GST . . . now that's what I call a retail opportunity

GST . . . now that's what I call a retail opportunity

Mainstream accounting package vendors are going into overdrive to promote GST-ready software solutions. MYOB has teamed with Microsoft to bundle the MYOB Office-Link, a combination of Office 2000 and the latest GST-ready version of the accounting package.

The combination as the Small Business Value Pack has an estimated retail price of $599, or with the payroll version of MYOB (SBVP Plus) for $749.

"We are coming up to a very crucial time of year for small businesses.

To survive the GST, they must take action to become GST-ready," MYOB Australia's managing director, Rob Evers, said.

And as well as announcing new versions and bundled deals, accounting software rival Quicken has enlisted the support of an interactive consultant Gang of Four, accounting information provider CCH and the Commonwealth Bank to distribute a CD to help small business owners come to terms with the impact of the GST on their businesses. Via the CD, businesses can generate a customised report and action plan which can be purchased for $295.

The complimentary CD-ROM, which will be sent to accountants and businesses, includes a video on details about the tax and a questionnaire designed to "tease out the information" required to produce a "road map" for businesses to become GST compliant, said Quicken's managing director Greg Wilkinson.

Quicken is currently running a national TV campaign to highlight the lack of understanding, but ultimately it's boxes of software going out the door that both vendors seek, so the grab is on in earnest for market share, and the potential market is substantial.

Quicken recently released the results of a survey that estimates less than 10 per cent of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) believe they are GST ready. The Quicken sponsored research of 200 SMEs nationwide found that 91 per cent of respondents did not think they were prepared for the introduction of the GST, while 75 per cent had sought advice on how to implement the tax.

Although 66 per cent said they still had a lot to learn about how the tax would affect their business, 48 per cent said they believed it would have a negative effect on their bottom line. Significantly, 23 per cent of SMEs surveyed said they had done nothing in preparation for the new tax system.

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