One in five SMEs offline as consumer digital selection soars

11 May 2021

Twenty per cent of Australia’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have no or very low levels of digitisation in their business, according to new findings from MYOB, with the business management platform calling on Government to incentivise digital adoption for SMEs left behind.

Independent research of 1,000 SMEs finds just 37% of businesses use digital cloud-based software for growth opportunities, such as marketing, and only 26% of SMEs are connecting with their customers on social media.[1]

The results come as numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrate consumer engagement online is on the rise, with online sales increasing 55% in December 2020 compared to the same period the previous year.[2]

MYOB’s Chief Employee Experience Officer - Helen Lea, says the major barriers to digital adoption are business owners finding the tools too expensive (24%), not having the time to set them up (24%) and finding them too confusing (20%).

“It’s clear that for many small business owners, not knowing where to start when it comes to digitising can hold them back. However, its importance cannot be understated,” Ms. Lea said.

“Of the businesses that digitised during the COVID-19 pandemic, 39% found themselves to be more productive and 34% were more profitable. Eighty-five per cent said they were able to keep their business running thanks to digital tools.

“There's more to digitisation than setting up a website or social media. A business can benefit from  digital transformation to multiple business processes.”

MYOB’s latest research also shows only 50% of SMEs use digital cloud-based software to assist with cashflow management, such as invoicing and online payments, 40% for project management tools, 38% for workforce management, 46% for compliance and 52% to meet tax obligations.

“Cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) products are the perfect gateway for SME digitalisation, allowing businesses to work and engage with their customers however and wherever they like, with the option to grow their software use with their operations.”

MYOB is calling on the Federal Government to consider tax incentives on new SaaS subscriptions for SMEs with 0-199 employees. A white paper outlining its’ SaaS incentive proposal in full can be accessed here.


For further comment or other information please contact:
Selina Ife, Communications Consultant, MYOB

About MYOB

MYOB is a leading business platform with a purpose of helping more businesses in Australia and New Zealand start, survive and succeed. MYOB delivers end-to-end business management tools and accounting solutions for SMEs and the mid-market, direct to businesses, as well as a network of accountants, bookkeepers and consultants. MYOB operates across four key segments: Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Enterprise, Financial Services and Practice. For more information visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.

[1] MYOB Business Monitor, June 2021

[2] Source: ABS December 2020