Meet a member: Bill Keays, Hales Keays Chartered Accountants

“With knowledge comes confidence. If you
get a reputation for knowing what you are talking about, you are on your way.”

Name: Bill Keays, CTA
Company: Hales Keays Chartered Accountants
State: WA
Member since: 2004

Areas of specialty

We work in SME taxation so I tend to focus on
SME-related issues such as business structures, trusts, Div 7A and small
business CGT concessions. I have also done quite a bit of work over the past
few years supporting legal practitioners in disputes, including unravelling
complex structures to assist in determining asset pools for family law

Why are you a member of The Tax Institute?
Initially, I joined because I felt the education
offered was the best available. I joined the Western Australia Education
Committee in 2008, and since then have met and dealt with some of the
pre-eminent people in tax in WA. It has been a great way to make a contribution
while keeping up with the latest developments in tax. I have always liked that
the training is largely presented by local practitioners who are themselves
operating in a similar environment to their audience.

How did you end up in tax?

I fell into it really. I completed two years of a
physics degree at university before deciding that I didn’t really want to be a
career academic, which was probably the most likely outcome at the end of my
studies. I then enrolled in a couple of part-time business units and got
interested in accounting and tax. From there, I joined Price Waterhouse and
spent seven years there before leaving to set up Hales Keays. During my time at
Price Waterhouse, I did SME accounting and tax work, but since setting up in
practice, I have focused more and more on tax.

What are the challenges for tax practitioners
this year?


The reform of Div 7A and the taxation of trusts
are on the horizon, which will be interesting. Tax practitioners in public
practice are also going to feel the squeeze from the ATO in relation to on-time
There will likely be some broader discussion about
the structure of the tax system given recent comments by the government about
the structural deficit in the Budget, and the Commission of Audit report.
In our own practice, we are seeing quite a few
family businesses transitioning from one generation to the next, which is
probably a broader trend with an ageing population. So tax issues around
succession and estate planning will continue to be very important.

Most memorable career moment to date

Probably the decision to jump from the safety of a
Big 4 position into public practice with my colleague, Matthew Hales, in 1998.
We started out with no staff and very few clients. I have learned a lot since
then and I think being in business for yourself makes you a better adviser to
your clients.

How do you relax?

I have three children in primary school who keep
me fairly busy. I like to spend time doing whatever they are doing when I get
the chance, whether it be sport, catching a movie or helping them with their
homework. I play golf once a week and enjoy pretty much all sports (more as a
spectator these days!). Being office-based during the week, I like to spend
time outdoors on the weekends.

Advice to those entering the profession

advice is to go the extra yard to understand and do things properly. With
knowledge comes confidence. If you get a reputation for knowing what you are
talking about, you are on your way.

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