Australians want to see support for small business this Budget
21 Oct 2022
Ninety-four per cent of Australians believe supporting small business will aid Australia’s economic prosperity and would like to see them prioritised in next week's Federal Budget, according to a new survey from business management platform MYOB.
The research of more than 1,000 Australians - made up of 800 consumers and 200 small and medium sized enterprise (SME) owners – found one in five respondents believe government assistance for the sector is the most important factor in Australia’s economic recovery. However, 39% are uncertain the Budget will deliver on outcomes for SMEs.
MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, said the data shows Australians have economic recovery – and the role SMEs will play in this – front of mind:
“Fifty-seven per cent of respondents do not believe the economy is in recovery yet and 63% see productivity as a real problem for Australian businesses. SMEs account for over 90% of Australia’s businesses, so ensuring they’re achieving optimal results, especially in the face of inflation, supply chain disruption and cost of living pressures, will be vital for economic recovery.”
Productivity was a clear theme among the top five measures small business respondents would most like to see from this Budget. They include tax reforms (49%), incentives for apprenticeships and vocational training (42%), financial incentives for hiring staff (39%), cutting of red tape (37%) and incentives for digital training (31%).
When asked what could help with productivity specifically, the top assistance SME owners would like to see is support for upskilling (55%), free tertiary education for in-demand professions (53%), and increased opportunities to help women re-join the workforce after having children (48%).
Labour shortages and employees taking leave due to illness is also hindering the productivity of SMEs. Forty-three per cent of small businesses are currently experiencing staff shortages, and MYOB’s Small Business Leave data further shows leave balances in SMEs peaked at 35% above the pre-COVID baseline in August.
“Not having enough people on the ground to run a business adds additional pressure for SMEs. Small business owners need to ensure they’re taking action where they can, to face these challenges head on,” Ms Lea said.
“Digital capabilities are closely linked to productivity, helping SMEs save time, money and improve accuracy in their business operations. Digital tools can help business owners with overall visibility across their business and in maximising productivity, helping to ease many of the pressures we’re currently seeing – be it labour shortages or other operational challenges.
For SMEs, accessibility for broader digital adoption is key, 40% of SME respondents said challenges in accessing a stable internet connection hindered them from using digital tools.
“Cyber security awareness is particularly acute among us all at present, and this is coming through in our SME responses. Two in three small business owners believe they need to spend more to protect their business. Of those who do not plan to spend more, 38% say it is the cost of cybersecurity protection which is stopping them from making the investment,” Ms Lea said.
“Upskilling the workforce and the confident and decisive use of digital business tools is at the crux of boosting productivity and growing the economy. MYOB modelling shows that every dollar invested will generate a $25 return to the economy, including through productivity gains and employment.
“Next week’s Budget is an opportunity for the Government to reinforce its commitment to small businesses, giving them confidence to contribute to our economic recovery. Legislating the Technology Investment Boost and the Skills and Training Boost, and extending both measures to EOFY 2024, would provide certainty for SMEs to make the investments needed to protect their business and adopt more digital tools.
“We know the economy stands ready to benefit from these measures and look forward to learning what the new Government will deliver for the nations SMEs.”
Sarah Green, Character + Distinction
MYOB is a leading business platform with a core purpose of helping more businesses in Australia and New Zealand start, survive and succeed. MYOB delivers end-to-end business, financial and accounting solutions direct to businesses employing between 0 and 1000 employees, alongside a network of accountants, bookkeepers and consultants. For more information visit myob.com or follow MYOB on LinkedIn.
About the research
This report presents the summary findings for key indicators from a recent MYOB consumer and small business survey comprising a national sample of 847 consumers and 257 business owners conducted from October 1st 2022 to October 10th 2022. All data has been weighted by gender, location, industry and number of employees, which are in line with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS - Counts of Australian businesses, including entries & exits - 8165.0).