Automotive - Family Business

Need for transparency and correct information

Deloitte Fiduciaire can play a key role to get behind the wheel and work with you to help set the company’s course.

Over the past few years, the car industry, which after all serves as one of the chief drivers of our economy, has been facing several circumstances, which have had a negative impact on the general continuing growth and development of this sector. Here we are thinking mainly of the general decline of sales in Belgium due to increasing financial uncertainty and its associated steadily growing group of unemployed people, the closure of some big assembly plants (Ford Genk, Opel Antwerp) and various supplier companies. Rising pressure in terms of profitability expectations and profit optimisation on the part of the shareholders of several multinationals is not unfamiliar here.

Possibly, the present outlook does show some light at the end of this dark (car) tunnel and a modest recovery is even being predicted in car sales in the Belgian market. According to the NBB, the average Belgian has enough savings for buying a new car as soon as positive signals are sent to the market. To date, the market for company cars has been ensuring a stable replacement market, and in fact, far more attention is being paid to ‘green’ taxation, often resulting in the range of company cars being offered to employees being downsized. Consequently, the average prices being charged are falling, as too are the profit margins from which the car dealers have to live.

Sadly, the positive note outlined above strikes many private individuals and primarily SME executives as meaningless, if the legislator appears to carry on regarding the car as cash cow. Recent legislative decisions (e.g. VAT treatment of company cars) demonstrate this more. It is therefore vital for SME executives to be able to take decisions, which are based on transparency and correction information tailored to their organisation. It is precisely here that Deloitte Fiduciaire is able to play a role: together with the executive, we need to get behind the wheel and work together to help set the company’s course. We therefore need to make clearly known and roll out our specific knowhow, accumulated in-house for several years now within the car industry, to our present and prospective clients.

For some time now, many accountants have been working with the self-developed ‘car reporter’, which makes it quite simple to provide a well-arranged way to map all of a company’s car costs together with their associated tax implications (rejected expenditure, benefits in kind, etc.). In terms of VAT and the car too, we are currently developing a specific VAT scan for helping to acquire clarity rapidly about the specific VAT treatments of various car costs within SME’s. Our commercial law people have already mapped recent issues concerning invoices for additional work and the right of retention of the garage owner, and discussed them with our clients. Furthermore, with our social law team, as Deloitte Fiduciaire we are able to play an important role in various scenarios when setting up possible structures for the remuneration of key employees.

Because of the changing financial and economic situation, the automotive world is in a state of flux, and SME executives are constantly being confronted with changing rules and regulations. It is precisely here that, as Deloitte Fiduciaire, we need to show our added value by going into the car market as a multidisciplinary team and responding to local needs. The fact is that the SME executive is looking for clear transparency and correct information, so that, together with us, he can take the right decisions for achieving his outlined strategy for the future and steer his accumulated asset base towards the future in safety!

Deloitte Fiduciaire: ‘drive to car market!’

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