Small business owners say government need to do more to help SMBs

- March 13, 2019 2 MIN READ

A survey of over 1000 small business owners by accounting solution Reckon has found more than two-thirds believe the current government is not doing enough to help small business.

SMB owners cite increasing red tape, poor tax concessions and increased compliance processes as major problems that need addressing. 52 per cent of those surveyed suggest red tape is the biggest obstacle to creating a new business in Australia.

Almost half (42 per cent) agree that access to finance is a barrier to doing business, and 63 per cent of those who took out a loan last year say the process is becoming more difficult with 37 per cent of SMB owners saying the current fall in house prices could create a barrier to securing loans. Over two-thirds (43 per cent) say the government is not doing enough to address the strain of tighter mortgage assessments imposed by banks.

In the lead up to the election, the policies most desired by small businesses include SMB tax concessions (54 per cent), a reduction in tax process and compliance (41 per cent) and reduced electricity costs.

Sam Allert CEO of Reckon said while many SMBs have seen growth they remain frustrated by extensive compliance requirements.

“Regulation is important, but overly complex and time-consuming processes limit time for SMB owners to grow revenue. While we have seen many businesses automate processes and reduce their admin burden, further change is still needed in this regard.”

The Reckon survey also reveals how digital payments continue to overtake cash. 43 per cent of respondents say their receipt of cashless payments increased in 2018, and 47 per cent expect them to increase further in 2019. Six in ten businesses say over 90 per cent of their payments are now cashless.

Digital payment provider fees are the biggest barrier to accepting cashless payments for small businesses, with almost half (46 per cent) agreeing. Only a fifth say customer preferences for cash are a barrier to cashless payments, and just one-tenth see the technology investment as a barrier.

Allert added: “Customers are increasingly moving from cash to more convenient digital payments. ATO stats show that only one in five Australians now prefer cash payments, meaning businesses that reject this trend could miss out on sales. Digital payment devices can now be used through a smartphone and point of sales systems can be set up easily. With the barriers to accepting digital payments being so low, it makes sense for businesses to accept them.”