CPA Australia has called for the government to shift its policy focus to supporting business recovery and reinvention, arguing that professional advice from accountants will be crucial in assisting businesses on the road to recovery.
“For those unable to afford professional advice, the risks of missing out on fiscal support and business recovery advice increases the risks of business failure. Such situations will become increasingly apparent from October as stimulus and support measures are wound back,” CPA Australia said.
The professional accounting body has now repeated its calls for the government to fund a voucher program to encourage small businesses to seek professional advice and assistance on the recovery and reinvention of their business.
It notes that tax practitioners have been vital throughout the COVID-19 emergency, helping to implement a range of the government’s stimulus measures, including JobKeeper, the cash-flow boost and the early release of superannuation.
However, CPA Australia said many businesses have been unable to pay for such professional help, leaving them in a precarious position at a time when they need advice most.
“The impact of large stimulus announcements has meant many businesses have sought professional advice to navigate the processes to obtain assistance. However, many of these businesses have been in a position where they have limited or no ability to pay for this advice,” CPA Australia said.
“Additionally, our members have told us that they do not feel comfortable charging struggling clients, and so take a considerable financial hit despite an increased workload.
“We are also seeing that small businesses are not seeking the proper advice they need because they can’t afford it. This situation has put businesses at great risk when it comes to their ability to recover.”
Support for a voucher scheme has also been picked up by Labor, with shadow minister for small business Brendan O’Connor calling for the government to introduce “a voucher scheme for accredited accountants to assist small businesses”.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.