) and your dividend statements electronically.
But no matter how hard you try to keep your direct debit details up to date, if you are buying an selling shares regularly there are bound to be companies that will fall between the cracks.
You need to check all of the mail for your SMSF just in case you have dividends arriving via cheque. After all, what’s the good of dividend cheques sitting in a pile on your desk? You need to get those amounts into your cash account so you can start earning interest for your SMSF or reinvesting the amounts.
Do your best to keep adding your direct debit details every time you buy shares in a different company, but still be careful to check your SMSF mail for any dividend cheques and payments that slip through.
For the average SMSF holder, reading every annual company report is simply out of the question. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as not having enough time, not having the financial knowledge to understand them properly, or simply not caring too much as long as the share prices are going up!
If you don’t plan on reading the annual reports, then you should elect to receive your annual reports via email. This has the triple benefit of saving on SMSF paperwork, saving more trees from being cut down, and saving the company printing and posting costs.
Any documents that can be received electronically will save you from unnecessary SMSF paperwork. If you use an online SMSF audit provider, they will generally require the documentation electronically anyway, so receiving your paperwork electronically will save you the hassle of scanning each document yourself.
Running an SMSF can be a time consuming process, so by reducing the paperwork associated with your SMSF you can spend less time shuffling papers and more time concentrating on your investment strategy and growing your retirement fund.