There are four common business structures to choose from; sole trader, partnership, company or trust.

The structure you choose will significantly affect your business’ legal and operational risk, asset protection, tax obligations, legal costs and clientele.

You can change structures to accommodate the growth of your business, but changing legal structures can often be very complex. It is important to think carefully early on about which structure is the right one for your business and best reflects your goals for the future.

Types of Different Business Structures

Sole Trader 
– Partnership
– Company
– Trust

Deciding on a Business Structure

When starting a business one of the first things you should consider is which structure is going to have the best long-term benefits and reflects your future goals. You will need to think carefully about:

  • the type of business you are going to run,
  • its risk profile,
  • plans for growth,
  • the involvement of others, and
  • how to come to decisions.

Each structure has different upfront and ongoing costs. A sole trader is the cheapest to establish, and more complicated structures, such as a trust with corporate trustee incur higher legal set up costs along with government fees.

The way that tax affects the different business structures will also factor into your decision.

The profits made by sole trader businesses are considered personal income and are taxed as such.

Companies pay, generally, 27.5% tax on their income but must keep financial records up to date and lodge annual tax returns and reports to ASIC.

Using a trust structure may allow you to plan your tax, by streaming distributions to beneficiaries on lower tax rates.

Key Issues

Are the costs of setting up and maintaining each structure realistic for your business’ type, size and the potential for growth?

What are the tax advantages/disadvantages of each structure?

How can different structures help with asset protection and personal liability?

What documents you will need to set up each structure.

 For more information about structuring your business, contact us today



There are many sources of business risk. When starting your business it’ important you understand there are certain risk events you can control and other events you can’t.

Changes in government legalisation or adverse weather conditions (drought, flood, tornado etc) are examples of risk events outside your control. Operating a business free of risks is limited to managing risk events you can control.

Minimizing business risk
Identifying and managing risk is an integral component of building a successful small business. It would be impossible to remove risk from all situations but you can take steps to remove or reduce your business risk. The process for minimizing business risk is listed below.

1. Identify Risk
2. Avoid
3. Minimise
4. Transfer
5. Manage or retain

To minimize business risk, small business owners need to implement effective risk management strategies into their business.

This is a simple process of identifying what is a possible risk event, grading the event and then designing a strategy to minimize, manage or remove the risk, the latter being the most preferred.

Where to start: completing a risk management checklist to minimize your business risk, start by completing a risk management checklist.

Purchasing business insurance is one way of reducing business risk. When purchasing insurance make sure that you have sufficient cover in place to meet your current and future requirements. 

Types of business insurance required by small business owners

  • General Risk and Life
  • Business Disruption Buy/Sell
  • House, Vehicle and
  • Personal Goods
  • Income Protection
  • Key Person
  • Property Life
  • Public Liability Total and Permanent
  • Disability
  • Work Cover Trauma

Outsource your risk management strategy.
Your financial advisor is best positioned to provide you with risk management advice.

Every small business is different. That’s why discussing your requirements with a specialist will help you develop a tailored risk management strategy for your business ensuring you are well on the way to building a business that actively and successfully manages its business risks and gives itself the best chance of succeeding in its core business strategy.


Congratulations! You have recently become a small business owner or maybe have an opportunity to start a business. It’s now time for a reality check!

Australian Government statistics provide a stark insight into business failures in Australia: somewhere between 50% and 75% of businesses fail within 3 to 5 years of their commencement.

Obtaining professional advice and preparing a realistic business plan will significantly reduce the risk of your business failing.

1. Business Planning
Having an effective business plan increases the odds of your business succeeding from one chance out of three, to four chances in five.

In other words, most businesses with realistic business plans succeed. A business plan will help you objectively analyse your business opportunity, pin point critical success factors for you to succeed, forces you to consider the threats to your business, confirms the demand for your products and/or services and documents goals and targets for you to achieve within achievable time-frames.

However, it is just as important when preparing and implementing your business plan that you source independent professional advice to assist you with the process required

2. Independent Professional Advice
Sourcing professional advice is essential for your business to succeed.

Not only will your professional advisers help you to complete and implement your business plan but they will also help you navigate through the maze of complex issues you face when starting a business.

The table below provides examples of professional support and advice you will most probably need when starting your business. 

3. Appointing your Most Trusted Adviser
Most small business owners prefer to have their business affairs managed by one adviser: their Most Trusted Adviser.

Appointing your Most Trusted Adviser means you will have one adviser co-ordinating the management of your business affairs.

It enables you to focus on what is most important for your business’ survival: new customers, growth, pricing etc.

Your Accountant or  Financial Adviser is usually best positioned to take on this key support role. Here are some tips when selecting your Most Trusted Adviser.

 Does your adviser provide both business and financial services advice?
 Has your adviser won awards for providing business and financial services advice?
 Can your adviser provide you with small business references of prior success?
 Is your adviser licensed to provide advice?
 Is your adviser a small business specialist?

Preparing a business plan and appointing a most trusted adviser are the business tactics of winners!

Taking time out to plan and receiving targeted advice may mean the difference between your business not only surviving but thriving.

