MYOB CEO Tim Reed Photo: Jessica Shapiro
To help Australia’s small and medium business operators get the most out of the 2014 budget changes, MYOB strongly encourages them to take advantage of current tax deductions, to innovate and to make the most of online technologies to help boost their productivity, business performance and their confidence in the economy.
Following the handing down of the budget, it can be tempting for business owners to bunker down, play it safe and postpone their plans for growth. There are still opportunities to be had for SMEs.
I’m pleased the government has set a target of reducing regulatory compliance costs on businesses, individuals and the community by $1 billion every year. Business owners and managers will continue to call for tax reform, deregulation and reduction of red tape – our latest SME research shows GST and BAS simplification continue to top the list of initiatives they hope to see. We call on the government to keep tax reform on the agenda and to consider broadening the GST to not only address the needs of health and education spending but to also ease the burden of completing a BAS on Australia’s two million businesses.
With the retirement age set to increase to 70 by 2035, small business stands to gain the most from taking up a new $10,000 incentive payment encouraging employers to hire over 50s. We encourage small and medium businesses to keep this in mind as they hire and install a new step in their hiring process to ensure they capture this benefit whenever they meet the necessary criteria.
I hope the rise in the fuel excise rate does lead to increased investment in roads including highways and rail in our cities and regions, to help ease the pressure of rising fuel prices. Fuel prices was once again the top pressure point for SMEs this year, and has been since 2011. This change is likely to be the least popular part of the budget with SMEs, particularly so with certain sectors that will feel more pain – our latest research shows agribusiness and Western Australian-based businesses felt the most pressure from rising fuel prices. 61 per cent of SMEs would welcome investment in transport infrastructure in our major states and cities. Adopting online and teleworking technologies can also help ease the pressure by enabling business operators to operate from home or any location outside of the office.
Plans to facilitate innovation and self‑reliance via a new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme will be well-received by SMEs. Our research shows more than half of SMEs would support increased government funding for innovation, R&D and training on how to use the internet to grow their business. The benefits of online technologies include the ability to compete on a more level playing field with local and global rivals, increased productivity and less time spent on business administration. This means more time for growing the business, which has the potential to make a difference to our economy.
Further support for small business include creating a specialised unit to help small businesses gain better access to government contracts, which is supported by half of the SMEs we surveyed. We strongly encourage assisting SMEs to gain access to government contracts and also encourage SMEs to take up these opportunities.
Small business will feel reassured that the budget has been put on a sound footing for the medium term. While no-one likes tax increases, and a number of consumers will likely feel the pinch, and this may constrain spending, past behaviour indicates there is a chance that Australian’s will believe the worst is behind them and that economic growth will continue unabated – fulfilling the rising business confidence that recent surveys have shown.
Tim Reed is MYOB’s CEO
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