THE Federal Government can avoid a 'hard landing' in the recovery phases from the COVID pandemic by developing a post-lockdown business support strategy, according to professional accounting body, CPA Australia.
“New national arrangements on COVID-19 business supports are a positive development,” CPA Australia CEO Andrew Hunter said.
“The missing piece is what happens once a lockdown ends. The impact on businesses doesn’t stop the moment a government calls time on a lockdown. If support is withdrawn immediately, many businesses may experience a damaging hard landing.
“By tapering business support for a couple of weeks post-lockdown, the government can soften the negative effects of withdrawing support.”
CPA Australia is calling for a national post-lockdown business support strategy, involving a combination of Commonwealth and state or territory supports for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
“We’ve participated in hundreds of discussions with governments, industry and members since the pandemic began," Mr Hunter said. "We’ve heard countless stories of lockdown hardship from business owners.
“Based on our experience, a coordinated national approach, including direct and indirect supports, makes a big difference to businesses’ success after an extended lockdown.
Our view is that a successful strategy will involve five elements delivered in the period immediately post-lockdown."
Mr Hunter named the five strategies as: Tapered support for SMEs with eligibility based on decline in turnover; Deferral of Commonwealth and state or territory SME revenue collection; A moratorium on Commonwealth and state or territory compliance activity, such as ATO debt collection; Consumer incentives, such as dining, travel and accommodation vouchers; and Financial assistance for businesses to seek professional advice.
"We urge the Federal Government to discuss a post-lockdown business support strategy at the next National Cabinet meeting," Mr Hunter said.
“If the government takes the initiative immediately, we could have a strategy in place for when current lockdowns end, and for any future lockdowns.
“We acknowledge that this will require a high level of coordination between different levels of government, but we don’t think that’s too much for Australians to expect.”
THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has recognised the rise of ‘womenpreneurs’ and the key role women will play in driving future business growth on World MSME Day (Sunday June 27).
World MSME Day 2021, declared by the UN, has identified the evolution of womenpreneurs as one of the Top 10 Trends of the year.
Mr Billson said this was also an emerging trend in Australia, with women-owned women-led enterprises increasing at a faster rate than male-owned businesses.
“On World MSME Day I want to thank all small and family businesses for their vital contribution to Australia’s prosperity, wellbeing and community,” Mr Billson said.
“Female entrepreneurs have been acknowledged on World MSME Day as being a crucial part of the global SME ecosystem who are looking for new growth opportunities.
“In Australia, about 38 percent of small businesses are owned by women and we are likely to see that number continue to grow.
“In the decade to 2019, of the 171,000 newly established businesses in Australia, two-thirds were led by women.
“Research has found the economic opportunity for Australia by boosting the number of female entrepreneurs to parity with men would be worth between $71 billion and $135 billion to the nation’s economy.”
Resilience has also been listed as one of the Top 10 Trends of 2021 as part of World MSME Day.
“The past 18 months has been incredibly challenging for small businesses, but I have been inspired by the courage and agility shown by our small business community,” Mr Billson said.
“Our Small Business Counts report noted ABS data revealing 40 percent of small businesses have changed the way they provided products and services as a result of the pandemic.
“More than ever we have seen the deep personal commitment it takes to run a small business and I thank Australian small and family businesses for their fighting spirit, hard work and determination.”
View ASBFEO’s World MSME Day video here.
THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson has welcomed the Australian Government’s $1.2 billion investment in the nation’s digital future, including the 30percent tax offset for the video game industry.
Mr Billson said the investment would encourage greater digital adoption by small and family businesses, to ensure they are globally competitive.
“This significant investment will support small business growth and go some way to unlocking the commercial gains that can be made through digitisation,” Mr Billson said..
“Many small businesses have adopted better use of mobile and internet technologies as a result of the COVID crisis and these announced support measures will help that trend continue. Being digitally engaged has been very important for businesses, particularly in regional and rural areas, to continue delighting customers at a time of pandemic-related disruptions.
“In reality, digitisation is now vital to being truly competitive. That means everything from having a website, to being e-commerce enabled, using apps to improve business efficiency and targeting customers through social media platforms," he said.
“SMEs with advanced levels of digital engagement are 50 percent more likely to grow revenue and earn 60 percent more revenue per person, according to MYOB research.
“We welcome the Australian Government’s commitment to help SMEs build their digital capacity and drive business up-take of e-invoicing.
“With 1.2 billion invoices exchanged in Australia every year, making the switch to e-invoicing would add an estimated $28 billion to the Australian economy over 10 years. For SMEs, we know e-invoicing streamlines productivity and improves cash flow with reduced admin and faster payments.”
Mr Billson particularly welcomed the support provided to the Australian video game industry, which is comprised of many high growth potential small businesses and start-ups.
“My office has been a vocal supporter of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) which estimates Australia could create a $1 billion industry in game development, providing export revenue and employing an additional 10,000 full time workers with the right support,” Mr Billson said.
“This 30percent tax offset is an excellent support measure to help Australian video game producers take a greater share of the $250 billion global game development market.
“Ultimately this investment, which forms part of the Australian Government’s Digital Economy Strategy, will help make Australia the best place to start and grow a business.”