Budget 2017: SMEs know what they want but fear they won’t get it

Elizabeth Barry 4 May 2017

stressed about budget

Research from MYOB shows almost half of Australian small businesses don't think the budget will have a positive outcome for them.

A survey of Australian small businesses from MYOB has revealed that nearly half of those businesses 43%) believe next week's budget will not have a good outcome for them. An even higher percentage (49%) said the budget wouldn't have a better outcome for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) if the Labor Party was delivering it.

CEO of MYOB Tim Reed said: "The current mood for Australian SMEs is one I would describe as cautious and uncertain. We have a government that is ruling with the slimmest of possible margins, and great uncertainty in global politics."

However, despite the apprehension of our SMEs, the survey results also show that businesses know what a good budget outcome would look like.

Of those surveyed, 60% consider making the $20,000 instant tax write-off permanent to be the most pressing need while almost half (48%) consider lowering the company tax rate as the next most pressing need, a figure Reed says is not surprising.

"Our July Snapshot results revealed 49% of SMEs suggested the government accelerating the company tax rate cut proposals for SMEs would be a step in the right direction. Compared to this month’s Snapshot, the percentage of SMEs in favour of a lower company tax rate is very similar."

"Apart from becoming more competitive with a global average, MYOB believes the government is also hoping to stimulate activity in the economy. As small business owners will have less tax to pay, the hope is that they will invest the extra cash on things needed for the business."

In such an environment, we’re encouraging the government to keep SMEs at the top of their list

Cash flow has been an ongoing struggle for small businesses, with recent inquiries into small business lending looking to solve issues such as long payment times that tend to cause it.

According to MYOB's survey, 33% of SMEs agree that instant tax write-offs are the main area where SMEs are looking for cash flow support from the government.

In terms of other policies that would ease the cash flow stress of small businesses, MYOB is also pushing for a change to Australia's long payment culture.

"MYOB also supports the push for a National Prompt Payment Protocol as proposed by the Council of Small Business Australia which would see small businesses paid within 30 days of an invoice being issued and would ease cash flow concerns for many small businesses in Australia," said Reed.

Until the budget is announced on Tuesday 9 May, businesses may have to remain apprehensive.

"In such an environment, we’re encouraging the government to keep SMEs at the top of their list of drivers of economic growth when framing the upcoming budget," said Reed.

Check out our comprehensive coverage of Budget 2017.

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