Thursday, January 8, 2015

Platform vs. Product

Custom Google Spreadsheets
No doubt about it. I’m old school when it comes to my financial planning tool set. I still prefer spreadsheets to out-of-box apps given their flexibility and ease of customization. I still use balance sheets as my primary method of evaluating household assets and liabilities. I’m picky. I like my financial data in format that I can explain to clients.

Recently, I shared my thoughts regarding Koch Capital’s use of web-based Google Spreadsheets for customized financial reporting and client collaboration with Blueleaf’s Carolyn McRae.  Click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Click image to play video

Opening Up the Kimono
Application vendors like Blueleaf and others are starting to open up what traditionally had been proprietary (closed) systems where the vendor dictated what the user sees and how the data can be used. In more open architectures, the user can retrieve and use the data in ways the vendor may or may not currently envision. Essentially, power is being returned to the user as more and more application vendors seek Apple iTunes-like eco-systems where client-initiated apps run alongside the standard vendor implementations.

Developing a simple integration from Google Spreadsheets to Blueleaf using a straightforward, web-based application interface is the next step in improving product functionality and strengthening the vendor-user relationship. I just hope more financial application vendors get with the program.

Your humble geek advisor…….Jim

Additional Resources for the Intrepid

GoogleFinance() Function Description and Available Attributes:

Google Spreadsheet Complete Function List:

Google Apps Script Tutorials:

Blueleaf API Documentation:

Google Script Snippet for Blueleaf Integration:
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About Jim Koch
Jim Koch is the Founder and Principal of Koch Capital Management, an independent State Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in the San Francisco Bay Area. He specializes in providing customized financial solutions to individuals, families, trusts and business entities so they are better able to achieve their goals. Jim sees himself as an “implementer” of financial innovation, using state-of-the-art technology to provide practical investment management and retirement planning solutions for clients.

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