MYOB survey reveals 1 in 4 small business owners not making any superannuation contributions

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Many small business owners struggle to make super payments.

MYOB’s latest survey has highlighted the burden of superannuation and EOFY tax payments on small business owners.

Many struggle to make payments due to cashflow issues and are forced to prioritise tax payments in lieu of superannuation contributions and future financial security.

Small businesses sacrifice future financial security as they prioritise tax over super

Superannuation payments pose a significant challenge to small business owners, with 1 in 4 owner operators not currently making any superannuation payments. Almost three in five businesses with revenue of less than $75k (58%) do not currently pay any super.

“Superannuation is complex and can be confusing for small business owners,” said Jane Betschel, Head of Customer Marketing and Direct Sales at MYOB.

“They may not fully understand their obligations as an employer, and they are also more likely to have fluctuating workforce arrangements. With variations in full-time, part-time or casual staff, it can be hard to keep track of the required payments.”

For the businesses that do make superannuation payments, almost a quarter (24%) of operators surveyed revealed they had issues meeting payments due to cashflow issues.

“We know that cashflow is one of the big pain points for businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises,” Ms. Betschel said.

“Owner operators may sacrifice their own super payments to ensure that payments owing to staff are met. They may also decide to pay bills that will keep the doors open today, at the expense of future, personal financial security.

“This is a reality for many small businesses.”

Further prioritisation occurs at end of financial year, when over two in five businesses (41%) admit to struggling in some way to pay their EOFY tax expenses. Approximately one quarter of small business owners stated that they always or mostly prioritise paying the tax bill over their superannuation expenses at this time of year.

Reservations about retirement: what happens next?

Having enough money to fund their retirement was the biggest concern for small business owners (19%), followed by the increasing cost of living (14%). With only three in five operators (59%) currently paying themselves superannuation, less than a third of operators felt very well or quite well prepared for their retirement (30%).

Ms. Betschel said these results reinforce areas for education and policy development.

“SMEs are the backbone of the Australian economy. It is our responsibility to support and educate small business owners on how to best manage their finances to improve their chances of success,” Ms. Betschel said.

Almost half of those surveyed (45%) were still more than 10 years away from retirement. Adjusting the amount of superannuation paid was the main method nominated by those not prepared for retirement to improve their situation (32%), followed by continuing to work and build the business (15%) and alternative investments (10%) to secure a comfortable retirement.

“There can be a bit of a grey area between business and personal finances for small business owners. Personal sacrifices can leave them on shaky ground come retirement,” Ms. Betschel said.

“Seeking out sound financial advice is an essential part of setting your business up for success. Managing your cashflow and understanding your P&L promotes better financial literacy and saving habits, which can enable super contributions as well as reduce the burden at tax time.”

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