What your small business clients want you to know: Small business influencers and government officials debate

 

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Small businesses are the driving force of the Australian business landscape. These small businesses make up more than 97% of businesses in Australia[1], with two out of three new local jobs being dependent on small to medium business employers. This goes to show how important small businesses are for the economy, employment and the future for Australians and their families.

For accountants and bookkeepers who look after small businesses, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues entrepreneurs face to provide the best service and advice possible and achieve the right results for your client’s business.

In October 2016, Sage Australia hosted a roundtable debate with Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, Government officials and small business influencers to discuss the real issues facing local businesses. Participants included the Honourable James McGrath, Australian Senator and Matthew Ball, VP Small and Medium Business at Optus, as well as local small business owners.

The roundtable discussion addresses some of the major challenges small business owners are burdened with that do not affect larger companies. As accountants and bookkeepers who advise and support small businesses, it helps your practice to understand the operational issues your clients are likely to be facing. To view the discussion, visit http://go.sage.com/sage-debate-live.

Below are some of the key discussion points from the roundtable debate:

70% of small business owners invest their life savings to fund their business dream.
Being a successful and profitable company is ultimately the goal for any business builder, but for these entrepreneurs especially, each dollar that comes through the door can mean if the business will stay afloat. As an accountant, it will make your services more valuable to guide and advise your small business clients on how they can stay cash flow positive.

Tax and the gap between success and failure for a small business.
For a small business, there is often very little leeway between success and failure. With a number of different issues, from the Google Tax and red tape to high tax, Australian tax regulations have become barriers to success that stop small businesses reaching their potential. For startups especially, the high rate of tax has massive implications. Investors are often swayed due to issues with tax, leaving small businesses with extra expenses and less cash flow. With regulations changing frequently, time-poor business owners are unable to navigate the complexities of Australian tax, which means owners often don’t understand exactly how their business is being affected. As their accountant, it is important to be a trusted adviser on how new and updated regulations will impact your clients.

Small businesses and digital capabilities
Small business who embrace digital resources are eight times more likely to expand and create further jobs, however many small businesses are facing digital challenges here that ultimately affects their business’s cashflow. Small business owners are often hesitant to take the leap into the digital world due to a lack of knowledge or experience, and for others their location means they don’t necessarily have access to digital platforms that suburban and inner city business owners do. Understanding this means accountants will have a better understanding of their clients and what impacts the success of their business. Encouraging your clients to become more savvy with the digital realm, might be helpful in evolving their work practices and the efficiency levels of their business.

Understanding the issues that small business owners face allows accountants to better advise and provide a greater overall service for their clients. The Sage Australia roundtable discussion provided significant insights to these issues, direct from small business owners, entrepreneurs and Government officials. View the full discussion here.

 

[1] APH

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