40 – Staff uniforms

Terry and Jerry are married and run a small financial planning and accounting practice in rural Queensland. Jerry is a Dover adviser. They have eight office staff ranging from experienced CPAs to school leaver receptionists. Their practice is growing and they are always keen to try new ideas that can help make a good thing bettter.

Terry and Jerry are good at tax planning. They are also good at marketing, and enjoy presenting an image of quiet professionalism to their mostly small business clientele. They like their staff. Many are friends. They are keen to make sure their employees’ reward from working in the practice is as tax efficient as possible.

A uniform experience

They decided to spare their staff the cost of work place clothing and at the same time create a more corporate look in their office. They introduced a compulsory uniform, including pants, skirts, shirts, coats and shoes. They skipped on the ties: this is 2016 and it is FNQ. Its a nice blue mix and its getting great reviews. The staff like its simplicity and the convenience of knowing what they have to wear every day.

The cost to them is about $10,000 a year tax deductible ie about $1,000 per employee plus the two of them. This includes dry-cleaning (Terry and Jerry pay for the dry-cleaning to be done down the street: the owner is now a client). but it saves considerably more than this because:

  1. most of the staff spent considerably more in the pre-uniform days and
  2. work place clothing that is not protective or compulsory is usually not deductible for the employee.

The overall saving is thought to be more than $16,000 a year not tax deductible. Spend $10,000 tax deductible to save $16,000 not tax deductible is a great return on investment, and its a great conversation starter with their new small business clients.

Plus they have a happier staff who like their new, uniform, corporate look.

Terry and Jerry are not the only ones keen to improve their employee’s style and sense of togetherness: The real reason Steve Jobs wore turtlenecks.

The Dover Group