Doing Business in Australia

Ecovis Clark Jacobs has extensive experience assisting foreign companies to establish their Australian operations. We provide expert advice regarding local economic, financial, legislative and competitive pressures, and ensure that all aspects of your business are fully compliant with Australian regulations.

Starting a Business in Australia

When establishing a new business in Australia there are numerous matters to consider.

The most common business structures in Australia adopted by parent entities are either a branch of the foreign parent company or a separate Australian subsidiary company, the choice of which depends on the specific circumstances of the foreign business. In either case, Australia’s corporate law requires the appointment of a local resident to act as either a local agent/officer for the branch, or a director for the company.

This requirement can be a major hurdle if you have no contacts in Australia willing to take on this role, because as a resident director Australia expects significant commitment, which brings with it certain liabilities and legal exposure.

How Can Ecovis Clark Jacobs Help?

Ecovis Clark Jacobs currently provides Australian resident director services for several of our foreign clients from around the world including the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel and NZ. We assist in the full business lifecycle, providing tax, accounting, and related business services as an add-on to the resident directorship, including:

  • Arranging establishment of the subsidiary company with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC);
  • Registering the subsidiary company with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for a Tax File Number (TFN), Australian Business Number (ABN), Goods and Services Tax (GST), Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYG);
  • Liaising with our bookkeeping arm (ECJ Online) to set up your accounting systems and/or advise on use of your own system for Australian purposes;
  • Acting as your accountants in Australia, providing advice on your monthly/quarterly/annual tax and accounting compliance and reporting obligations under Australian tax legislation, and managing these on your behalf;
  • Providing full outsourced payroll, accounts payable/receivable services;
  • Providing advice on options available to minimise regulatory reporting and lodgement requirements where requested and appropriate (e.g. possible audit exemption);
  • Providing strategic advice and support for the growth of your Australian operations where requested and appropriate;
  • Providing independent and unbiased advice on the performance of the local business and employees where requested and appropriate; and
  • Doing everything reasonably possible to ensure that the non-resident directors of the subsidiary have complete control over the Australian operations.

“By appointing David Conley as resident director of our Australian business we were assured that all bases were being covered.”

Why Choose Ecovis Clark Jacobs?

As Australian ‘locals’ we have the knowledge, expertise and contacts to enable your Australian venture to be set-up and running in the shortest possible timeframe.

International Support

Our international network gives us easy access to advice concerning the interaction of Australian tax with your home jurisdiction, if required.

Local Knowledge

In addition to our own tax, accounting and related advisory skills, we can introduce further expertise via our network of lawyers, banks/lenders, insurers, valuers, translators…whatever you require.

How To Start The Process

When you first make contact with us we will have many questions. As the role of a resident director in Australia involves personal liabilities and risks for the individual involved, we have specific information, documentation and insurance requirements that must be satisfied, including:

  • We need to understand as much as possible about your Australian business, its history (if any), its plans, the scope of activities, interaction with the parent company, etc. We will liaise with you by email and phone (or in person if you are visiting Australia), to make sure we each have all the information we need, and to ensure we are comfortable with you and you are comfortable with us;
  • We will provide you with a Deed of Access and Indemnity which you will need to review and sign;
  • If you do not already have a global D&O Insurance policy in place that covers Australia, we can recommend insurance brokers to obtain this;
  • We will provide contacts for any other specific services you require in Australia.

Meet Our Experts

David Conley _crop

David Conley

David is a Director of the firm and an affiliate of the institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, over 18 years…


Scott Hogan-Smith

Scott is a Director of the firm and has over 16 years of public practice experience in boutique firms in both Perth and Sydney…

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David Conley

David Conley _crop

Qualifications & Registrations

  • Bachelor of Science (Architecture), University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Sydney
  • Masters of Accounting, Macquarie University
  • Postgraduate Diploma of Management
  • Registered Tax Agent
  • Affiliate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

David Conley

David is a Director of the firm with over 20 years’ experience in tax and business consulting. Prior to joining the firm David worked with Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PwC and several boutique firms, specialising in Indirect Tax.

At Ecovis Clark Jacobs David enjoys the greater depth and personal involvement required in consulting and advising for high-net-worth family groups and SMEs across a diverse range of industries, and their varying structural, taxation and planning issues.

Prior to entering the accounting profession David was an Architect with an international firm, where he gained significant experience in project management on large commercial projects.

David’s varied career has given him a unique perspective and an understanding that irrespective of one’s profession, the common factors of tailored, client-focussed and practical problem-solving, are the key to adding value and meeting clients’ needs.

By appointing David Conley as resident director of our Australian business we were assured that all bases were being covered. As David and his team guided us through the various compliance hurdles with ease, we were able to focus on the new business opportunities that had brought us to Australia in the first place. David has contributed considerably, in a calm and efficient way, to our positive experience here.

Scott Hogan-Smith


Qualifications & Registrations

  • Bachelor of Commerce, Murdoch University
  • Master of Applied Taxation, University of New South Wales
  • Chartered Accountant, Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • CPA, Member of CPA Australia
  • Chartered Tax Advisor, Member of the Tax Institute
  • Registered Tax Agent

Scott Hogan-Smith

Scott is a Director of the firm and has over 16 years of public practice experience in boutique firms in both Perth and Sydney.

A member of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia, Scott has experience in business services, taxation and consulting with particular interests in due diligence, tax effective structuring and working with subsidiaries of multinational companies.

He actively engages with clients in a broad range of industries including high net worth individuals, media, online, dental and legal practices, and government agencies.

Along with extensive experience in Australian Tax matters, Scott also has international experience through an exchange to a large Consulting firm in San Francisco and spent part of his under-graduate degree studying in the United States. This has developed his skills in International Tax and Consulting, along with giving him invaluable experience in the international business environment.

Scott is committed to providing not only outstanding client service but also clear and concise advice to our clients to ensure they not only meet their statutory obligations in Australia, but also see us as a Partner in their businesses growth and development.

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