This article was last updated on Friday, 20 August 2021. For more information, visit Business Victoria.
The arrival of COVID-19 has transformed the lives of small business owners across the country. In Victoria, following shifting waves of lockdown restrictions, many have seen sales plummet and their doors temporarily close. As the state continues to move into new phases of recovery, the key to not only your business’ survival, but its continued growth, lies in boosting its digital capabilities across everything from online payments to automated processes.
To support any small businesses that are beginning their online journey, we’re excited to share that Xero has partnered with the Victorian government’s Small Business Digital Adaptation Program. On 19 August, it was announced that the program has been extended beyond its initial running period until 5 December 2021, unless Program funds are exhausted prior. To guide you in getting started, we’ve answered some key questions below.
What is the Victorian Government’s Small Business Digital Adaptation Program?
Compromising of a $20m investment in the sector, this program is designed to increase Victorian small business’ digital capability by encouraging them to trial new software. The program is open to Victorian businesses from all industry sectors.
How much is the reimbursement and do I need to be a new customer?
On the condition that you haven’t used the participating software before, you’ll be entitled to a reimbursement of $1,200 after buying a software subscription (see below for the full process and eligibility criteria).
All of which means that you’ll be eligible if you’re new to Xero’s online accounting software, or add a WorkflowMax subscription to your existing Xero subscription. The $1,200 rebate can go towards the subscription to any of our Starter, Standard or Premium plans.
What dates does the program run across?
The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program will run from 15 November 2020 to 5 December 2021 (digital product trials will be open across these dates), or until Program funds are exhausted. Businesses can trial products for free for up to one month, depending on the trial offered by each supplier and trial start date.
You can also register to participate in free digital adaptation workshops and seminars shown in an events calendar available at the program website. Workshops will be delivered online and face-to-face (subject to COVID restrictions) until 18 June 2021.
And when can I apply for the reimbursement?
Applications for purchase rebates of $1,200 to cover 12 months access to your chosen software product will be open from 1 December 2020 to 11.59pm on 5 December 2021, or until funds are exhausted.
Can I get multiple reimbursements across each of the participating software providers?
While you’re welcome to spread the $1,200 across a number of subscriptions, you will only receive the one reimbursement. Want to bundle your software? Xero integrates with participating software providers, Shopify and Square, so you can fully digitise your business.
Are there any other eligibility criteria that I need to know about?
In order to sign up for the program, you must:
- Have held a valid ABN since 13 September 2019
- Be a sole trader, micro business or small business
- Operate your business in Victoria
- Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator
- Be a new customer to the product
- Pay for the subscription yourself
I already have a website, why do I need more software for my business?
As Trent Innes, Xero’s Managing Director – Australia & Asia, explains, making the move online goes far beyond creating a website. “It’s about harnessing software to digitise everything from broadening your customer acquisition, to servicing your customers, to administrative tasks like payment processes – giving business owners back far more productive hours in the day.”
Not only do you stand to reduce admin, reach more customers and increase accuracy, but you’ll find yourself with more time to spend where it counts: investing in your business. And it all begins with uncovering the right software.
So, how does this program work and what do I need to do?
- Visit the program website here to trial the available digital products.
- Use the online ABN checker to assess validity before purchasing the eligible product of your choice.
- Complete an online application for the $1,200 purchase rebate, including supplying proof of purchase.
- Your business will be contacted six weeks after rebate eligibility is established to confirm ongoing use.
- Once you’ve confirmed continued use, you will receive a purchase rebate of $1,200 to cover 12 months access to your chosen product (The Victorian Government will pay within ten working days of receiving confirmation).
Is there any other support on offer though this program?
Registered businesses can attend free digital adaptation workshops offered via the Business Victoria website. Workshops will be delivered across Victoria in face-to-face (subject to COVID restrictions) and online formats.
The Victorian government’s Small Business Digital Adaptation Program is the ultimate incentive to discover the software that meets your businesses’ needs. The road to recovery may be long and bumpy, but by arming your business with the right tools, you can set yourself up to succeed – now and into the future.
I’m a business adviser, what should I know?
The most important things to remember are:
- The small business must register on the program website prior to purchasing software directly to be eligible
- Bulk uploads and ledger upgrades will most likely qualify for the rebate so long as the client has registered for the program and the subscription is paid for the client directly.
- If you have questions about qualification criteria, we recommend calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for advice.
Will my client need to be the subscriber for this program to be successful for reimbursement?
Yes, your client must register for and pay for the new subscription directly.
What if the partner holds the subscription?
The partner cannot receive the rebate on behalf of the client.
Are ledger upgrades included?
Yes, so long as the client registers for the program and the upgraded subscription is transferred to them.
Can partners upload clients in bulk to Xero plans or does this need to happen one by one?
Yes. However, the client must i) be a new subscriber (or be reinstating a subscription that has lapsed for at least 12 months), ii) must register for the program before being transferred the subscription and iii) pay for the subscription directly
Can you upgrade and transfer out from ledger/cashbook/Payroll only?
Yes, so long as the business registers for the program before the upgraded product is transferred to them. Upgrading an existing product with additional product features that provide specific digital adaptation capability will qualify.
Does this apply for someone using another accounting software and transferring to Xero?
Can I speak with someone to confirm my client will qualify?
I’d like help finding an advisor to help me grow my business, where can I go?
Choosing an accountant or bookkeeper is like choosing a new business partner. The right advisor will become a trusted colleague you can depend on, who offers advice and guidance as your small business grows. Check out Xero’s Advisor Directory to find the right advisor to match your needs.
To kick-start your business’ digital journey, visit Xero’s dedicated Victorian Government’s Small Business Digital Adaptation Program sign up page here.