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The changing face of small business in Australia: From tools to tacos

Posted 3 years ago in Xero news by Sophie Lamell
Posted by Sophie Lamell

From bespoke shoe makers to outback adventurers, artisan jewellers to tailors, the changing face of small business in Australia was captured in atmospheric detail at Xero’s Paper to Pixels exhibition. Small businesses have been experiencing a digital evolution, and the newly legislated Single Touch Payroll is only set to accelerate these changes. With photography by pioneering Instagrammer Lauren Bath, in this series we meet the people behind the pictures and discover how they’ve undergone a digital transformation.

Matt Mewburn and Simon Fischer are undisputed masters of their crafts. And while their outputs couldn’t be more different – namely blacksmithing and taco making – both thrive on creating from scratch, and have well and truly found their niche.

Matt of Eveleigh Works explains, “I started blacksmithing because I love making things – the stranger the better. I knew I wanted to work in something creative, and I figured that blacksmithing was the purest form of creation. Iron, fire and a hammer, it’s elemental!”

Trippy Taco founder Simon is another devotee of creating from heat, “In the mid-90s, I spent time in Mexico learning how to make fresh corn tortillas and salsas, and came back to Australia obsessed with making tacos. One day, my friends and I decided to host a party, and I ended up cooking tacos on a single burner camp stove in Byron Bay. Thus, Trippy Taco was born.”

Turning a lens on the digitisation of Australia’s small business economy, Paper to Pixels: The changing face of Australian small business captured the way in which people like Matt and Simon have transitioned to cloud based accounting. With Single Touch Payroll requiring frequent digital payroll reporting to the ATO, countless small businesses will move to using digital technology, some for the first time. Those that have already transitioned to digital systems say it has revolutionised the way they operate.

Matt says, “I’m proud and humbled that people allow me to do what I love everyday by supporting my business. Going digital is just the march of progress. There are a lot of great things to come from the digital age, and I’m astounded by the changes I’ve seen.”

Simon expresses the same sense of wonder at how his working life has evolved, “I’m proud of the business and culture I’ve created over the past 19 years, and that I’ve managed to survive and thrive for this long. From our beginnings in 2000, where a landline telephone was all we had, we now utilise multiple platforms for customer interface, delivery, point of sale, kitchen production, ordering supplies, bookkeeping, playing music… the list goes on.”

Transitioning to digital and trading spreadsheets for real-life experiences

By making the move to digital payroll software, small businesses don’t just discover a decrease in errors and increase in time, money and employee satisfaction: they gain the opportunity to do more of what matters.

Simon now has the space to prioritise his time, “I’ve learned to focus my energy on what’s important, and not spread myself too thin.Technology has certainly helped streamline certain areas of the business – there’s no turning back!”

While Matt can finally swap spreadsheets for the forge, “The tech that I’ve embraced in the office has reduced the time I have to spend on that part of the business, and I’m thankful for that – I’m always keen for something that makes my admin faster.”

Single Touch Payroll is here. Xero lets you file your pay runs with the ATO in a matter of clicks – and getting setup is a lot easier than you might think

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