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Issue 0019 Identifying Government Grants – How An Accountant Can Assist

Why do accountants assist their clients to identify grants?Australian Government Grant finder for Accountants

  1. Because they care.
  2. Small/medium enterprises pay their taxes, therefore, they believe the SME operators should have the opportunity to participate in the billions of dollars’ worth of grants and incentives that are available from the Federal, State and Territory governments.
  3. They believe grants assist in adding value to individual businesses, because grants normally introduce something new to assist the business’ performance.
  4. Grants can help operators improve their financial performance by receiving grants or incentives for which they might have a direct entitlement (eg Research and Development Rebate, Export Market Development Grant).
  5. Grants can assist individual businesses navigate financial difficulties following disasters. Accountants can give assistance with disaster grant applications that are applicable to primary producers and small businesses.
  6. Grants can assist business operators to work with a wider range of professionals, to improve your individual business operations to give you an insight on what other advisors can offer you, such as:
    1. factory and workshop layout
    2. farm management
    3. lean management
    4. workplace health and safety
    5. marketing
    6. sales
    7. information technology
    8. capital raising
  7. Accountants, offering business advisory services, can normally offer grant advice on an in-house basis. This mean that you don’t have to go to other consultants.

What are the key characteristics of grants?

The characteristics relative to grants vary, depending on:

  • Entity type.
  • Number of employees.
  • Years in business.
  • Location of your business.
  • Is the business registered for GST?
  • Does the business undertake export activities?
  • Does the business import products which are then exported, as part of other products or services?
  • Does the business undertake research and development activities?
  • Does the business develop new products, processes or services?
  • The type of industry in which the business operate?
  • What is the business’ turnover?

These are some of the key issues that are taken into account in determining grant eligibility.

New grant introduced by the Australian government

The Liberal government has released details of a new grant, the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, which commenced a phase-in period from 1 July 2014, with the release of the Business Evaluation Program.

Business Evaluation Program

After a business has undertaken the business evaluation, which is performed by a business consultant employed by the government free of charge, the business could be eligible for a Business Growth Grant to undertake specific activities that have been identified as beneficial to the business in the business evaluation. This program is targeted at businesses in 10 selected industry groups and can receive assistance of up to $20,000 on a 50% funding basis, to undertake a range of services that could improve the business’ operations.

Eligible Industries

The industry sectors that apply are:

  • Defence
  • Energy, Water and Waste Management
  • Freight and Logistics
  • Infrastructure Related Construction
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Manufacturing and Manufacturing Related Services
  • Medical and Pharmaceutical
  • Professional Services
  • Resources Technology (Mining, Oil and Gas)
  • Creative Industries
  • Tourism (some sectors)
  • All businesses that operate in remote or very remote locations

The minimum turnover for Creative Industries and Tourism is $1million. For businesses that operate in remote or very remote locations, the minimum turnover is $750,000. For other industries, the minimum turnover is $1.5million. To be eligible for the Business Growth Grant, each industry classification will have a maximum turnover of $100million. A wide number of businesses are potentially eligible for this grant. This is evident by the definitions of eligibility for the individual grants.

Defence

Any Australian-based company that provides, or has the capacity to provide, defence-specific goods or services in a supply chain, which leads to a Department of Defence, either domestically or internationally, is eligible to apply.

Energy, Water and Waste Management

This category is open to businesses that:

  • Provide services for the generation of energy from renewable and low-carbon sources.
  • Supplies equipment and technology used to reduce energy demand or increase energy efficiency.
  • Provide services in waste management, recycling, environmental assessment, monitoring and remediation.

Freight and Logistics

  • Applies to any business that provides services through the transportation of freight by road, rail, water or air.
  • Other transportation including postal and courier pickup, delivery services and pipeline transport.
  • Goods warehousing and storage.
  • Support services for transportation of freight, including:
    • stevedoring
    • harbour
    • navigation
    • airport operations
    • customs agency services

Infrastructure Related Construction

Applies to businesses operating in the construction industry, other than businesses operating in residential building construction. The definition includes:

  • businesses that operate in heavy and civil engineering construction services
  • land development and site preparation services
  • building structure services
  • building completion services
  • other construction services

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Includes businesses that operate in:

  • newspaper
  • book
  • directory
  • software
  • internet and music publishing
  • motion picture, video and sound recording
  • radio, television and internet broadcasting
  • telecommunication services
  • internet service providers
  • web search portals and data processing services
  • library and other information services

Manufacturing

Any type of manufacturing business is eligible to apply.

