Three in four business owners (72%) say that government stimulus packages were essential to their business survival this year, according to new research from online finance information platform, Money.com.au, with JobKeeper making the biggest positive impact.
Across the respondent pool, more than two-thirds (69%) accepted JobKeeper payments to retain employees, 16% received tax-free payments through the cash flow boost scheme, while 14% claimed deductions on eligible asset purchases under the instant asset write-off measure, and just 2% took out finance linked to the SME Guarantee Scheme.
The greater proportion of businesses that benefitted from the stimulus were in NSW (82%), followed by Victoria (72%) and Queensland (58%).
JobKeeper was considered the most helpful scheme among 75% of Victorian businesses, followed by 69% of those in NSW, 63% in Queensland compared with 40% in South Australia. It is estimated that Victorians will make up 60% of those on JobKeeper over the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters, due to extended lockdowns and social restrictions.
The data also reveals the extent to which these measures helped business performance during the country’s economic downturn. One in five business owners (19%) said their businesses did better than last year, and 35% did the same as last year, thanks to the stimulus measures. However, nearly half (45%) said they were worse off this year.
Licensed financial advisor and Money.com.au spokesperson, Helen Baker said with many stimulus packages set to wind down next year, it’s likely that ‘zombie’ businesses who have kept afloat due to Government incentives will cease to exist next year.
“It is important for business owners to pivot their offering and service if they are struggling and look for other ways to increase revenue. Reworking relationships with suppliers and clients will be particularly crucial during this time.
“Interestingly, the SME Guarantee Scheme had low take-up by businesses, despite providing access to additional funding and cheaper credit. This may be because business owners viewed loans as too risky this year – with widespread uncertainty due to the global impact of Covid and the recent US election, along with ongoing trade tensions with China.
“This has forced many industries to look to alternative markets. Business loans may prove more useful next year as business owners begin to focus on pivoting and recovering. Once government assistance is wound back, however, businesses may consider other avenues to access finance. Money.com.au offer a range of loans for businesses of all sizes, from bank and non-bank lenders, that many will find beneficial over the next year.”