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Survey reveals 9 in 10 Aussie SMEs keen on funded cyber security support

Over 94 per cent of Aussies believe supporting SMEs will aid the nation’s economic prosperity and would like to see them prioritised in next week’s federal budget, based on a new survey from business management platform MYOB.

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Fri, 21 Oct 2022
Survey reveals 9 in 10 Aussie SMEs keen on funded cyber security support
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Productivity was a clear theme among the top five measures small business respondents would most like to see from this budget. They include tax reforms (49 per cent), incentives for apprenticeships and vocational training (42 per cent), financial incentives for hiring staff (39 per cent), cutting of red tape (37 per cent) and incentives for digital training (31 per cent).

According to Helen Lea, MYOB chief employee experience officer, the data shows Aussies believe the role small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will play in the nations economic recovery.

“Fifty-seven per cent of respondents do not believe the economy is in recovery yet and 63 per cent see productivity as a real problem for Australian businesses.

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SMEs account for over 90 per cent of Australia’s businesses, so ensuring theyre achieving optimal results, especially in the face of inflation, supply chain disruption and cost of living pressures, will be vital for economic recovery, Lea said.

When asked what could help with productivity specifically, the top assistance SME owners would like to see is support for upskilling (55 per cent), free tertiary education for in-demand professions (53 per cent), and increased opportunities to help women rejoin the workforce after having children (48 per cent).

The data has also revealed labour shortages and employees taking leave due to illness is also hindering the productivity of SMEs with 43 per cent of small businesses currently experiencing staff shortages.

For SMEs, accessibility for broader digital adoption is key, 40 per cent of SME respondents said challenges in accessing a stable internet connection hindered them from using digital tools.

Cyber security awareness is particularly acute among us all at present, and this is coming through in our SME responses.

Two in three small business owners believe they need to spend more to protect their business, Lea further explained.

Of those who do not plan to spend more, 38 per cent say it is the cost of cyber security protection which is stopping them from making the investment, Lea added.

MYOB researchers have suggested upskilling the workforce and the confident and decisive use of digital business tools is at the crux of boosting productivity and growing the economy.

Next week's budget is an opportunity for the government to reinforce its commitment to small businesses, giving them confidence to contribute to our economic recovery,” Lea noted.

Legislating the Technology Investment Boost and the Skills and Training Boost and extending both measures to EOFY 2024 would provide certainty for SMEs to make the investments needed to protect their business and adopt more digital tools.

MYOB modelling shows that every dollar invested will generate a $25 return to the economy, which includes productivity gains and employment.

Digital capabilities are closely linked to productivity, helping SMEs save time, money and improve accuracy in their business operations.

Digital tools can help business owners with overall visibility across their business and in maximising productivity, helping to ease many of the pressures we’re currently seeing — be it labour shortages or other operational challenges," Lea said.

We know the economy stands ready to benefit from these measures and look forward to learning what the new government will deliver for the nation’s SMEs.

[Related: Germany’s cyber security chief sacked due to ‘Russia ties’]

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