It’s vital to seek personalised advice about you business and asset protection. OnPoint Advisory specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for medical professionals. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.

business, strategy

A Service Trust is a must for doctors and health experts who want to reduce risk and protect their assets.

Medical professionals are looked at with high esteem within society, as we all look for a healthy and long life. However, this brings with it costs at times, and often medical professionals find themselves as targets for litigation.

A person’s health is serious business. If something goes wrong in a medical setting, someone usually must take the blame. As medical professionals usually make a substantial amount of money, the chances of a lawsuit are increased.

It means that for doctors and health experts, protecting your assets is absolutely essential. It can only take one lawsuit to have devastating result to your wealth.

Is Insurance Enough?

Insurance is an essential part of business for all professionals and is more substantial to those in the medical profession than most other professions. At the very least medical professionals should have basic and efficient insurance. This is usually compulsory for medical professionals.

If a medical professional owns property, they should have building and contents insurance. They should also have public liability, cyber attack, business and medical indemnity insurance. But, is just having insurance enough?

Insurance companies have an obligation to generate profits for their shareholders, and unfortunately settling claims does not always serve this purpose. This regrettably means other measures need to be put in place to have sufficient  and effective protection over assets. This is where the Service Trust comes into play.

Trust the Trust

When a medical professional owns their medical practice, their name is usually tied to their Medicare number; thus, their business is under their name. However, their assets outside of their business should be held under someone else’s name – spouse, child, sibling, etc. This is where you split the risk and the assets – the person with the risk should not hold the assets.

The next step for a medical professional is to establish a Service Trust, lessening future risk and allowing for the efficient system to pay staff members and rent premises. The service fee – typically 30-40% of the Doctors billings – produces profit for the trust. This can then be distributed to family, or other beneficiaries. The ATO have benchmarks for Service Fees. Anything outside of the benchmark will need to be justified to the ATO under an audit.

If a medical professional is looking to acquire a property, it is wise to set up a property trust with a corporate trustee. However, the medical professional should make his/her spouse (or another trusted person) the director of the trustee company, and the sole named beneficiary. This allows for assets to be protected under the medical professional’s benefactor’s name in the case of an unfortunate event.

Only for Steady Relationships

In most cases, assets are owned in the names of both parties in a marriage. However, for medical professionals, it is highly recommended to keep assets, especially real estate, in the spouse’s name. If the medical professional and his/her spouse both can attest that their property is their primary residence, then it will be capital gains exempt.

Now you can see why it is so important that medical professionals keep their assets in their spouse’s (or other deeply trusted person) name, and not their own.

Nonetheless, although highly recommended, the stability of the relationship will really decide whether this method is effective or not.

It’s vital to seek personalised advice about Service Trusts and asset protection. OnPoint Advisory specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for medical professionals. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.



A budget is the key to success for any business. And for a medical practice or business in the allied health industry, it’s no different.


Putting together a budget should be an annual exercise, but many medical practices never establish one, or if they do, never look at it again, deeming the entire budgeting process useless.


Medical practices like these will face many problems from supply waste (including underutilised rooms), inadequate savings, staffing shortages or being over staffed, and that’s just the beginning.


An effective budget will mean great things for your business and create a better practice overall. But what is an effective budget and how do you begin putting it together?

What to include in your practice budget?

Budgets involve the allocation of financial resources and should be developed as part of the practice’s strategic (long-term) and business plan (one year).

There are four key elements to a budget:

  • Income forecast;
  • Expense budget;
  • Profit and loss budget; and
  • Cash flow budget

So how do you go about putting it all together? With a few important steps.

Step 1: Track your expenses

Your budget doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Just start by simply tracking your practice expenses.

Many Doctors and allied health professionals, along with many other professions, are not taught at University how to budget for their business. They don’t know the costs associated with their business, much less what they should be.

Start by listing every single expense associated with your business, and putting these into categories, detailing them as much as possible. Depending on the practice, the number of expenses and categories will differ. If you are unsure, talk to your business advisor to check that you have thought of them all.

Once you’re clear on all your expenses, you can begin tracking them.

Step 2: Use budgeting benchmarks

The next step is to use the list of expenses you have created and build a budget for your practice.

So, What is benchmarking? It’s when you compare key points from your business with other in a similar position. This is typically done by obtaining national or regional family practice overhead statistics for each category in your List of Expenses and then adjusting those benchmarks to suit your practice.

Step 3: Regularly compare your actual expenses with your budget

A budget serves no purpose if you don’t periodically compare your practice’s actual income and expenses with your budget and make necessary changes.

To use your budgets effectively, you will need to review and revise them frequently. This is particularly true if your business is growing and you are planning to move into new areas.


Are you a medical professional who needs help putting together a budget for your Queensland practice? We can help.


At OnPoint Advisory, we have over 25 years’ experience in working with doctors and allied health professionals and can help you put together a budget for your practice. We take the time to get to know our clients so that can you feel confident with us.

Contact us and book an appointment to discuss your practice budgeting needs today.