“2016 has been a year of flux. What SMEs need from government is reassurance and action, particularly at a time when the implications of Brexit and the election of the Trump government fuel uncertainties even further,” says Rob Bazzani, KPMG Enterprise national managing partner.
And while politicians of all stripes often espouse the need to support small businesses and start-ups, mid-sized companies feel may left out in the cold, despite making up 40 per cent of Australian businesses.
With this in mind, Mr Bazzani says the top five wishes for SMEs are as follows:
5. Investment in the next boom
“SMEs recognise the fact that Australia now does business in a post-resources and post-construction boom world. Identifying and tapping into the next successful platforms with government support would help counter disruptors in the market, by harnessing new technology and data so [SMEs] can stay ahead of the game”, he says.
4. Lower corporate tax rates
“This would build confidence and stimulate growth in new markets and products for a more prosperous future,” says Mr Bazzani.
“These tax savings over time will better enable small businesses to reinvest in people, training, technology and improved processes, which will enhance their global competitiveness.”
3. Additional R&D rebates and grants
According to Mr Bazzani, additional rebates and grants that promote investment in research and development would “encourage Australian business to take on the world and become more globally competitive”.
2. Greater incentives to support investment in people and new technologies
Of course, R&D isn’t possible without the skilled people and technologies to carry it out.
Supporting businesses to recruit and train the people they need, and embrace new technology advancements and efficiencies, would earn the government a substantial return through increased output and job creation, according to Mr Bazzani.
1. Reduced red tape
Unsurprisingly, red tape is the burden that many business owners feel most keenly.
“Whether you’re a long-established family business or an entrepreneurial start-up, red tape is the number one concern,” says Mr Bazzani.
“SMEs are asking the federal government in 2017 for sustainable policies that reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation – including reduced payroll taxes, an efficient BAS regime and further incentives to employ workers on 457 visas. They worry about lost time and reduced efficiency and productivity.”
He adds: “It’s a problem for all our clients, large and small”.
Do you agree with the points on this wish list? What else would you like to see governments and industry do to support your business? Tell us below!