Business Costs Assistance Program

Business Costs Assistance Program

Collectively, and as individuals, we are yet to truly experience a post Covid-19 world. What we have found, through enhanced safety protocols, increased online participation, investment in science, healthcare, and some healthy lateral thinking, are greater freedoms to navigate our evolving circumstances.

Whilst health measures such as vaccines may be assisting in preventing severe sickness for many Australians, averting illness in our small business sector, requires a distinctly more fiscal salve. Sole traders, micro businesses of up to four employees, and slighter larger small businesses with less than 20 employees, comprise a whopping 97% of all Australian enterprise.

A recent pre-budget survey of small businesses across the nation, revealed a quarter of respondents were calling for government relief packages, with 38% expressing concern their firms may not recover without them. So, as a nation constructed mostly of self and small-scale employers, what kind of government assistance is available to help our majority small businesses retain their place at the centre of our communities and our economy.

Business Costs Assistance Program

Finding the right fit business costs assistance program for your needs can take some time and dedication, for while there a raft of different opportunities available, they tend to be industry, location, and time specific. The Grants Assist portal contains a search functionality which enables you to search, sort, and access information on funding projects. Currently there are over 720 grants and programs listed, many of which are business centric, and all of which have defined eligibility criteria.

If you find the self-search and research of grants a little time consuming or overwhelming, you can enlist the services of a business adviser. You may even find mentoring programs that can help you with identifying your business strength and weaknesses, remedying issues and gaining knowledge on how to tackle challenges on the business front. 

Types of Business Costs Assistance

Enhanced online communications, massive consumer behavioural shifts towards ecommerce, the increased digitisation of invoicing and accounting practices, and competitive website and online platform maintenance, are all ongoing realities for many small businesses.

The choice is increasingly not whether to go digital, but rather how digital can you afford to go. Keeping pace costs money, but there is some cost assistance provided to small businesses in this year’s federal budget.

Business Costs Assistance program types

Under the government’s new $1 billion Technology Investment Boost, small ventures can access a 20% deduction for the cost of expenses and depreciating assets related to their digital uptake. Expenses can include subscriptions to cloud-based services, ecommerce platforms, and items such as portable payment devices.

The Technology Investment Boost can also be applied to cybersecurity systems, another key area in which small businesses need to invest. Cyber attacks can be costly for small business at every level, resulting in theft of information or finances, disruption to trade, and reputational damage. Paying for repairs following a cyber attack can also be expensive and time consuming. The Technology Investment Boost is also an essential offering now that the government’s Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program, which funded the security needs of a range of different organisations, has ended.

It’s worth mentioning physical security measures as another area in which small businesses may be able to access assistance. The Australian government is currently offering grants linked to physical upgrades of security systems such as this small business fund to help eligible NSW businesses install CCTV cameras on their premises. Ensuring physical safety for customers and staff runs adjacent to providing online security. It costs to go digital, and to stay safe in a company’s virtual and physical environment, however in 2022’s competitive and risk-ridden business environment, it’s also the only viable option.

Wage Subsidies and Small Business Costs Assistance Incentives

A quarter of small business owners have recently called for more government wage subsidies, with almost a third of businesses declaring their intention to pass on the savings by increasing employee pay rates. Herein lies a dual recognition, of the importance in securing and retaining great staff, and how increased cost of living pressures have resulted in calls for higher wages. The 2022-2023 Budget responds to such calls with several measures intended to entice, retain, train, and upskill staff.

Australia’s labour force has traditionally been heavily reliant on migration, which has been severely restricted in the past several years. For small businesses in the hard-hit agricultural sector, the expansion and six-month extension of the AgMove program, which is, is intended to encourage greater participation in seasonal agricultural jobs, is a welcome move.

Additionally, there are over 70 planned changes to migration and visa settings which may assist small business employers whose staff are facing visa work restrictions, require extension on their visas, or who are financially burdened by the costs associated with visa applications. All these measures are geared towards assisting employers find and keep the right people for the job.

Modifications to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, will accommodate an increase in wage subsidies provided to employers of apprentices, and larger training support payments for their employees.

Taxing times

Tax cuts are a mutually beneficial way for the Australian government to assist small businesses. Trends reveal that recipients of small business tax cuts tend to use them to maximise profits, boost their capital spending, and increase wages.

The instant asset write-off program allows for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $5 billion to instantly write-off the cost of purchasing new capital items. The scheme has now been extended until June 2023, a reflection of its benefit and popularity amongst small business managers.

The Australian Taxation Office is also undergoing its own digital revamp, with the intention that software upgrades will assist small businesses access automated reporting, help reduce costs, and improve processing times. Lowering tax instalment requirements is another measure the ATO is taking to help small operators with their cash flow.

It won’t be news to most locals that Australians tend to thrive in challenging circumstances, as is reflected in our capacity to adjust to the climatic extremes of this vast land. Small businesses are often born of innovative ideas rather than expansive capital, and as such they are especially vulnerable to economic downturns and the effects of disasters, both in the natural world and of the manmade kind. Working with government in calling for and accessing the assistance required for small businesses to recover and thrive, is the only way through these seasonal changes.

If you wish to learn more about the grants and incentives available to your business, call us today and speak to one of our representatives on the number provided below.

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