SMEs increasingly backing government but demands remain the same

Elizabeth Barry 28 September 2017

small business

More SMEs are supporting the government, but they remain steadfast in the policies they want.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor has revealed small business support for both federal and state governments has increased by 6%. This brings the total number of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) backing the policies of the state and federal governments to 27% (states averaged) and 26% respectively.

However, while more SMEs are supporting the government, the majority are still calling for reduced red tape, tax reform and simpler reporting processes.

The survey of over 1,000 SME owners and managers found that 64% want the government to reduce the company tax rate, simplify the GST reporting process and keep the instant tax write-off.

“SMEs have consistently called for the government’s $20k instant asset tax write-off to be made permanent, and support for this measure continues to grow in our latest survey," said Tim Reed, MYOB CEO.

"As such a vital contributor to our economy, it’s important that the government listens to the concerns of small businesses owners and provides policies which enable them to be successful."

The $20,000 instant tax write-off was extended in this year's budget for another 12 months and also made available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million, but it was not made permanent.

Payroll compliance is also a growing problem for businesses, as revealed by the survey. Nearly one-third (31%) of SMEs identified it as a pain point, an increase from 21% in 2015.

"SMEs tell us that hiring new staff can require a huge investment of time and resources, which could be better spent on other elements of managing their business,” Reed said.

Interestingly, 30% of business owners said that a guaranteed income from the government would have helped them to start their business earlier. More than a quarter (26%) said that a guaranteed income would have encouraged them to innovate and take greater risk in their business.

“What we’re hearing is that it’s crucial for owners to feel supported in the early stages of their business," Reed said.

"While one naturally looks for extra investment in this area, a lot of conversations have told us that it is not just hard dollar investment, but a feeling of a government that understands the challenge of starting and growing a business, and appreciates the critical role small business plays in our community. The government needs to look at additional actions it can take in this area to ensure SMEs in the early stages of development have the best chance of success."

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