SMEs want reassurance and action from government in 2017… and less red tape

Cut red tape! This was the overwhelming response from our clients when asked what they wished for from government in the coming year.

It’s an understandable concern. KPMG Enterprise (SME) clients range from start-ups and long-standing family businesses to not-for-profits, private wealth clients and local government. All very different but they all share an aversion to red tape.

As business leaders return from holidays and begin the year in earnest, top of mind is their desire for government to streamline processes and outcomes, like sustainable policies that reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation. They’re also asking for reduced payroll taxes, an optimised BAS regime, and further incentives to employ workers on 457 visas. All these initiatives would make their lives easier and their businesses more efficient.

The mid-market makes up 40 percent of Australian business, but many of our clients feel that although the Federal Government recognises their contribution, it doesn’t always support their concerns. SMEs feel unsettled, particularly in a world dealing with the implications of Brexit and the sweeping changes initiated by the Trump Government in the United States. What SMEs want from government is reassurance and action.

When we surveyed these companies at the end of 2016, our clients were hoping government would provide greater support to invest in people and new technologies. Further R&D rebates and grants to business and lower corporate tax rates so Australian businesses can become more competitive.

In a post resources and post construction boom world, with government support, SMEs could counter disruptors in the market by harnessing new technology and data and staying ahead of the game. Identify and tap into the next successful platform for growth. Greater government incentives would also encourage Australian business to become more globally competitive.

This is increasingly important, as disruptors in whatever form – new players, cheap imports or technological advances – remain among the prime challenges facing SMEs. Taking up this challenge is a priority for any company’s long-term future.

SMEs have long urged the government to lower the corporate tax rate. Doing so would definitely build confidence and stimulate growth in new markets and products for a more prosperous future.

I hope our clients’ wishes come true. If so, Australian SMEs will reinvest in people, training, technology and improved processes, which will enhance their global competitiveness even further and lead to a more prosperous future for Australia.

A version of this blog appeared in My Business and Inside Small Business magazines



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