As a small business owner how much do you love regulatory compliance? According to the ACCI second annual National Red Tape Survey, not very much. The 2013 survey has revealed the impact of perceived over-regulation of businesses in Australia in the hopes of evoking change at local, state and federal levels.

Below is a snapshot of some of the survey’s findings.

Businesses were asked to report the amount of time per week spent complying with local, state or federal government regulatory requirements.

  • 41% of businesses spent between 1 and 5 hours per week on compliance.
  • 19.4% of businesses reportedly spent between 6 to 10 hours per week.

How long do you spend?

Respondents estimated the annual cost of complying with various levels of government regulation.

  • 55.3% claimed they were unable to pass the cost of regulation compliance on to their customers.
  • 32.1% reported being able to pass only a small portion of the cost to customers.

The survey also asked businesses what the most expensive compliance activities were:

  • 71.2% nominated record keeping.
  • 61.2% felt understanding obligations cost them dearly.
  • 60.9% elected completing forms and preparing reports as the most costly to their business.

Do you currently have someone on staff to handle compliance and regulation issues for your business? Alternatively, could you afford to?

The majority of respondents (64.4%) believed compliance had some degree of negative impact on their business.

  • 42.8% felt a moderate negative impact.
  • 21.6% perceived a significant negative impact.
  • 37.2% reported that compliance had prevented the growth of their business; yet interestingly 44.6% declared it had not limited their ability to expand their business.

With such close numbers where do you stand? Has compliance prevented the growth of your business?


Businesses were also asked to rate the level of complexity of various areas of compliance and regulation.

  • Tax compliance obligations1 ranked as the third most complex in the list, garnering a combined 47.5% of responses.
  • 55.8% of respondents nominated workplace health and safety and workers compensation as the most complex.
  • Closely followed by employee wages, conditions and superannuation at 51.4%.

Do you find tax compliance challenging? Consider speaking to a financial expert.

Businesses overall (combined 62.4%3) felt that the industry was over-regulated, with the majority (56.8%) agreeing that government agencies should share business information save businesses time.

If you’ve found yourself agreeing with the findings of the survey, talk to your local representative about the difficulties you face with regulatory compliance. By influencing change locally you could help set the agenda for increased deregulation at state and federal levels.

Tell us about your experiences with compliance and regulation in the comments.

(All information was obtained from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry National Red Tape Survey)

About the National Red Tape Survey

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry National Red Tape Survey is designed to provide insights into the impact of regulatory compliance faced by Australian businesses. 839 businesses participated in the survey with most having between 1 and 49 employees.

1. Excluding actual payment e.g. record keeping, PAYG Tax, Payroll Tax.

2. 19.1% elected extremely complex and 28.4% selected very complex.

3. 24% believe their industry is over-regulated and 38.4% somewhat over-regulated.