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The changing face of small business in Australia: The Outback meets the Cloud

Posted 4 months ago in Small business by Sophie Lamell
Posted by Sophie Lamell

From bespoke shoe makers to outback adventurers, blacksmiths to conservationists, 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.

Justine Petrick of Outback Cycling and Joe Falzon of Earth Sanctuary share one defining trait: a deep connection with the dusty red sands of Alice Springs. As Joe explains, “Earth Sanctuary manifested as a result of my increasing awareness of climate change. The most important lesson from our indigenous people is to look after the land, and it will provide shelter and sustenance. I took this to heart, and with my three sons, set up the Earth Sanctuary as a sustainability centre.”

Similarly, Justine’s business celebrates the unique local landscape: “I started Outback Cycling with my husband 9 years ago. Cycling was a passion of ours and we knew people would love riding around the Alice. I’m proud of the fact that we have built a brand and product from absolutely nothing – we made our dream a reality.”

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 Justine and Joe have transitioned to cloud based accounting. With Single Touch Payroll requiring digital payroll reporting to the ATO, countless small businesses will move to using digital technology, some for the first time. And those that have already made the transition to digital systems say it has revolutionised the way they operate.

Justine has ditched desktop for good, explaining, “The technology we use is all cloud based, and we only select software that will integrate with our Xero accounting system.” While Joe has also made the change and seen the results to match, “Technology has saved us plenty of time, making our interactions with customers more efficient and educational, especially as time is of the essence when it comes to preparing for climate change.”

Transitioning to digital and trading numbers for 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. For Justine, “Monitoring the many aspects of our business can all be done quickly and from wherever I am, meaning I don’t have to be onsite all the time and can focus on other things that are important for the business.”

While Joe has traded numbers for experiences, “Managing the administrative side of the business is not an area we want to get bogged down in. It’s important, and has to be done correctly, so we rely on technology such as Xero to achieve this. Efficiencies in this area means I get more time with my grandchildren, and more time to educate and explore this ancient desert landscape.”

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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