Despite the introduction of the carbon tax being just weeks away, MYOB research reveals close to half of Australia’s small to medium business operators (SMEs) are uninformed about the legislation’s likely impact on their livelihood.
The March 2012 MYOB Business Monitor surveyed 1,043 SMEs to find 42% still did not have a good grasp of how the carbon tax could affect their business. Conversely, 37% overall understood ‘quite well’ and 17% understood ‘very well’. 4% didn’t know.
Comparing results by industry, the most uninformed were those in agriculture/forestry/fishing and construction/trade (at 51% each) while the most informed were those in the finance/insurance (34%). There was also a distinct knowledge gap between the sexes, with 36% of males versus 51% of females stating that they were ‘uninformed’ about the impact of the tax.
When asked if they believed the impact on their business would be positive or negative, 50% of SMEs said it would be negative, 33% saw no impact and only 11% expected a positive impact. 5% didn’t know.
CEO of MYOB, Tim Reed, said, “It is deeply concerning that our research has found such a low level of awareness about the carbon tax impact on business amongst SMEs, the engine room of our economy.”
“This is a major piece of legislation that will have a lasting effect on all business owners. What many don’t realise is that the carbon tax could very well be a positive experience for those who take action now to research, plan ahead, health-check their business fundamentals and capitalise on the opportunities.
“Business owners must recognise that although the carbon tax will have flow-on effects to goods and services they need, there are practical steps that can be taken now to minimise the impact.
“We understand how daunting it can be to get a grip on a significant new tax, so MYOB has created a free ‘Carbon Tax Toolkit’ for SMEs that can be downloaded at http:/myob.com.au/carbontaxfacts. The kit contains carbon tax facts, tips to help businesses lower their carbon footprint to save money, plus steps to help minimise the impacts and maximise the opportunities. We welcome all business owners to take advantage of this practical tool that we hope will make the carbon tax less taxing.”
Preparing for the carbon tax – 6 steps from MYOB:
- Review your current expenses and those incurred over the past year, identifying energy intensive costs that will be affected by the inevitable energy price rises. Direct costs may be fuel, electricity and gas, and indirect costs may be business travel, freight and waste removal.
- Gain a deeper understanding of where additional costs may be incurred by asking suppliers about the effect on their business and when they will be able to tell you their price impacts.
- Consider locking in contracts with key suppliers now, at pre carbon tax rates.
- Review your important business processes and identify areas where you could be operating more efficiently by, for example, changing processes, upgrading equipment and re-training staff.
- Analyse your current pricing and assess how the additional costs may impact your profit margins. You need to justify any price increases not only to your customers, but also to the ACCC if asked.
- Ensure your accounting software is up to date so that the carbon tax changes are seamless.