- Tradies and consultants in NSW are the most confident in Australia – but QLD and WA still struggling
- “Lockdown-like” consumer hesitancy is having a negative impact on sole traders, with reports of canceled contracts
- Latest Sole Trader Pulse by specialist accountancy service Hnry and Resolve Strategic tracks the sentiment, views and experiences of Australia’s 1.5 million sole traders
Sydney, March 14: Australia’s sole traders are moving past the bulk of the economic damage and uncertainty wreaked by COVID-19 with new data showing confidence is on the rise.
But the Delta and Omicron waves have come at the cost of mental health, as excessive red tape and expensive – and time consuming – tax filings as well as a burdensome tax rate present additional headaches for sole traders.
The Hnry Sole Trader Pulse, conducted in the first week of March, recorded a 13 per cent boost in sole trader sentiment compared with October, a period when the nation was still contending with border closures, on the cusp of the Omicron outbreak and a further wave of long lockdowns lay ahead.
Sole traders in NSW reported a 22.5 per cent in overall sentiment, indicating that the NSW Government’s decision to press ahead with opening up as well as a falling or steady rate of Covid cases are having a positive effect on business optimism.
This compares to a 17 per cent increase in Victoria and a nine per cent increase in Queensland.
Conducted by Resolve Strategic between Feb 28 and March 6, the Hnry Sole Trader Pulse is Australia’s only regular and reliable survey of independent earners with an ABN, such as tradies, freelancers, and consultants.
The research is carried out on behalf of fintech Hnry, Australasia’s largest and fastest-growing digital accountancy service catering expressly to sole traders.
The rise in reported confidence for the nation’s independent earners – a fast growing and crucial sector of the national economy – was juxtaposed by less rosy news.
Sole traders also reported they find doing their taxes and BAS filings burdensome – spending an average of six hours a week and $300 plus a month on managing their tax admin and financial admin.
Sole traders have a clear message and request of the Government ahead of the Federal Budget on March 29 is for a simplified tax system to encourage and support training and lower income taxes.
“If small businesses are the backbone of the economy, sole traders are the backbone of the small business sector,” Hnry Australia Head Karan Anand said.
“Some 1.5 million Australians classify their primary occupation as “self-employed”, with total estimated earnings of around $90 billion a year. The number of sole traders is currently growing at a rate of 50,000 per annum.”
The survey also found that:
- More QLD and WA sole traders rated the economy as poor rather than good;
- Creatives and gig economy workers say they are still going backwards financially with 60 per cent of gig workers and 36 per cent of creative freelancers rating their business performance as poor last quarter;
- This is affecting their mental health with one in three gig workers rating it as poor;
- “Lockdown-like” consumer hesitancy is having a negative impact on sole traders.
- More than 50 per cent said they had clients “cancel or defer work due to Omicron” and 53 per cent of respondents rated current business conditions in the period as “similar to being in lockdown.”
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