Focus on 'bigger picture'

JUNE 2010

THE end of financial year rigmarole often sees business owners exploring every tax advantage available, but one of the Gold Coast’s oldest financial services firms warns not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Oculus directors Peter Fenton and David de Closely, say the end of financial year often invokes a ‘tax saving’ mentality among small business owners.

“That’s probably a key thing that people fall into this time every year,” says Fenton.

“It’s what we call ‘pub talk’, where people are talking to each other in a social atmosphere and convince that person that this is the tax law. People are going out and making decisions based on this, only to be told that really there is a fairly small advantage in doing so.

“If all they are focused on is ‘I just want to pay no tax’, they are missing the big picture of their business. Tax minimisation things will happen, (the real question is) ‘how can we grow our business to achieve the goals we want to achieve in life’.”

While the Henry Tax Review is the hot topic in the financial world, de Closely says there aren’t many current government concessions for SMEs to take advantage of.

“Really this year is probably one of the worst years for tax planning-type scenarios. Apart from getting rid of dead stock and the strategies that are always in every plan for the end of financial year, the government has stopped other incentives,” he says.

“I’ve told a lot of my clients not to buy machinery and equipment because it was the wrong thing for them to do at the time, even though they would have got a tax deduction for it.”

Coolangatta-based Oculus has been in practise for 63 years, with both directors emphasising the growing need to focus on future goals rather than taxation distractions.

“Growth strategies all come by working together and setting some goals, understanding why we are in business and what we are trying to get out of the business and the growth strategy is different from business to business depending on the goals,” says Fenton

“If people look forward all the time, everything else falls into place.”

De Closely agrees: “The tax will always sort itself out. Some people are quite happy to say ‘I’ll just pay it’ whereas other people want to pay no tax, and you’ll generally find they are focusing on the wrong side of business and they will get the wrong results.”

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