Time to 'kick the tyres' down under, says Australian business expert
Business owners and entrepreneurs aiming to capitalise on the ‘tremendous’ opportunities created by Britain’s free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia are being urged to fly out and ‘kick the tyres’ in their target markets Down Under.
Robert Lissauer, a respected adviser to companies seeking to establish a presence in Australia, told an event hosted by HURST and Barclays that a fact-finding visit should be a fundamental part of a company’s research.
He told the audience, which included senior executives from sectors such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and consumer goods: “Put in place a well-considered plan if you are looking to expand into the Australian marketplace.
“Hop on a plane and go see what’s happening in your markets, see what your competitors are doing and understand the local business dynamic.
“It’s a fundamental part of your research, and will be the best money you have spent.
“Get down there and kick the tyres.”
Robert is a Melbourne-based director at accountancy firm Hall Chadwick who specialises in advising on tax and international business matters.
HURST and Hall Chadwick are both members of PrimeGlobal, a worldwide association of independent accounting and business advisory firms.
Robert was the keynote speaker at the Doing Business in Australia event, which was held at Barclays’ offices in Spinningfields, Manchester.
He said the FTA between the UK and Australia would usher in a tremendous amount of opportunity. Trade between the nations is expected to grow by over 50 per cent over the next 15 years.
The agreement will make obtaining visas to work in Australia easier for UK professionals, will remove tariffs on all UK exports and will give businesses and consumers greater access to competitively-priced goods and services, new technologies and innovative practices.
Robert said the north west would be one of the major beneficiaries. Growth sectors in Australia include healthcare, infrastructure, education, e-commerce, defence, entertainment, technology, scientific and technical services.
Australia is a country of over 26 million people and is the world’s 13th largest economy.
“We punch well above our weight,” said Robert.
He said Australia has a ‘pretty resilient’ economy. In particular, its service and technology sectors are strong and it is thriving as an online marketplace. Australians are ‘early adopters’ and very accepting of new tech and fashion.
He also said Australia benefits from being part of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. He pointed out that, by 2050, two-thirds of global production and consumption will be in the region.
Robert explained that Australia has a strong legal system, which provides the protection a business may need, and a highly-regulated tax and corporate environment. The immigration process involves some administrative work but is not difficult to navigate with a good visa specialist, and setting up a company structure is ‘pretty straightforward’, he added.
Banking can be a little cumbersome due to anti-money laundering and security requirements and checks, and human resources regulations may differ from those in force in the UK.
Robert said it was important for anyone looking to set up an operation in Australia to be aware of on-costs, such as mandatory pension plans for employees.
However, he said a properly-structured venture would find it easy to enter the market and would find it easy to conduct business.
“Australia is such a vibrant marketplace, which is being enhanced because of the free trade agreement,” he said.
“It’s an interesting time with lots of opportunity.”
Simon Brownbill, a partner and director of practice development here at HURST, said: “We already have several clients successfully operating in Australia, many with Robert’s help.
“We are also seeing renewed interest post-FTA, with others seriously contemplating entering this exciting market. Having an expert on hand with a proven track record can make all the difference between success and failure.”
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