Learning Curve | Bay tax guru has it all figured out
Loyson is a finalist in a national competition honouring top chartered accountants under 35
He moved from an international firm to lecturing and then running his own business but tax has always been Richard Loyson’s passion.
Now the owner of Loyson Consulting is a finalist in a national competition honouring the country’s top chartered accountants under the age of 35.
Can you give me some background on yourself and the business?
I studied at the former University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University), where I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and completed my articles. During this time, I also completed my masters degree in tax.
After this I left PwC and joined NMU as senior lecturer from 2011 to 2016.
I started Loyson Consulting in 2011 – in conjunction with lecturing. In 2016 I left the university to focus on tax consulting full-time. I still do ad hoc tax lectures for post-graduate students.
I present for the Deloitte School of Tax and Legal, delivering the latest tax developments countrywide. Tax law is ever-changing and every week there are new issues and developments that arise. What is your core service? Tax consulting and tax planning for medium to large businesses, as well as individuals. We also focus on tax technical updates which we present countrywide.
What made you move from a Big Four auditing firm to lecturing and owning a small business?
I just love the technical side of tax legislation and assisting clients in obtaining their final goal, which is mostly wealth optimisation from tax planning.
I really enjoy passing on knowledge to students and clients, and I think that’s the part that really assists me in keeping up to date with the new legislation.
Where did the idea come from to start your own business?
I have always been interested in running my own business. This, coupled with my passion for taxation, led me to open my own tax consulting business – and I haven’t looked back.
What makes your business unique?
We focus on client relations and getting to know the clients’ requirements and business, and applying those strategies to ensure that their goals are achieved. Individual attention, and offering up-to-date, technically correct tax advice, are big drivers in our business.
How do you measure success in your business?
Relations with clients and growing our client base are key goals that we strive to maintain and continuously improve.
Relations and communications with SARS officials are also important factors in the success of our business.
We represent a large number of clients countrywide on tax technical matters at SARS, and favourable outcomes for our clients are important factors we measure.
What does an average day at Loyson Consulting entail?
An average day consists of meeting with clients with a potential tax issue and assessing if they have been treated fairly by SARS. If not, we would engage with SARS and amicably resolve the matter.
The process is a lengthy one which requires the drafting of opinions, meeting with SARS officials and keeping the client updated with the process.
What drew you to tax?
It has always intrigued me. It’s a very topical issue and presents itself with a number of challenges.
I really like the challenge that tax legislation brings. Tax law is complex and to ensure that the best structure has been achieved really interests me.
What are some highlights in running your business?
Being recognised by your clients as a trusted adviser and strategic partner. I have had the privilege to have a wide client base, including listed entities.
I regularly deal with leading tax experts in the country and have advised on the tax implications of transactions in excess of billions of rands.
Tell me more about the Saica Top 35 under-35 awards, in which you are a finalist.
Saica (SA Institute of Chartered Accountants) run a Top 35 under-35 competition and I’ve been selected as one of the finalists countrywide, which is a great achievement for me.
I spend a significant amount of time making sure I’m up to date and I have good relations with leading tax experts in the country, and, just to know that I’ve been recognised as one of the leading tax consultants feels very good.
I was nominated by a colleague, a retired professor from NMU. We will be having the first round of interviews in the beginning of August, with the winner being announced in September.
What are some of the most common tax-related mistakes that businesses make?
There are a number of incentives that the government has included in the Income Tax Act which, in my opinion, taxpayers are not taking advantage of. One of the incentives that is often overlooked is the application of the small business rules applicable to companies.
The government is encouraging small businesses by offering a reduction in taxes and accelerated allowances on assets.
Another incentive that is often overlooked is bursaries awarded to relatives of employees by the employer. This is a generous provision and is included in the Income Tax Act.
What kind of advertising do you do?
We rely on word-of-mouth. We have a website and receive a number of queries from the site, but generally if you do good work for one company, it just filters through [by] word-of-mouth.
How many people do you employ?
There are five of us, including myself. We have an attorney who specialises in tax, an office administrator, a bookkeeper and my wife, Claire. She is also a chartered accountant.
Do you have any plans for expanding the business?
We’d like to have an office in Johannesburg, but at the moment we’re managing our Johannesburg clients remotely.
What do you think makes Port Elizabeth ideal for running a business?
I grew up in PE. I’ve lived in PE all my life and I won’t leave; I’ll go to Johannesburg weekly or monthly, but I won’t move. There are many opportunities here, and there’s a lot of room for growth for not only local investors, but also international investors.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received about success?
Nothing replaces hard work. Hard work always pays off...