SME sentiment with Government at five-year high

09 Apr 2014

New MYOB research reveals SME policy wish-list

Six months after the 2013 Federal Election, satisfaction with the Federal Government among SMEs is at its highest level since 2009, according to Australia’s leading accounting software provider, MYOB.

The March 2014 MYOB Business Monitor study commissioned to Colmar Brunton of 1,032 SMEs revealed dissatisfaction had significantly eased when asked about the Government’s support for helping businesses like theirs succeed. Around one third of respondents are dissatisfied (32%). Satisfaction had also improved with almost one quarter (24%) of respondents are happy with the Liberal Government’s backing of the sector.

This is a significant turnaround from the September 2013 report, where 50% of SME operators were dissatisfied and only 16% were satisfied under the Labor Government.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says “This is our first measure of SME sentiment regarding the Federal Government since the election and it appears sentiment is moving from negative to neutral. In particular the drop in dissatisfaction could mean small business owners like what they are hearing from the Government but may need to see more action to lift their levels of satisfaction.

“There’s also likely to be a relationship between the significant easing in SME dissatisfaction with the Federal Government and strong performance in the SME economy. SME annual revenue growth is at a level unseen since 2011 - around one quarter reported rising revenue, an improvement on the previous five consecutive surveys. Around one third reported a revenue decline and this was the best result since March 2011.

“The SME business outlook is definitely more upbeat, with one third expecting their revenue to increase in 2014, up from one quarter in September 2013. This indicates the tide is turning for Australia’s economic engine.

“Small and medium businesses are the bedrock of our GDP health, and their needs are paramount to the success of our economy. We should do all we can to make their business life easier. To give them a voice, MYOB explored the initiatives and policies that they would vote for.”

SME policy wish-list revealed

Making business life easier by reducing paperwork burden, investing further in infrastructure and retaining tax incentives are the leading initiatives and policies preferred by SMEs. The survey presented 18 policies/initiatives and asked ‘If a Federal Election were held in Australia in the next year, which of the following would get you to vote for or against the party that proposed them’. Business operators said the party proposing the following would receive their ‘for’ vote:

  • Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process – 64%
  • More Federal Government investment in transport infrastructure in our major states & cities – 61%
  • Keep the $6500 instant asset tax write-off in play – 58%
  • Keep the accelerated initial deduction for motor vehicles that allows small businesses to instantly write off $5000 on motor vehicles – 58%
  • Increased Federal Government funding for skills, training & apprenticeship programs – 57%
  • Government backed loans to small business start-ups – 57%
  • The abolition of the carbon tax – 55%
  • Increased Government funding for innovation, research & development – 53%
  • Provide free Government-funded training to all small businesses on how to use the internet to enhance & grow their business – 52%
  • A proportion of Government procurement contracts being assigned to small businesses – 50%
  • The creation of a single flat tax for personal tax & company tax – 48%
  • Continuation of the tax loss carry back scheme – 44%
  • The abolition of the mining tax – 40%
  • The abolition of the GST – 35%
  • Remove the $1000 threshold at which GST is collected on goods purchased from abroad – 34%
  • Make the ATO responsible for distribution of staff superannuation & maternity leave payments – 34%
  • The abolition of the rise of the Superannuation Guarantee Levy from 9% to 12% by July 2019 – 33%
  • Introduction of a paid parental leave levy for all businesses – 21%

Mr Reed says, “Business owners and managers continue to call for tax reform, deregulation and reduction of red tape. GST and BAS simplification continue to top the list of initiatives, and with fuel prices always the top SME pressure point, it’s no wonder 61% will vote for the party that proposed more investment in city transport infrastructure. Interestingly, the abolition of the carbon tax has moved down the list to seventh from second spot, while government support initiatives continue to increase in preference.”

Delving deeper into sentiment

Respondents in the transport, postal and warehousing sector were the most dissatisfied with Federal Government support. Conversely, operators in business, professional and property were the most satisfied. Looking at the mainland states, more than two in five operators in Western Australia were dissatisfied with Federal Government support while operators in Victoria were the most satisfied.

MOST SATISFIED MOST DISSATISFIED
Traditionalists (65+ yrs) (32%) Transport, Postal & Warehousing (43%)
Business, Professional & Property (29%) Western Australia businesses (42%)
Micro & small businesses (27%) Rural businesses (38%)
Victoria businesses (26%) Importers (38%)
Male business operators (26%) Baby Boomers (50-64 yrs) (37%)
Regional businesses (26%) Female business operators (36%)
Establishing businesses (25%) Maturing businesses (36%)

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB websitewebsite, or its The Pulse Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

-ENDS-

For further comment or to arrange an interview please contact:

Angely Grecia

MYOB Public Relations Consultant

P: 02 9089 9071 / M: 0449 169 997 /

E: angely.grecia@myob.com

Mitchell Hunt

Haystac Public Affairs Senior Account Manager

P: 02 8094 7739 / M: 0428 224 961

E: myob@haystac.com.au

About MYOB Australia

Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than AU$30 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit myob.com.au.