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The Money.com.au study into businesses investing in capital in FY21

May 2020

About the study

Money.com.au conducted an independent survey of 261 Australian businesses – 88 per cent of which are SMEs. It sought to find out whether, before COVID-19, businesses planned to invest in capital in FY21, how much they planned to invest, and which asset categories they would invest in.

Money.com.au surveyed businesses across a range of sizes: micro (1-10 employees), small (11-50 employees), medium (51-200 employees) and large (more than 200 employees).

Will businesses be making capital purchases in FY21?

The survey revealed that two in three businesses (66 per cent) were planning to invest in equipment, vehicles or other capital in FY21. A greater proportion of small businesses were likely to invest in capital: 88 per cent of large businesses, 91 per cent of medium businesses and 92 per cent of small businesses. However, only 41 per cent of micro businesses planned to make capital purchases in FY21.

Across the States, more WA businesses (78 per cent) are likely to be purchasing capital in the upcoming financial year. This compared with 43 per cent of ACT businesses and 61 per cent of businesses in Victoria.

How much are businesses planning to invest in FY21?

A quarter (26 per cent) of businesses were planning to invest in assets of up to $50,000, 40 per cent in assets of up to $100,000 and three-quarters (74 per cent) in assets of up to $150,000 – the new and temporary purchase threshold of the Government’s instant asset write-off scheme.

Among businesses intending to invest this financial year, four in five micro businesses (85 per cent) planned to invest up to $100,000, compared with half (50 per cent) of small businesses, 34 per cent of medium-sized businesses and 37 per cent of large businesses intending to do the same.

Across the States, three in four (77 per cent) Victorian businesses planned to invest up to $100,000 in the upcoming financial year, compared with two in three (64 per cent) of those predominantly based in South Australia, and more than half (55 per cent) from Queensland businesses.

What will businesses be investing in?

When asked which asset categories they would invest in, nearly half (48 per cent) of businesses said they planned to invest in vehicles. Small businesses were most likely to invest in this category than any other size organisation, at 53 per cent. This compared with just 42 per cent of micro businesses.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of businesses said they would invest in equipment and machinery, and 25 per cent said they would invest in furniture.

Eligibility, thresholds, and changes to the instant asset write-off scheme

The instant asset write-off threshold – a cash flow benefit which allows businesses to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets – was increased from $30,000 to $150,000 in March as part of a coronavirus support measure for businesses. As part of this, it opened up access to businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million, previously $50 million. However, the new thresholds only apply until 30 June. From 1 July, the criteria will change again to be applicable to purchases of up to $1000 and available only to small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million.

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