Federal Budget 2024


14th May, 2024

Cost of living pivotal concern for SMEs this Budget

Cash-strapped Aussies want cost of living relief and more support for small and medium sized businesses this Federal Budget

Sixty-two per cent of Australians say rising costs have led them to modify their diet, opting for cheaper options at the supermarket such as chickpeas over more expensive options including salmon or steak.

Our survey of 1000 consumers, conducted in the weeks leading up to tonight’s Federal Budget, reveals 69% hope to see assistance to address cost-of-living pressures from this year’s Budget, followed by rent relief and affordable housing (64%) and personal tax cuts (61%).

Also, the impact of increasing costs on consumer behaviour is far reaching, with 65% of Australians spending less on going out to eat or food delivery, 62% reducing the amount they spend on entertainment or attending events, and 51% cutting back on buying clothing and beauty products.

“More than half (56%) of the respondents are concerned about the cost of living, and this is forcing them to keep a tight rein on their spending, which in turn has an impact on Australia’s 2.5+ million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs),” says Emma Fawcett, MYOB’s General Manager SME.

“Australians know the value and importance of the SME community, however with less money to spend on discretionary items, many are looking to the Government to help this business community during a challenging period.”

More small business support needed

Four out of five Australians (80%) believe the upcoming Federal Budget should deliver more support for small businesses, with most suggesting that helping small businesses (87%) and medium sized businesses (90%) will be key to drive economic recovery.

Despite this, 38% of respondents are not confident the Budget will deliver for Australia’s SMEs.

“Consumers and business owners want to see measures that will deliver real and meaningful support in this Budget. SMEs and the mid-market make up 99% of the country’s businesses and contribute more than half of our GDP,” says Emma.

“Relief from cost-of-living pressures means more money in the pockets of everyday Australians and more cash flowing through SMEs and the mid-market, helping the economy recover and grow.”

Federal Budget 2024

Pressures facing SMEs and mid-market

SMEs and mid-market divided on how the economy will perform

Small businesses (SMEs) want Federal Budget measures to help drive consumer demand, while the mid-market is more focused on action to support operational needs.

This is according to the latest MYOB Bi-Annual Business Monitor: Budget Edition, comprising responses from more than 1000 small and medium sized enterprises (0-199 FTEs), and, for the first time, 500 mid-market businesses (20-500 FTEs with $5m+ revenue).

Top measures respondents would like to see from the Budget:

SMEs (0-199 FTEs)Mid-market (20-500 FTEs)
Support to reduce the cost of living (52%)Investment in environmental protection policies (37%)
Lowering of the company tax rate (37%)National security measures (37%)
Cutting of red tape/removal of bureaucratic processes (33%)Cutting of red tape/removal of bureaucratic processes (36%)
New rebates and grants for energy usage (23%)Incentives for business digitisation (36%)

Overwhelmingly, the top business pressures for both cohorts relate to the cost of doing business: fuel prices (49% of mid-market and 41% of SME respondents), cost of utilities (43% of mid-market and 38% of SME) and interest rates (43% of mid-market and 30% of SME).

MYOB’s General Manager SME, Emma Fawcett, says examining the combined findings from both SMEs and the mid-market paints a detailed picture of how more than 99% of Australian businesses are performing and their expectations for the upcoming Budget.

“The research suggests that the cost of living is impacting small businesses harder than ever, with less money moving around the economy,” Emma says.

“Businesses are being squeezed on two fronts; the cost of doing business is going up and their customers are spending less.

“Given the economic environment, smaller businesses are feeling the most cautious, with only 28% believing the economy will improve in the year ahead, compared to 63% of mid-market respondents.

“However, the last few years have shown Australia that our SME community is resilient and always looking for new strategies to help their businesses thrive.”

Federal Budget 2024

Focus on future growth

In the lead up to tonight’s Budget, businesses are looking to the Government to provide measures that address the ongoing cost of living crisis so they can get through this challenging period and focus on future growth.

“We encourage the Government to deliver for SMEs and the mid-market in this Federal Budget,” Emma says.

Cost of living support, and fuel and utility incentives, will help businesses during the winter, while reducing red tape and offering further opportunities for all businesses to adopt digital technologies will help drive productivity to aid recovery and scale.

“SMEs and the mid-market play an essential role in building a strong national economy, together contributing more than half of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP). Ensuring these businesses are in the best position to navigate the current climate and strive for growth in the coming years is vital to a healthy trajectory for the national economy.”

For extended, on-the-ground Federal Budget coverage, head to MYOB Pulse.

About the research – Consumers

The survey was conducted by Pollfish on behalf of MYOB on 25th and 26th April 2024, comprising 1000 employed or self-employed Australians aged 18-54.

About the research SME

The MYOB Business Monitor researches business performance and attitudes regarding areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline work, technology usage and the government.  This report presents the summary findings for key indicators from the MYOB Business Monitor comprising a national sample of 1,047 business owners, managers and directors (operators), conducted from 25 March to 22 April 2024. The businesses participating in the online survey were both non-employing and employing businesses. All data has been weighted by industry type, location and number of employees, which are in line with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS – Counts of Australian businesses, including entries & exits – 8165.0). 

About the research – Mid-market

MYOB’s survey of the mid-market (with fieldwork conducted by Dynata) comprises a nationally representative sample of 593 business owners and senior decision makers in mid-sized businesses (employing 20 – 500 FTEs, $5m+ annual revenue) in Australia. The survey was conducted between 22 March and 15 April 2024. Repondents were sampled randomly from the Dynata online panel and screened to ensure they met the qualifying criteria. Quotas were maintained on industry sector to ensure a reliable and diverse cross section of mid-market opinions were obtained.

Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.