Gladstone Businesses Leading the Way to Recovery
By Tina Zawila
Recently we had the opportunity to attend the Small Business Roadshow in Gladstone to meet with the Honorable Di Farmer, the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Warwick Agnew, the Director General for the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. This was a rare opportunity for Gladstone business owners and leaders to speak directly with Government about the Gladstone economy and our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and, to provide feedback on Government support packages.
During the discussions it became clear, that in general, Gladstone had managed the economic impacts of COVID-19 quite well and in fact, some businesses had improved over the last 12 months. It became apparent that Gladstone business owners were familiar with economic ups and downs and frankly, just dug in and worked hard to protect their businesses and look for opportunities to diversify their income streams. Their resilience and preparedness to make things happen, seems to have served them well.
One of the matters raised by these business owners with the Minister and Director General was the importance and value they placed on their local business advisor and mentor. They were aware that the Government offered free business advisory and mentoring services, however, they stressed that they did not want to engage with an unknown advisor (via phone or Zoom) but rather would have appreciated being able to engage the services of their own advisor. They also preferred a local advisor with knowledge of our region.
And it seems they are not alone in their thinking. CPA Australia recently advocated for nationwide grant funding for specialist accounting and business planning advice. CPA Australia’s 2020–21 Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey, showed that among Australian businesses that sought advice from an accountant in 2020, 26.9 per cent grew in that year, compared to 16.7 per cent that did not seek advice. Meanwhile, businesses that sought advice from an accountant are more likely to expect to increase employee numbers in 2021 (15.7 per cent) than those that did not seek any advice (4.2 per cent).
CPA Australia also notes that “Government initiatives designed to stimulate employment and investment are more likely to achieve their policy aims if they are complemented by policies that incentivise business to seek professional advice from their preferred adviser.” They recommend that Government should deliver this policy through the advisors that small business already use. In addition, “Australian Taxation Office research has found that small businesses are many times more likely to seek advice from private sector providers, especially accountants, than from government,”
If you are looking for professional, local, experienced business advice, contact the team at UHY Haines Norton on 4972 1300 we will work with you to grow your business.