Online tax service offers money management27 May 2008

An online tax service run by a family of UQ Business School graduates celebrates its 10th anniversary this year by launching products for low-income earners. Scott Griffin, 28, joined forces with his brother Kent, 27, and their father Don, 58, to start Etax Accountants in 1998. Scott and Kent both have dual Commerce / Science degrees from UQ and Don completed an MBA at UQ Business School in the 1980s. Scott has also recently completed a Law degree at UQ and an MBA at Harvard. "We created the Etax website to provide an easy way for people to complete their tax return and have it checked over by an accountant without having to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege," Scott Griffin said. At the time of its launch, Etax was Australia's only company offering a complete online tax return service. It now has 13 competitors, but remains Australia's leading online tax advice provider. "We have come a long way from 1998, having doubled our client base every year for the past two years," Griffin said. "I think people are busy and if you can go online and click through and start to have a dialogue with a financial advisor or planner straight away, versus having to take time out of work, get in your car, drive 20 minutes and go for an appointment, it is just more convenient," he said. Two years ago, Etax started offering added financial services such as home loans, insurance and salary packaging after being amazed at the uptake of its core business. Now, as the company approaches its 10-year anniversary, it is looking at a number of 'back to basics' offerings to help its low-income clients. "It may sound simple, but there are a lot of people finding it difficult to cope with basic money management and to forgo the short-term gain in favour of the greater long-term benefit," Griffin said. "Every one has a doctor, everyone has a dentist and everyone should have an accountant but they don't. People accept they don't have the skills to fix a broken leg or fill a cavity but not everyone has the skills to manage a budget either and yet people try and muddle through. "We feel that one of the best and simplest ways Etax can make a positive impact on the world is to help people on low incomes to manage their money and the way to help them at a low cost is over the internet." Griffin said the initiatives would be launched in July to coincide with Etax Accountants' anniversary celebrations.
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