bivio, NAIC and me
I just got back from NAIC Chapter Fair in Denver. bivio had a booth there. In preparing for the event, I was forced to reassess bivio's progress in developing its club accounting program. So I hope you will excuse me if I digress for a minute from the usual fascinating discussion of accounting and tax intricacies and talk about my experience with both the NCA and bivio programs.

I became acquainted with the NAIC accounting manual in 1994. I thought it did an exceptional job of explaining a difficult subject. I also thought that it was badly  in need of a revision. I took over my club's books from someone who had been using paper and pencil, and following the manual exactly. I soon had some questions as to why certain things should be so. I asked them first on the CompuServe forum and later on the Investment Club List, sponsored by NAIC. This led to my involvement as a tester, and a 'commentator' [some would say thorn in the side] on the NCA/Easyware product.
 Easyware listened to some of the suggestions, but implementation has been painfully slow. So, when approached by someone new who was developing an accounting product for clubs, I was interested. I became more interested when I learned that they were prepared to listen to suggestions and incorporate them in their product.

I wanted to be very careful about urging people to use bivio before it was at least comparable with the NCA product, and, indeed, I did tell some people, early on, that it was not yet ready for prime time. That point has long since passed. In my not at all humble opinion, bivio has surpassed the NCA product on many fronts. Consider......

With bivio you can edit transactions; you do not have to delete and reenter. bivio has done away with the off-the-books petty cash account. Now all petty cash transactions are part of the books of account. You can have multiple cash and/or broker accounts. Expenses are categorized. bivio has not incorporated NCA's erroneous treatment of allocating return of capital between lots and reporting of distributions in excess of basis. Add to this the fact that equal allocation of expenses, club charitable contributions, and transfers of units between members are all coming. I hope to have a comparison posted on the bivio site soon, which will show these and other improvements.

What's the point of all this? You are bivio users, so you are in the know. Well, imagine my surprise at the genuine excitement of the people at the Denver Fair. There were a lot of treasurers there who had never heard of bivio. Comments like "where were you 3 months ago when we bought an IBM machine because the former treasurer had a Mac", "You mean you had all this information on the Lucent spin off on your web site" were but a few. Why is it that in bivio's back yard in Colorado that so many NAIC people were unaware of the product. Believe me, it's not because the founders of bivio are shrinking violets.

The reason is that NAIC headquarters have not allowed bivio to advertise in Better Investing and they have discouraged chapters from letting bivio make presentations at their events. I think this is wrong, and a real disservice to the NAIC members. I don't ask that NAIC endorse bivio, but I think that any policy that prevents the membership from knowing about a product that might be beneficial is absolutely wrong.

If you happen to agree with my remarks, I would appreciate your letting the powers that be at NAIC know. Of course, if you are not in agreement with these sentiments, please keep it to yourself <g>. You can write to Ken Janke, Bob O'Hara, and/or Don Danko at
P.O. Box 220
Royal Oak, MI 48068

Or Email to
Bob O'Hara
Don Danko

Thanks for listening, and now back to our regular programming.

Rip West
Saint Paul, MN