Manufacturing Related Services

A business that contributes to the transformation of manufactured products, including the reprocessing, re-use or recycling and meets one of the following conditions:

  • The service delivered is the business’ predominant activity and the business meets the eligibility threshold.
  • The service delivered is not the business’ predominant activity, but the business meets the eligibility threshold.

Examples of services that are considered to be manufacturing related services include:

  • research and development services
  • product design services
  • waste treatment and disposal services
  • engineering design and engineering consulting services
  • scientific testing and analysis services
  • computer system design and related services
  • packaging services
  • technical and vocational education and training
  • electronic (except domestic appliances) precision equipment repairs and maintenance
  • machinery equipment repair and maintenance

Medical and Pharmaceutical

  • businesses that provide services through the following areas:
  • scientific research services
  • scientific testing and analysis services, where related to medical and pharmaceutical
  • human pharmaceutical and medicinal product manufacturing
  • medical and surgical equipment manufacturing

Businesses that provide medical and other health care services include:

  • general practitioners
  • specialist medical providers
  • hospitals

Professional Services

Applies to businesses that provide services, which include:

  • scientific research
  • architectural
  • engineering and technical services
  • advertising services
  • other professional, scientific and technical services, which is defined as:
    • professional photography services
    • -       interpretation services
    • -       meteorological services
    • -       non-financial asset broking services
    • -       translation services
    • -       weather station operation
  • computer system design and related services

Resources Technology (Mining, Oil and Gas)

A business that receives a significant portion of their revenue, directly or indirectly from mining, oil or gas sector, for the provision of goods and services. Goods and services include the following but are not confined to:

  • supply of equipment
  • provision of maintenance of operation services
  • software development and implementation
  • engineering design or technical services
  • mining technical services
  • resource industry infrastructure development or maintenance

Mining includes:

  • exploration
  • mining (extraction)
  • quarrying and processing (including smelting and refining of metals, minerals and operations and maintenance and decommissioning and closure of mining operations)

‘Oil and gas’ refers to equipment and services used in the upstream oil and gas industries (offshore and onshore fields) and includes:

  • a range of activities from drilling
  • seismic acquisition and processing
  • operations and maintenance
  • design and construction
  • logistical support
  • laboratory testing
  • technical services

Creative Industries

Applies to businesses that provide services through:

  • design
  • publishing
  • software development
  • writing
  • architecture
  • photography
  • visual arts
  • television
  • radio
  • advertising
  • film
  • performing arts
  • music
  • games
  • interactive content

Tourism Sector

Applies to businesses that derive a significant (greater than 50%) portion of its turnover from:

  • tourism accommodation
  • tourism attraction
  • local food and beverage tasting experiences
  • tours
  • travel agency services

The business must derive a significant portion of its revenue from tourists (people who have travelled for a round-trip distance of at least 50km from home) and would cease either to exist in its present form or would be significantly affected if tourism were to cease.

Businesses in remote or very remote locations

Applies to businesses that operate in remote or very remote locations and meet the minimum turnover requirements of $750,000. They can operate in any type of business, as long as the business has an ABN. All other industry applicants must have an Australian Company Number (ACN) or have a company with an ACN that is acting as trustee of a trust. This is an extensive list and, if you believe that you are able to satisfy the eligibility requirements, please contact your accountant for a discussion.

Other grants and incentives

There are many other grants and incentives that might apply to your business, such as:

  • Export Market Development Grant – if you are exporting or proposing to export.
  • Research and Development Rebate – if you have spent more than $20,000 on research and development activities, which can include wages, and you operate your business as a company.
  • Apprenticeship Employment Rebates – some of which are only available if the particular trade is listed in the National Skills Needs’ List.

Accountants can assist

Accountants who are offering business advisory services can assist small business operators to identify grants for which you may be eligible. Accountants, offering business advisory services, can provide this assistance by utilising specialist software that has been developed to assist them to identify government grants that might be suitable for their individual clients. If you are interested in a wider range of services being offered to you, including the identification of government grants and incentives for which you might be eligible, don’t hesitate to have a discussion with your accountant in relation to these type of services. However, if your accountant is unable to supply these services, such as identifying government grants, we’d be happy to assist you by giving an introduction to an accountant within your location, who can supply these types of services. Please send an email to with your location and postcode and we will send you the names of accountants within your area, who are offering these types of services. To assist you in gaining an understanding of the type of report you would get back from an accountant offering business advisory services, on the availability of government grants, we are making available for download below a sample of a grant report for a fictitious business operating in the steel fabrication industry. Feel free to take this report with you for your next discussion with your accountant, so your accountant can view the type of report ESS BIZGRANTS’ system can produce.  

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Episode S019 Identifying Government Grants – How An Accountant Can Assist

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