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Cost of living pivotal concern for small businesses this Budget; fuel pricing, utilities and interest rates top pressures facing SMEs and mid-market

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, 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%) 

Lowering of the company tax rate (37%) 

Cutting of red tape/removal of bureaucratic processes (33%) 

New rebates and grants for energy usage (23%) 

Investment in environmental protection policies (37%) 

National security measures (37%) 

Cutting of red tape/removal of bureaucratic processes (36%) 

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, said 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. 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.” 

In the lead up to next week’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. 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 Federal Budget coverage follow MYOB Pulse. 


For more information please contact:

Selina Ife

Media Manager


About MYOB

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 or follow MYOB on LinkedIn.

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.