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Compliance and digitisation ticket to SME votes: survey

A survey of 1,000 Australian small and medium-sized enterprises reveals the issues that business owners want to see prioritised, including compliance cost reduction and support for digitisation. 

According to the survey, 66 per cent consider lowering the compliance costs of running a business to be their most important business-related issue, while 48 per cent would vote for a government that provided more support to improve digital capability and business skills in order to ‘future proof’ their businesses.

Helen Lea, Chief Employee Experience Officer at MYOB, stated that SMEs are at the heart of the Australian economy and that, despite a turbulent few years, their resilience and focus on recovery and transformation is admirable.

“The importance of SMEs, which contribute an estimated 35% to the Australian GDP, has never been more crucial. With rising inflation, a lingering global supply chain crisis, workforce disruptions due to COVID-19, and a challenging geopolitical environment — this period of uncertainty looks set to continue. 

“The SME sector in Australia is a powerful voting group, with more than two million registered in the nation. Their hope for a stable and bright economic future should be important to both current and prospective leaders,” said Ms. Lea. 

Digitisation for supporting SMEs 

Although 43% of SMEs surveyed believe that digital tools have made their businesses more productive, one-third (31%) still do not have any kind of online presence. 23 percent believe that digitising aspects of their business is still too expensive, and 29 percent believe that some kind of tax incentive would help them get started digitally.

Compliance and digitisation ticket to SME votes: survey

MYOB applauded the recent Budget measure introducing a tax incentive for digital adoption, and MYOB’s data confirms the importance of that incentive. 

Top examples of business integration among SMEs using digital tools include tax and BAS lodgement and payments (51 percent), compliance (38 percent), cashflow, invoicing, and online payment platforms (40 percent), and productivity, project, and inventory management (29 percent ).“We know that once digital adoption gathers speed, the impacts are immediate and significant. This is both at an individual business level and macro level, with MYOB modelling showing a potential $10.5 billion return to the economy as a result,” Ms Lea said. 

Reducing the compliance costs 

“SMEs want to see a reduction in the compliance costs of running a business and a strong economy in which to operate, particularly with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still taking a toll. Specifically, post-election SMEs would like a simplified GST / BAS reporting process and a proportion of government procurement contracts allocated to smaller businesses,” Ms Lea said. 

Compliance and digitisation ticket to SME votes: survey

While 71% of SMEs think there will be a change in government at the upcoming Federal Election, they are mixed on what the outcome of a change is likely to be and how it will impact their business. Thirty-four per cent believe a change will have no impact on the business, 28% believe it will be positive (rising to 44% of Gen Y), while 25% think it will have a negative impact. 

“We know the contribution SMEs make to the economy is widely felt and look forward to Australia’s leaders providing a fruitful and inspiring agenda to support them,” Ms Lea said. 

SMEs anticipate a change in government 

Furthermore, seven out of ten SMEs anticipate a change in government following the upcoming election. The SME sector is divided on the future of the Australian economy, with 41% expecting it to improve in the next 12 months and 37% expecting it to decline. 

Compliance and digitisation ticket to SME votes: survey

71 percent of small businesses anticipate that a change of government will be very probable in the 2022 federal election. The business policies of a political party have a considerable influence on 25% of voters.  

Overall, 28 percent feel a change in government will benefit their firm, with 44 percent of Gen Y (25-39) and 26 percent of Gen X believing the same (40-54). Twenty percent believe a change in government will be detrimental, while 25% believe it will have no effect.

The MYOB Business Monitor presents the summary findings for key indicators from the MYOB Business Monitor, which was conducted from March 22 to April 21, 2022, on a national sample of 1,000 business owners, managers, and directors (operators).

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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