What the Budget means for SMEs

Inside Small Business has this morning spoken to a number of key stakeholders in the SME sector to gauge their reaction to the most prominent measures impacting on small business in last night’s Budget.

Instant asset write-off

As Thomson Reuters Tax Writer, Jerry Reilly, explains, “The Budget confirmed expectations about the extension of the $20,00 instant asset write-off – it gets an extra 12 months and will now expire on 30 June 2019”.

BDO Tax Partner, Mark Molesworth, says, “While we welcome the extension of the write-off, providing long-term incentives as opposed to uncertain year-on-year extensions would be preferable. This will allow SBEs to plan large asset purchases without imposing artificial deadlines.”

Beau Bertoli, joint CEO of Prospa, says, “Our small-business customers will be pleased to see an extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off. This popular policy will continue to help small businesses invest in their own growth, creating more jobs and ultimately boosting the Australian economy.”

“Small businesses are central to the prosperity and long-term success of Australia,” says James Chin Moody, CEO and Co-founder of Sendle, “and it’s encouraging to see the 2018 budget preparing our country for a future that counterbalances the big end of town with the thriving small business ecosystem. The extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off and the investment in the $20 million SME export hubs will give this important sector a much-needed leg up and help them invest for growth and tap into expansion opportunities overseas.”

Technology

Jerry Reilly believes that, “Small businesses struggling with the implementation of the Single Touch Payroll will benefit from an additional $15 million in funding given to the ATO which will be used to support small businesses with fewer than 20 employees during the transition period to 1 July 2019”.

On the Fintech scene, Beau Bertoli says, “It’s great to see the Government continuing to support and invest in Australia’s FinTech sector. However, we had hoped to see some measures that would reduce the relative advantage enjoyed by larger banks. Promoting the ability of non-banks to access to lower cost wholesale funding would have fundamentally leveled the playing field in the finance industry. This would mean companies like Prospa could provide small business owners with even easier, lower cost access to finance, and create a more competitive finance market – something Australia badly needs.”

Sam Allert, Managing Director ANZ of Reckon, adds, “While tax cuts will go a long way in helping small businesses improve their cashflow, today’s pace of technological change has also meant that there’s a seemingly ceaseless demand for new skills. I think it’s very important that as a country, we start fostering a strong culture of lifelong learning, so small-business owners are able to continuously develop the skills they need to succeed.

“To help small businesses stay ahead of these digital disruptions and prepare for the unknown, more assistance and frameworks must be afforded to them in the form of ongoing education, training, upskilling and reskilling.”

SME Exporting

“Overall, this is positive budget for SME exporters’ said Heath Baker, head of policy at the Export Council of Australia (ECA). “But it’s an incremental step forward, not a major leap. The government has rightly been a champion of trade and has trumpeted its achievements in signing FTAs, but if you want to grow trade, FTAs are only part of the answer. This budget goes some way to addressing SME exporters’ other needs – but there’s still more to be done.’

Baker added that the ECA welcomes the $20 million allocated to establish an SME export hubs program, as well as extending funding for the export growth centres. These programs should help many SMEs make the jump into international business and we look forward to seeing the detail.

Minimum wage increase

Jerry Reilly says, “Small businesses are, and will continue to be, the engine room of the Australian economy, so it is vital that they are provided with ample support to remain profitable whilst spurring growth. According to our survey of 1000 small-business owners, over half indicated that the increase will affect their operations if it went ahead, while 66 per cent want the government to step in to address the minimum wage debate.”

Enterprise initiatives

Mike Rosenbaum, Co-founder & CEO Spacer and co-founder The Sharing Hub, says, that he welcomes the Entrepreneurship Facilitators Program, which will give $17.7million funding for entrepreneurs over 45 years of age.

“We are changing the way we live, work and earn and although the government has made a small step to acknowledge this, we call for a Minister for the Sharing Economy to help address this seismic shift,” Rosenbaum says.

Angus Sedgwick, CEO of The Invoice Market (tim.), says he supports the SME-focused initiatives including the Enterprise Tax Plan (currently stalled in the Senate), the continuation of the $20,000 asset write-off allowance and particularly the crackdown on the “black economy”, including the Anti-Phoenix laws.

“The deliberate liquidation of a company to avoid paying its creditors and employees has a devastating effect on the SME sector. We welcome legislation and a dedicated task force to protect and enforce against this behavior,” Sedgewick says.

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