Two-thirds of Australian SMEs say the rising Superannuation Guarantee is having a big impact on their business, outweighing new labour laws and ramped-up ATO collection activities at the top of the list of regulatory challenges for SMEs.

The headline finding is contained in the 10th anniversary edition of ScotPac’s SME Growth Index Report, Australia’s longest-running sentiment check of small and medium businesses.

From 2014 to 2021, Australian employers paid 9.5% of each eligible employee’s earnings into their nominated superannuation fund.

However, the figure has since risen to 11%, and two further increases are planned – to 11.5% in July 2024 and 12% in July 2025.

Both SMEs with declining or stable growth (67%) and those in a revenue growth phase (60%) identified the rising superannuation guarantee impost as their leading regulatory pain point.

Other standout insights on regulatory matters impacting SMEs  include:

  • Labour laws: 58% of SMEs backed the relaxation of new and existing employment regulations that have increased their costs and administrative burden.
  • Company tax cuts / ATO relief: 51% of SMEs want company tax cuts and relief from ATO collection activities, with 62% confirming they have been impacted by ATO debt in the past 18 months.
  • BAS compliance: 43% of SMEs want regular Business & Income Activity Statement requirements simplified, led by larger SMEs with more employees (47%).
  • Inflation / Cost of Living pressures: 35% of SMEs called for new regulatory measures to address inflation and cost of living pressures to cushion the flow-on impacts for their businesses.

ScotPac CEO, Jon Sutton, said the insights confirmed that new and amended regulations were felt more acutely by SMEs.

“In the current economic climate, SMEs are particularly sensitive to any cash flow and administration impacts associated with regulatory change, which explains why the super guarantee is a particular pain point,” Mr Sutton said.

“Unlike large corporations, SMEs generally don’t have dedicated teams to interpret regulatory changes, implement compliance measures and redraft company budgets.

“With the vast majority of Australia’s 2.6 million businesses being SMEs with less than 20 employees, it is important that regulators are mindful of the impacts of new regulations work collaboratively with business on their introduction.”

ScotPac has been helping Australian businesses optimise their cash flow to invest in growth opportunities and manage cost pressures for more than 35 years, in every type of operating environment.

With the largest and most flexible range of working capital products, backed by a market-leading technology platform, ScotPac makes it faster and easier than ever for SMEs and brokers to find the right finance solution for their business.

About ScotPac’s SME Growth Index – 2014-2024

ScotPac’s bi-annual SME Growth Index Report is Australia’s longest-running analysis of SME business sentiment, with a core focus on six-month growth forecasts.

The Round 20 research Report – which mark the 10th anniversary of the SME Growth Index Report – was conducted by East & Partners who interviewed 727 SME enterprises with annual revenues of A$1-20 million.

SMEs surveyed have operated continuously for 15 years and manage an average of 56.5 full time employees.

Sectors represented in the survey included Manufacturing (14%), Property & Business Services (14%), Retail (11%), Wholesale (12%), Personal & Other Services (10%), Construction (10%) and other industries including Transport & Storage, Mining, Agriculture, Media, Hospitality, Finance & Insurance (non-bank) and Electricity.


ScotPac is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME business lender, providing funding to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises exceeding $1 billion revenues. For 35 years ScotPac has helped thousands of business owners succeed, offering fast and flexible funding. From simple to complex, small to large, start up, growth or turnaround – ScotPac can help with a range of funding including Invoice Finance, Trade Finance, Asset Finance and Business Loans.


For more information contact:

Todd Hayward
Mob: 0412 205 151