According to a Budget Edition of MYOB Business Monitor, in partnership with Nous Group, 75 per cent of businesses employing 100 people or more feel confident that the 2020–21 federal budget in October will deliver benefits to them.
However, that number drops the smaller the business gets, with half of SMEs confident the budget will deliver benefits for their business. This number drops even further to 39 per cent for micro-businesses employing between one and four people and 28 per cent for sole traders.
The research found the top measures SMEs want to see in the budget reflect fiscal and other levers for government:
- A lowering of the company tax rate (31 per cent)
- Cutting of red tape/removal of bureaucratic processes (26 per cent)
- More support for training and apprentices (24 per cent)
- Subsidies for businesses employing young Australians looking for work (22 per cent)
- Conversion of the instant asset tax write-off to a permanent policy (20 per cent)
- More flexible industrial relations system (18 per cent)
MYOB chief executive Greg Ellis said the confidence gap for smaller businesses could correlate to the finding that micros and sole traders were least likely to see opportunities resulting from COVID-19.
“While bigger businesses have benefited from increased productivity through flexible working or faster adoption of online services and e-commerce by customers, 66 per cent of sole traders and 49 per cent of micro-businesses saw no benefit afforded by the pandemic versus the national average response of 35 per cent,” Mr Ellis said.
“This demonstrates many smaller businesses lack optimism about the future and should be a critical focus within the upcoming federal budget.”
Mr Ellis said now is the time to ramp up efforts in other areas that government can influence, including digitisation and by offering more support to Australia’s sole traders and micro-businesses.
“Driving a post-COVID economic recovery presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the government to make changes that will significantly benefit Australia’s largest private sector group: small business,” he said.
“This budget presents an opportunity for Australia to accelerate digital adoption for our small businesses, setting them up to prosper as we map the road to recovery.
“What is also clear from our research is that it’s time to sharpen the focus on sole traders and micro-businesses. Our data shows 18 per cent of sole traders and 36 per cent of micro-businesses accessed the first wave of JobKeeper, versus the average of 42 per cent.”
More than 1,000 Australian SMEs were included in the survey and were asked about the issues and expectations of small business ahead of the federal budget to be handed down next month.