Compliance and digitisation key to SME support in the Federal Election

Australia elections

Business management platform MYOB has released a special Federal Election Edition of the MYOB Business Monitor which surveyed 1000 Australian SMEs on the issues they want to see prioritised and related insights ahead of the election.

The report reveals that 66 per cent of SMEs list the reduction of compliance costs of running a business as their most important business-related issue. And 48 per cent of respondents said that they would vote for a government that provided greater support to improve digital capability and business skills in order to ‘future proof’ their businesses.

SMEs, however, are divided in their opinions on the future of the Australian economy, with 41 per cent saying it will improve in the next 12 months while 37 per cent expect it to decline.

“The importance of SMEs, which contribute an estimated 35 per cent to the Australian GDP, has never been more crucial,” MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, said. “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,” Lea added. “Their hope for a stable and bright economic future should be important to both current and prospective leaders.

MYOB welcomed the recent Budget measure to introduce a tax incentive for digital adoption and their data confirms how vital that incentive is.

“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,” Lea said.

“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.”

Interestingly, the report also revealed that 71 per cent of SMEs think there will be a change in government at the upcoming Federal Election. However, they are mixed on what the outcome of a change is likely to be and how it will impact their business. A third, 34 per cent, believe a change will have no impact on the business, 28 per cent believe it will be positive (rising to 44 per cent of Gen Y), while 25 per cent 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,” Lea concluded.