Expert reveals key challenges facing professional practice

Paul Banister says the tax summit promises to be the largest tax-focused event we've had in Australia. Anyone who's in tax should be there.

Every year, professional practice income and structuring frequently surface as key challenges for tax professionals. Subscription-based models, investments in AI, plus legal and regulatory changes affecting structures and incomes are just the tip of the iceberg of what lies ahead across the professional practice landscape.

We speak with Paul Banister, CTA and Partner at Grant Thornton, about the issues every tax practitioner should consider in order to ‘future-proof’ their professional practice ahead of The Tax Summit 2020.

Knowing where to look for answers

With over 30 years’ experience in resolving commercial and risky tax issues with clients, Paul holds expertise in a wide array of issues affecting businesses and their owners. Awarded the SME Tax Adviser of the Year award in 2016 by The Tax Institute, Paul is the Chair of the Professional Practice stream at The Tax Summit and a member of its Program Committee.

“During a time of rapid growth and evolving economies and structures, regulators are under pressure to instigate the necessary reforms, which often means practitioners can be overwhelmed with questions and challenges,” he says. But there’s no way that everyone is going to know everything, so it’s important to know where to look when seeking answers. Ask questions, look for different perspectives on things and embrace a culture of collaborating with clients and regulators.”

He suggests the session, ‘When is professional practice income alienable?’, is critical for deepening a practitioner’s knowledge of this timely subject.

“This presentation, run by Brian Richards, CTA of Richards Advisory, examines what case law says about when professional practice income can be alienated to entities other than the individual professional in the light of rules of practice and ethical guidelines.” he says. “This session will remind us that we should never jump straight to a conclusion – there’s more than 50 years of case authorities that tell us so!”

This session will consider issues such as:

  • The case law, from Peate through the “doctor’s cases”, i.e. Gulland, Watson and Pincus, and beyond
  • What are the key features to look out for
  • Does size matter and from what perspectives
  • How does Part IVA affect alienation of professional practice income

“There's always a practical takeaway from every session. I anticipate the learnings will be quite profound and you’ll learn to change the way you approach things,” says Paul.

Current framework for structuring a professional practice

To identify the current framework for structuring a professional practice, it's necessary to understand that due to many influences, there are so many varied approaches to structuring professional practices.

According to Paul, the session, ‘What is the current framework for structuring professional practices?’, presented by John Ioannou, CTA of Deloitte Private, is set to consider those influences and how they should apply in current circumstances including:

  • Commissioner’s rulings and other statements - to what extent are they, or have they been, aligned with the current law
  • Everett assignments - how useful and effective are they now
  • Service entities - yes, no or maybe?
  • Road testing the current environment, i.e. dealing with variable profit allocations where there are multiple professionals

“I really enjoyed designing this stream and look forward to seeing this particular topic discussed by the audience this year,” Paul adds. “There will be opportunities to problem solve, ask questions, present your ideas, plus learn so much beyond the doors of your practice.”

find out  more about the tax summit by clicking here.

The future framework for professional practice

“To build a resilient professional practice framework amid changes such as the disruption of technology, professional practices will need to rethink the current framework”, Paul says. For example, dealing with technological changes like machine learning will just be the start; annuity or subscription-based models that are emerging in some practices will ultimately transform the approach to recovering value in the decade ahead.

The session, ‘How should professional practices be structured in the future?’ presented by Greg Travers, CTA, Director of William Buck, will uncover issues that can arise from transitioning from a current framework including:

  • What structures should be favoured to accommodate the future
  • Whether the professions need their own tax guidelines
  • How effective is the current ATO approach likely to be in the future and what needs to change

“The Tax Summit is extremely exciting, the content has been designed to be very comprehensive, with lots of great speakers, covering key issues faced by tax practitioners ahead,” Paul adds. “I think it provides for an all-round experience that’s essential to deepening one’s knowledge and growth. Plus, it’s designed so everyone can have a lot of fun, in a great city and venue.”

Importantly, The Tax Summit provides opportunities to connect with others and hear from great tax leaders and regulators. According to Paul, it’s a great way to meet new people and be inspired and energised by those who are seriously passionate about tax.

“This event promises to be the largest tax-focused event we’ve ever had in Australia. Anyone who’s in tax should be there!”

Don’t miss your chance to deepen your knowledge at The Tax Summit

Discover over 60 sessions delivered by local and global tax experts, across SME, Corporate and Hot Topic streams.

The Tax Summit also includes keynote sessions from the biggest and brightest minds in tax, 90+ speakers, interactive workshops and four new streams: Professional Practice, Emerging Leaders, International and Technology.

With over 1,000 attendees against the stunning harbourside backdrop of the ICC in Sydney, The Tax Summit is the unmissable opportunity to network, refine your skills and take your career to the next level.

Don’t get left behind. Register for The Tax Summit 2020 today.

Register now.


See all

Follow Us