The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 National Small Business Summit – Part 2

by Dr Greg Chapman

The annual National Small Business Summit was held in Sydney last week. It was attended by peak body and regulator representatives as well as organisations that support small business. As always, the politicians were also there. Here is my summary of what I heard and my impressions from the second day.

The first day summary can be found here . Joe Hockey, Federal Treasurer spoke about the budget changes targeted to assist small business, such as the write off for capital purchases less than $20,000 and changes to employee share schemes so that capital gains tax is only incurred when you sell your shares.

Hockey spoke on structural issues in the tax system, where 12 companies pay 30% of all company tax in Australia, and 10% of individuals pay half of all personal tax. This leaves the country exposed to changes in the fortunes of these individuals and businesses.

In order to protect small business, the government is investigating ways to impose GST on low value (below $1000) imports. The overwhelming bulk of these purchasers are from 50 companies. The government will be asking these companies to impose GST as they already do for other countries. An example of this is Netflix which will now charge GST.

While this will help at the margins, exchange rates, postage and handling and the cost of labour has a much bigger impact on buying decisions of ‘commodity’ goods than does the GST, in my opinion.

The Future of B2B Communications
This session was a discussion of how businesses are saving money through the development of common communication systems. The big example was the software system SuperStream Contribution Hub. The designer of this website, David Field, Chairman ABSIA, said previously, the submission process for the myriad of super funds, involved 5000 different formats. This has been reduced to two, saving businesses $8 billion per year.

Field’s current project is invoice standardisation. At the moment, invoices are entered manually into bookkeeping software. Even if you don’t do this yourself in your business (and I hope you don’t), you would know what a low value time consuming task it is for someone to enter this information into MYOB or XERO.

Also discussed in this session was a new website for small business set up by the Australian Bankers Association, showing business owners what banks look for when they apply for a loan. With this tool you can see what you need to do to be successful in a loan application. The website provides useful resources such as a Business Plan Template, and a Cashflow spreadsheet that can be used for your application. Their website is here .

Bernadette O’Neil, the General Manager of Fair Work Australia gave a presentation on the breakdown of the applications received by FWA. They receive 37,000 per year, with 40% of these for unfair dismissal. Of these, 15% are withdrawn before the employer is aware of them. Small business accounts for 2000 applications with all but 65 settled without requiring a decision by FWA. She said that greater than 80% say they were “satisfied” with the process. I guess that is a relative response. Applicants for unfair dismissal have 21 days to submit. Requests for extension occur for 8% of the applications, 75% of which are dismissed. Those applications requiring a hearing or conference are 65%.

Changes have meant that employees can be compelled to take leave in excess of 8 weeks, and can pay out leave for up to 2 weeks per year. Time off in lieu in return for overtime provides greater flexibility for micro businesses.

FWA provides a pay calculator on their website.

If you have any questions or comments on National Small Business Summit, please comment below.

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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