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Issue 0044 Some Accountants can Help you Identify Grants

Many small/medium enterprises have indicated to me that they’re looking for assistance from accountants to identify grants for which they might be eligible to apply. I know that many of you get upset when the first thing you know about a grant is when you hear that one of your competitors has received a grant. You ask a very legitimate question: “How come no one told me about the grant?”

It’s a realistic expectation of business operators that accountants, acting at the “trusted adviser” to small/medium enterprise clients, should be able to advise you on grants that are available. Billions of dollars are allocated in Australia each year, by the Federal, State and Territory governments, for grants, most of which are targeted at small/medium enterprises.

Are you receiving information about government grants? Have you actually received a government grant?

Grants that are available will supply financial assistance from the government, ranging from 25% to 75%, with the average being 50%. In these difficult economic times, I’m sure that grants will be very beneficial to your business, to undertake some work which, otherwise, you might’ve hesitated in doing.

 Some of the grants that can assist you and make a difference to your business operations include:

Business Growth Grant

This grant covers the government’s “priority industries”, including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
  • Food and Agribusiness

Enabling technologies and service industries that support one or more of the priority industries, including:

  • Professional Services – mainly scientific areas
  • Freight and Logistics
  • Infrastructure Related Construction
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Digital Technologies

These general business groups include over 650 different types of businesses, including most of the trades activities.

To be eligible, the business will have to operate as a company, have a minimum turnover of $1.5M and a maximum turnover of $100M. If the company is located in Northern Australia, which covers areas including Queensland and Western Australia North of the Tropic of Capricorn and the whole of the Northern Territory, the minimum turnover is $750,000.

The companies must have been operating for 3 years. The maximum grant available is $20,000 on a 50% contribution basis, which can be used by the company to do literally anything within the business that will improve the business’ performance. For example:

  • Budgets
  • Cashflow forecasts
  • Debtors’ analysis
  • Lean management review
  • Workplace Health and Safety review
  • Re-design of a factory
  • Corporate Governance reviews
  • Board of Directors mentoring

These are some of the tasks that can be conducted under this grant.

Accelerating Commercialisation Grant

This is a very popular grant, particularly targeted at someone who has developed a new product, process or service and needs assistance in the commercialisation phase.

This grant kicks in after the research and development phase has been finished. Anyone can apply for this grant, however if a grant is offered, the applicant must incorporate as a company. The turnover requirement is from NIL to $20M. Preference is given to applicants from one of the “priority industries” mentioned earlier, however any type of business is eligible to apply.

The potential grant is large, with grants of up to $1M on a 50% subsidy basis.

There’s a significant number of companies throughout Australia who have received grants under this program.

Research Connections

This is another grant that many people overlook. The grant is to assist small/medium enterprises to collaborate with research sectors such as universities, CSIRO and Australian Institute of Marine Science, to develop new ideas with commercial potential.

Grants of up to $50,000 on a 50% basis are available.

The grant is targeted at companies within the “priority industries” or a company that has been admitted to the Accelerating Commercialisation Grant program. The company must have a minimum turnover of $1.5M. For companies located within Northern Australia, the minimum turnover is $750,000. If the company has been in the Accelerating Commercialisation program, the minimum turnover could be as low as NIL.

Northern Australia Tourism Incentive

This grant only applies to Northern Australia. Businesses need to have a minimum turnover of $750,000. The business must have been operating for 3 years.

Grants of up to $20,000 on a 50% basis is available, to undertake literally any type of business improvement activity.

The applicants don’t have to be companies. They can be any type of business.

Industry Skills Fund

This is another very popular grant. The grant provides access to training so that a business operation is better placed to succeed in a rapidly changing economy.

The grant is available to any type of entity, not just companies, with preference given to “priority industries”, however other industries can apply.

The grant is determined by the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees within the business:

Type of Business Number of FTE Employees Grant
Other Parts of Australia Northern Australia
Micro Businesses 0-4 75% 75%
Small Businesses 5-19 66% 75%
Medium Businesses 20-199 50% 75%
Large Businesses 200+ 25% 50%

The business must have been operating for 3 years.

The Industry Skills Fund can supply a wide range of services, including mentoring and training in:

  • skills for tradespeople
  • strategic planning
  • marketing workshops
  • Corporate Governance
  • business plan understanding
  • business plan mentoring
  • advanced Quickbooks training
  • leadership skills for workshops
  • supervisors training key staff in new workshop processes
  • many other types of training

The key for this grant is that the business must intend to utilise the new skills that the employees are going to be equipped with within the business’ operations.

These are just some of the samples of grants that are available. There are hundreds of grants targeted at small/medium enterprises.

Find an Accountant/Adviser

If you would like to find an accountant who is proactive in supplying these types of services to small/medium enterprises, generally known as business advisory services, please utilise the Find an Accountant/Adviser directory within the ESS Small Business’ website. Please visit www.esssmallbusiness.com.au and click on “Find an Accountant/Adviser” menu tab. All you need to do is to type in your postcode and the system will then show you accountants in or near your postcode who offer a wider range of commercial services to small/medium enterprises.

ESS Small Business contains other free articles and articles for sale, prepared by approximately 20 other businesses, on a wide range of small/medium enterprise matters.

ESS Small Business also presents webinars, free of charge, covering a wide range of small business matters. These webinars are also recorded and are available for viewing.

Whilst you are on the ESS Small Business’ website, why not have a look at the offerings from a wide range of business people who are able to assist small/medium enterprises?

We will be presenting a webinar on “Grants that are Available to Assist your Business” on Monday 6th June 2016 at 12pm AEST. We invite you to attend this webinar, free of charge, to give you a more interactive overview of government grants for which your small/medium enterprise business might be eligible. Click here to register to attend.

If you have any questions on services that accountants can offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



 

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Episode 0044 Some Accountants can Help you Identify Grants

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