Victorian businesses will now have access to a $1,200 rebate to put towards adopting new digital products, including cloud accounting tools, to assist them in their COVID-19 recovery.
Victoria’s Small Business Digital Adaptation Program is now open for registrations until 28 February 2021.
The program, part of the state government’s $3 billion Business Resilience Package, is open to sole traders as well as micro and small businesses that operate a business in Victoria, hold an ABN and are registered for GST as of 13 September.
Businesses not required to be registered for GST, including not-for-profit entities that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, are eligible for the program.
Registration spaces for the program will be limited to when the $20 million allocated funds are exhausted.
Eligible businesses will receive one purchase rebate of $1,200 to cover 12 months’ access to a digital product listed under the program.
These products include digital business management tools to adapt websites, transition to e-commerce and manage finances, including online accounting products.
Specific products have yet to be published, but the government expects to update its Business Victoria webpage with new product providers every two weeks until 31 December.
Products chosen by a business must be a new product not currently used by the business, or be an upgrade of an existing product with additional product features providing specific digital adaptation capability, or be a product that was used by a business more than one year ago that it is looking to resume using.
Renewals of existing product or software licences, or minor updates to existing products, and product not listed under the program will not be covered by the $1,200 rebate.
CPA Australia business and investment policy manager Gavan Ord welcomed the program and said it would provide low-tech businesses with a modest incentive to invest in their digital capability.
“The nature of the economic recovery that follows the COVID-19 crisis will depend in part on whether significantly more digitally capable small businesses emerge,” Mr Ord said.
“This program is part of the much higher investment that governments at all levels need to make to build the digital capability of small-business owners and the workforce. Ideally, we would like to see a version of this program adopted across Australia.
“COVID-19 has changed how many businesses deliver their products and services to clients, including shifting to online platforms. Larger business have been the major beneficiaries of this shift, winning overall online market share from smaller retailers. Now more than ever, small-business clients need to make digital capability a key plank of their post-pandemic business strategy.
“Accountants should encourage their small-business clients to take up the offer of digital assistance. Small-business clients who utilise this program are likely to fare better in the post-pandemic economy.”