The importance of SMEs to a healthy Australian economy cannot be overstated. SMEs are the backbone of the Australian economy, creating around 7 million jobs, contributing up to 57% of Australia’s GDP and cementing our reputation as a nation of entrepreneurs. 

With almost every industry affected by Coronavirus, many of our SMEs have been tested as never before. While some have continued to operate as normal (and even thrive), others have been heavily impacted with pressure on profitability, cashflow and even business closures.

Through a survey of our broker database, Apricity Finance explored how SMEs are adapting to the myriad of changes, the effectiveness of government measures, and growth in particular industries. The data was collated through a survey completed by 40 brokers across the country, monitoring the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on their clients.  

THE CORONAVIRUS SME GUARANTEE SCHEME

SMEs have benefited from support measures through the crisis such as loan and rent deferrals. However, the limited uptake of the Government’s current unsecured loan scheme to SMEs is of concern. Under phase two of the scheme, small businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million can now apply for the loans between 1 October 2020 and 30 June 2021.

“Crucially, the extended terms of the scheme provide small businesses more affordable credit over a longer period so they can invest in their future. While this is a good option for viable small businesses that have the capacity to grow, it is always a good idea to seek advice from a trusted, accredited financial advisor before entering into a loan.” Kate Carnell (Small Business Ombudsman) said.

Find more information and the list of participating lenders at the Australian Government Treasury website.

SMEs PAY UP AS PANDEMIC LOAN DEFERRALS END

As the initial wave of six month loan payment deferrals come to an end, banks have begun to contact customers for their six month assessment and to discuss the next stage of support and assistance. In response to Coronavirus, banks and other lenders offered their customers the ability to defer loan repayments for a period of up to six months. A significant portion of these repayment deferrals expire in September and October 2020. 

In total, 900,000 Australians have frozen $274 billion of debt, amounting to one in nine mortgages and one in six small business loans. This large figure is set to decrease at the end of month as repayments recommence. 

FEDERAL BUDGET 2020: WHAT’S IN IT FOR SMEs?
With an economy ravaged by the effects of Coronavirus, the federal government has outlined its plans to help the country rebuild post virus and get the Australian economy moving. There are big tax cuts for individuals and a number of significant boosts for businesses, all designed to increase spending and boost jobs.  Some of the key spending projects include:

·  $1.2 billion to help employ 100,000 new apprentices

·  $7.5 billion transport infrastructure projects spend

·  $1.5 billion strategy to increase competitiveness in the manufacturing industry

·  $800 million invested in a digital plan for business to adopt technology in recovery

·  $7million to support the mental health and financial wellbeing of SMEs

TALK TO AN EXPERT

If you need advice for your business amid the myriad of changes, speak to a trusted adviser such as an accountant, financial adviser or lawyer. Seeking trusted advice early can help you to better understand your options.

SMEs are facing a growing number of pressures and something almost all have in common is the challenge of managing their cashflow. Is your business one of them? Get in touch with one of our team here to tell us more.

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