Malcolm Turnbull

According to the Business Monitor Report released by MYOB today, dissatisfaction with the Federal Government has fallen from 33 percent in March 2015 to 26 percent in October. It also happens to be the lowest level of disapproval recorded in the MYOB Business Monitor since it launched.

The Business Monitor, a bi-annual national survey that speaks to over 1,000 startups and small business owners, is now in its sixth year.

“This is more good news for the Turnbull Government, which is currently riding high in the polls,” said John Moss, MYOB’s Chief Strategy Officer. “The earlier Federal Budget package for small business has been received well and SMEs are looking for further measures to make doing business easier.”

According to the results, state governments should be proud that business owners are feeling happier with their work, with dissatisfaction levels on that issue falling to 30 percent across the board. In that, there were some key differences between the Queensland Government, where business owners are still slightly unhappier at 41 percent, and in New South Wales which, according to results, is the state with the happiest business owners with dissatisfaction sitting at 20 percent.

The survey suggests that one of the reasons for this federal swing could be the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off announced in the Federal Budget earlier this year.

“A key initiative for SMEs this year was the $20,000 instant asset write-off,” said Moss. “The Business Monitor found that 25 percent had already taken advantage of this measure. Franchisors were the front runners here, with 51 percent saying they had used it, followed by exporters (50 percent) and importers (41 percent).  One of the stated aims of the write-off is to help businesses grow, and 35% of establishing business reported taking it up as against 19 percent of established businesses.”

The 38 percent of participants that had not used the incentive gave feedback stated that the main reason as to why they had not taken advantage of it was due to not having the need to purchase anything. Then there were 19 percent of people that cited not having the available cash to make a purchase.

“While two-thirds of SMEs are yet to take advantage of the incentive, it has clearly struck a chord with operators,” said Moss.  “It was number one on the list of policies they would vote for.  Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process – an ongoing pain point for many SMEs – came a very close second. With MYEFO just around the corner and budget planning well underway, governments would do well to take careful note of this list.”

Policies or initiatives that business operators would vote for

  1. Keeping the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off for businesses under $2m revenue – 63 percent
  2. Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process – 62 percent
  3. Reducing the company tax rate from 30per cent to 28.5per cent – 58 percent
  4. Assigning a proportion of Government procurement contracts to small businesses – 57 percent
  5. Increased Federal Government funding for skills, training and apprenticeship programs – 57 percent
  6. The establishment of an incentive bonus for businesses employing people over age fifty – 56 percent
  7. More Federal Government investment in transport infrastructure in our major States and cities – 55 percent
  8. Increased Government funding for innovation, research and development by Australian businesses – 53 percent
  9. Offering a wage subsidy for employing young Australians – 51 percent
  10. Exempting FBT on the purchase of work-related portable electronic devices – 50 percent

The survey also looked at what impact business owners thought the weak Australian dollar, share market volatility, as well as free trade agreements with countries like Japan, China and Korea, would have on the cost of doing business and consumer confidence.

When it came to the cost of doing business, participants communicated that they felt these three issues would have no impact on the cost of doing business, with 54 percent saying the dollar would have no affect, 63 percent saying they were not worried about the share market, and 59 percent not being concerned about international trade agreements.

“We know the Federal Government is working hard to promote the benefits and opportunities the FTAs will unlock, particularly for SMEs, but this finding shows there’s still some work to do,” said Moss. “Operators aren’t yet seeing how they will be able to capitalise on the FTAs, directly or indirectly, in terms of costs.”

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