Australia has fared better than most during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it continues to be a challenging environment for many small businesses, highlighted by the most recent seven-day lockdown in Victoria.

The unpredictability is stressful for small businesses to accept and manage, according to Intuit Quickbooks international corporate affairs, Simeon Duncan.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve all been inspired by the resilience and tenacity of Australian small businesses. Small business owners and operators have had to reimagine virtually every aspect of their business. They’ve gone to great lengths to keep their doors open, keep their employees and customers safe, and navigate the uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic,” he told Retailbiz.

“With yet another snap lockdown in Melbourne, it has become even more clear that snap lockdowns will continue to be something that small businesses will need to manage, the real opportunity lies in digital support and innovation to maximise business effectiveness and sustainability during these uncertain times.”

According to research by Deloitte, small businesses can double their revenue per employee by embracing digital technology. The Federal Government’s recent Budget announcement is a helpful and positive step in accelerating their move to digital enablement, by proposing a $12.7 million investment in providing independent advice to Australian small businesses to help them build their digital capabilities. 

“With uncertain times ahead, we stress the urgency of digital investment and innovation for small business survival. We’ve seen during the pandemic that those already committed to digital were better equipped to come through the crisis. Fuelling investment in technology will position accountants, builders, café owners and many other small businesses to support wider economic recovery.

“As the trusted partner of small businesses, Intuit QuickBooks continues to support our customers on their collective journey back to stability and success by delivering smart, indispensable financial tools that help small businesses grow and achieve prosperity.”

Deputy CEO and co-founder, Ashik Ahmed said Victorian shift workers and their employers will be significantly impacted by this lockdown.

“Whether they are essential workers crucial to keeping society going or their industry is completely shut down meaning a loss of revenue and income, they are bearing the brunt of this. This is off the back of last year when Melbourne alone experienced a nearly $2 billion drop in economic output,” he told Retailbiz.

“Now, with JobKeeper having ended and support mechanisms like rental pauses and loan delays no longer being mandated, this strain is amplified. We strongly encourage the federal government to revive JobKeeper to support these shift workers and the small businesses in Victoria.”

According to Ahmed, the vaccine rollout is mission critical to protect the healthcare system and Australian shift workers as the backbone of the economy.

“For them to thrive and operate at full capacity once again, we need to begin taking meaningful steps towards smart and safe strategies regarding immigration; allowing international students back into the country to solve the talent shortage crisis in the hospitality sector and mitigate the risks of further lockdowns occurring,” he said.