The 5 Best Things that Happened to Australian SMEs in 2017

The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to set new goals, and plan for a productive year.

And though the temptation can be to focus on all the areas we might need to improve, setting effective business goals is also about taking advantage of opportunities.

There were some challenges for SMEs in 2017, such as changes to 457 visas, and ongoing issues around access to finance.

But there were also some great initiatives and changes that occurred in 2017 that represent opportunities moving forward.

Below are the five best things to happen to Australian SMEs in 2017, in our opinion.

1. The Government is now required to pay our invoices within 20 days

It barely needs to be said: cash flow is a critical factor in the success of SMEs. And with around 6,800 smaller businesses working with the Australian Federal Government, it was a very welcome relief to hear the government commit to 20-day payment times for small business.

2. Tax Rate Reduction

Tax cuts also help our businesses improve cash flow. Recent reform means SMEs are now only required to pay 27.5 per cent tax on earnings, down from 30 per cent. This is a significant opportunity to claim back more money that would be better spent on growth and investment.

3. Asset Tax Write-Offs

Speaking of tax cuts… In the 2017 Budget, SMEs were also given a 12-month extension for the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off scheme.This gives smaller businesses the ability to claim the immediate deduction for the business portion of each asset, freeing up more much-needed cash flow to invest in growth.

4. Fairer Contracts Law for Smaller Businesses

The Australian Unfair Contract Terms (UCT) legislation was recently updated to protect SMEs from unfair terms in standard form contracts. Examples of unfair terms include unilateral obligations, penalties, changes, and termination clauses. The SME sector has obviously welcomed and embraced this change – anything that can give smaller businesses greater power to negotiate fairer terms with larger organisations is a happy improvement.

5. An increasing climate of digitalisation

This one didn’t necessarily happen as a result of government intervention, though its commitment to the National Innovation and Science Agenda has certainly helped in many ways.

Across the globe, industries are transforming for the better as a result of digitisation. But closer to home, digitisation can also help to speed up and streamline processes, cut overheads, and improve staff productivity.

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