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Want to win the small business vote? Cut red tape and support digitisation says MYOB report

- May 12, 2022 2 MIN READ
small business vote election

MYOB’s latest Business Monitor report reveals the sentiments of the nation’s small business owners ahead of the federal election. Unsurprisingly, the majority of small businesses want more support for digitisation and two-thirds want compliance costs cut and red tape reduced.

Seven in 10 small business owners expect a change of government at the upcoming election, with close to half (48 per cent) saying they would vote for a government with policies in place that will futureproof their business. This means putting more funding into improving small businesses’ digital capabilities and the upskilling of staff.

Business uncertainty continues

MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea said despite a turbulent few years, small businesses remain at the heart of the economy.

“The importance of small businesses, which contribute an estimated 35 per cent to the Australian GDP, has never been more crucial. With rising inflation, a lingering global supply chain crisis, workforce disruptions due to COVID-19, and a challenging geopolitical environment — this period of uncertainty looks set to continue.

“The SME sector in Australia is a powerful voting group, with more than two million registered in the nation. Their hope for a stable and bright economic future should be important to both current and prospective leaders,” said Lea.

Why support for digitisation matters this election

Forty-three per cent of small business owners surveyed say that digital tools have helped their business be more productive, however, one in three (31 per cent) still don’t have any kind of online presence. 23 per cent say digitising elements of their business remains too expensive and 29 per cent believe a tax deduction incentive of some sort would help them get started digitally.

Of the small businesses already using digital tools, top examples of business integration include tax and BAS lodgement and payments (51 per cent), compliance (38 per cent), cashflow, invoicing and online payments platforms (40 per cent) and productivity, project and inventory management (29 per cent).

“We know that once digital adoption gathers speed, the impacts are immediate and significant. This is both at an individual business level and macro level, with MYOB modelling showing a potential $10.5 billion return to the economy as a result,” Lea said.

Calls for business compliance costs to be reduced

Red tape and compliance costs are continuing to inhibit small business growth with business owners citing the compliance costs of running a business as the most important business-related issue they face.

“SMEs want to see a reduction in the compliance costs of running a business and a strong economy in which to operate, particularly with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still taking a toll. Specifically, post-election SMEs would like a simplified GST / BAS reporting process and a proportion of government procurement contracts allocated to smaller businesses,” Lea said.

Change of government predicted

While 71 per cent of small business owners think there will be a change in government at the upcoming Federal Election, they are mixed on what the outcome of a change is likely to be and how it will impact their business.

Thirty-four per cent believe a change will have no impact on the business, 28 per cent believe it will be positive (rising to 44 per cent of Gen Y), while 25 per cent think it will have a negative impact.

“We know the contribution SMEs make to the economy is widely felt and look forward to Australia’s leaders providing a fruitful and inspiring agenda to support them,” Lea said.

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