Castletons is a small, two-partner firm located in the north western suburbs of Sydney, Australia and is living proof that making yourself known within the vast IAPA network gives you every chance of obtaining good quality referral work from numerous sources around the globe.
We have been members of IAPA since 1988 but only attended conferences every two or three years for about fifteen years or more and received almost no referral work at all. We did not have a real “active profile” within IAPA – you could say that Castletons, Wayne Price (myself) and Tony Hackett (my business partner) were “recognised” within IAPA but not really “known”.
So, around 2005 we decided to attend every annual meeting – usually only one of us, but sometimes both. I also became involved in a few IAPA sub-committees, and when a new Regional Group of Asia Pacific was created within IAPA in 2009, I was elected as Vice Chairman. That position was retained for 3 years followed by a further 3 years as Chairman, which also involved being a member of the IAPA International Board.
During the years from 2005 onward it is fair to say that Castletons as a firm and myself as an individual and participant have become well “known” throughout IAPA. Also, both Tony and I (and our wives) have made many real and lasting friendships among the wonderful group of people who comprise IAPA.
And, from around 2007 we started receiving referral work from a few IAPA members and this has continued to grow significantly to where IAPA referrals are now quite a reliable part of our new business growth each year, and in most years the revenue received from overall referrals (ie: old and new referrals) has increased from the previous year.
The majority of our inward referrals have been for client companies of IAPA members who want to expand their global business activities by setting up in Australia. We help those clients determine just how they want to set their operations up in Australia and “hold their hand” through the initial establishment phase helping them in many ways. But one of the most common starting points soon after setup is to process their Australian payroll and make sure all employment related legislation and requirements are fully complied with. This usually leads to processing local accounting records and providing monthly reports to the foreign management personnel, and eventually to producing annual financial accounts and income tax return and associated items. Do a good job for these referred clients and they become very good clients for your own business!!
We have developed an information leaflet titled “Foreign Owned Corporations – A Guide to Establishing Your Business Operations in Australia” which we usually send in response to an initial inquiry. This give essential detail and some local insight to help the foreign owners obtain an immediate understanding of the fundamental business requirements in Australia and makes it much easier for them to make the choice of how to setup – it also pinpoints some pitfalls and areas where there will most likely be longer delays in establishing parts of the setup and how we can assist them during that process and beyond.
Other referral work, of course, includes taxation advice and the preparation of Australian income tax returns for individual clients of IAPA members who have been employed in Australia, are transferred here for a period of time, have Australian related investments or have emigrated here permanently.
Like most good things, the referral work inflow does not just happen overnight – you need to create a platform for it to be built upon. That platform can be largely created simply by becoming an active IAPA member.
Our experience shows that if you are a relatively inactive member of IAPA you need to be very lucky (In the right place at the right time) to obtain worthwhile referral work. But if you become an “active” and “participatory” member your chances of receiving regular and rewarding referral work increases exponentially.
We have received various inward referral work from firms in the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, USA and Canada.
I would highly recommend taking an active role in your IAPA membership.
Good luck to you all.