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Red tape reduction and small business
2014-12-03 Author:待定 Editor:zlcx Views:

Smallbusinesses are set to benefit from a more sensible approach to paperwork.

Imaginehaving an extra hour or two every week that you could devote to your business.Better still, imagine if that extra time didn’t mean spending more hours atwork and didn’t eat into the time you spent with your family.

Theaverage small business in Australia spends around five hours a week on redtape, according to a survey conducted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce andIndustry a couple of years ago.

Andunfortunately small businesses are often hit very hard by the complianceburden. Studies have found that small businesses sometimes bear compliancecosts per employee that are many times higher than for larger businesses.

Butthe good news is there are a couple of developments that will help reduce the complianceburden on small businesses. The first is that the government is making aneffort to cut back on red tape and the second is that technological advancesare making it easier for small businesses to meet their compliance obligations.


TheAbbott government is undertaking a program of red tape reduction. During its‘2014 Spring Repeal Day’ it repealed nearly 1,000 pieces and more than 7,200pages of legislation and regulation, which it claims brought the total savingsto business from cutting red tape to $2.1 billion.

Manyof the measures affect large or specialist businesses, but there are also someaimed specifically at helping ease the red tape burden for small businesses.

Thegovernment has reviewed the thresholds under which small businesses have to payincome tax instalments throughout the year. It has also said businesses with noGST payable will no longer be required to lodge a business activity statement.

Allup this should mean a reduced compliance burden on about 447,000 taxpayers, thegovernment estimates.

Thereare some other measures that will make dealing with government easier, therebyreducing the amount of time small businesses have to spend on compliance.

TheDepartment of Employment has set up a small business helpline to assistbusiness owners navigate their way around employment laws, such as pay matters.

Andfrom January next year the government will introduce reforms to the FranchisingCode of Conduct, which will give franchisees more information about theirrights and obligations, and clarify and streamline the operation of the code.


Separately,the Australian Taxation Office is using advances in technology to letaccountants and businesses prepare and lodge reports electronically.

Knownas Standard Business Reporting, accountants can lodge forms directly frombusiness accounting software. It works by standardising the way data iscollected and stored so that the forms can be automatically filled out andfiled.

Thisvirtually eliminates the inevitable errors that creep in when data is manuallykeyed in and reduces the time both businesses and accountants spend on taxcompliance.

It’salready possible for some forms like the Business Activity Statement – whichbusinesses use to report and pay their GST – to be lodged this way, and the ATOis currently working to expand the number of forms this applies to.

Ultimately,this will free up time for the business owner to focus more on actually runningand growing their business.

Butjust as importantly, it also frees up time for accountants to better use theirexpertise for the benefit of their small business clients. Rather than spendingtheir time collating all the information needed to fill out the various formsthe ATO requires, accountants can focus on providing business advice to theirclients instead.

Accountantscan, for example, help prepare budgets and cash flow forecasts; advise onbusiness plans and strategy; examine business processes and suggestimprovements; and help come up with targets and key performance indicators thatwill keep businesses on track and growing.

Ofcourse, red tape and compliance in itself aren’t all bad. After all, the lawsand regulations we have to comply with ensure that safety standards are met,workers are treated fairly and consumers are protected, among other things.

Sosmall business owners will always have to spend a bit of time on governmentpaperwork and regulations, but with any luck it will be reduced in the comingyears.


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