Robert Lissauer

Member Article

Australia an ‘ideal gateway’ for UK firms

Australia is an ideal test bed for UK firms seeking to expand into the Asia-Pacific region, business leaders were told at a summit in Manchester.

The country presents the perfect opportunity to try out the wider market and is an easy place in which to conduct business, executives at the event at NatWest’s offices in Spinningfields heard.

Robert Lissauer, a director at Melbourne chartered accountancy firm Sothertons, told the audience that Australia lies at the crossroads of where East meets West, and its population of just over 23 million has a million Chinese speakers.

Mr Lissauer was speaking at the third annual Doing Business in Australia breakfast summit organised by accountancy firm HURST and NatWest.

He told the gathering of representatives from manufacturers, technology businesses, importers and exporters: “People who want to get into Asia-Pacific can come to Australia to test the marketplace, establish themselves and employ people with a background in the languages and understanding of Asia. There’s a compelling argument that it’s a desirable pathway.”

He said Australia is also a good business location in its own right, especially for English speakers. More than 18,000 foreign corporations are currently doing business in Australia.

It is the third largest APAC economy, business confidence is rising and it has a favourable tax climate and research and development concessions, said Mr Lissauer.

He added: “We are very early adopters. It there’s something new, we adopt it, be it in the areas of IT, services or products.

“Furthermore, Australia is a fairly easy place to do business, in terms of establishing a business and carrying on business.”

Mr Lissauer has spent decades helping European and US firms with their entry into the Australian market.

He said many UK companies enter into agency-type agreements when they want to dip their toes in the water.

“When they start to get runs on the board, they want to have a presence there,” he added, pointing out that Australian labour costs are fairly high compared with other parts of the world.

Mr Lissauer stressed the importance of forward planning for firms looking to enter the Australian market.

“Without this, you can waste an awful lot of money. The regulatory environment is pretty straightforward, but there is a strong imperative to make sure taxation is taken care of effectively, that you have the right visas, supply and employment contracts and so on.”

He also emphasised the need to visit the country before taking the plunge.

“Don’t do it remotely – you have to go there, to see and meet and greet people in the industry you are dealing in. It really makes a tremendous difference,” he said.

Paul Brown, a tax partner at HURST who has joined the Greater Manchester firm after six years in Australia with EY, echoed Mr Lissauer’s views.

“Australia is a good location from which to tap into the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. It’s a very easy place to do business, provided you get it right at the start,” said Mr Brown.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by HURST .

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