Red tape hitting SME innovation, MYOB finds

Accountants have a duty to assist SMEs navigate government regulation, which has been identified as one of the biggest barriers to the pursuit of innovation in a new MYOB report.

Today, MYOB released its latest Future of Business Report: The Age of Change, revealing that 26 per cent of SMEs identify too much government regulation as a key barrier their business faces when it comes to innovation.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, MYOB chief technical advisor Simon Raik-Allen said that SMEs aren’t experts in regulation and that they need assistance to what opportunity exists around the red tape currently in place.

“There’s lots of regulation, and different regulation for every industry, even just understanding it is a hard one,” Mr Raik-Allen said.

“I think what a business should do is find the experts who know about the regulation as advisers for their business.”

According to Mr Raik-Allen it is the role of the accountant to be that expert and to assist SMEs to understand regulation and work around it.

“We’re absolutely seeing a shift in the accountant industry from more of the compliance work to more of the advisory work,” he said.

“So as that shift over the next few years starts to occur, accountants should absolutely put themselves in the position as the primary adviser to their clients.”

Mr Raik-Allen said that accountants need to be proactive in this regard or else risk their clients going elsewhere to find assistance.

“As an accountant, look at all the businesses you're working with, categorise them all into groups and various verticals and then start to think to yourself what could these groups need, what could I learn about the legislation and about the rules for that particular industry,” he suggested.

“Then think how could I run seminars for those guys and how could I reach out to them and offer them various new and different services to help them.”

Scottish Pacific CEO Peter Langham recently highlighted the government’s 2017 budget failed to address mounting pressure to reduce red tape for SMEs.

“While the instant tax deduction of up to $20,000 for capital expenses is a popular measure, it does not have the long-term positive impact that would come with an extensive SME tax and red tape overhaul,” Mr Langham said.

“Simplifying the complex tax system, getting rid of payroll tax and cutting red tape would have the biggest daily impact for Australia’s small-to-medium business sector.”

While the government announced $300 million in funding to states that cut red tape to small business, it’s not clear in detail how this would work or how effective it will be according to Mr Langham.

 

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