One of the 2015 Federal Budget announcements to garner the most attention was the temporary increase to the instant asset write-off, which enables small businesses with an annual turnover of under $2 million to claim back purchases of up to $20,000.
The rebates are in effect until June 30, 2017 as an immediate payment, eliminating the need to claim those purchases as deductions spread over several years. This provides owners with a great opportunity to upgrade the tools used by their small business, particularly with the technology they use.

Technology is increasingly becoming more important to the way that we do business, but why is it important that we make a concerted effort to upgrade?

As technologist Paul Wallbank explains, the spend on technology doesn’t just benefit the small business, but rather the community as a whole as new equipment is designed with current security requirements in mind. While the data of the small business and their commercial partners will be more secure with new software and hardware, the personal information of their customers will also be more secure.

Wallbank cites the Cybercrime 2015 event in Sydney where TrendLabs’ Myla Pilao described some of the threats facing businesses and cited Point Of Sale systems (POS) as one of the top security risks. Pilao reported that six percent of Australian cash registers are infected with malicious software. This compromises the security of customer data with every transaction.

Highlighting the need to upgrade technology, it is believed that most of the infected POS terminals would be older units which is likely running software on versions of Windows that are no longer supported by Microsoft and have not been patched or upgraded since they were initially bought.

As technology and related systems evolve, so too does the sophistication of security and encryption. Older hardware connected to your computer network, such as workstations, routers, POS systems, and even photocopiers/scanners can pose a risk to the security of your network and the data stored within.

With every new generation of technology, the quality of the output is generally improved. Printers provide higher resolution printing, phone systems improve audio clarity and increase in functionality, office Internet routers offer greater bandwidth and security, video/TV/computer screens get bigger with higher resolution, etc.

New technology in the workforce can have a considerable effect on staff, with several direct and flow-on effects.

The purchase of new and better tools to perform work function is a sign to the employee that the company values the work that they perform and are willing to invest money into assisting them to performing at a higher standard. Furthermore, new tools to perform ones job encourages staff to think more actively about how they conduct their daily duties, prompting greater engagement.

Staff today are increasingly expectant of working within what is known as the ‘connected employee experience‘. This is the culmination of the interactions an employee experiences during their day-to-day workflow, which is governed by the way employees engage within the business through a network of people using a variety of technologies. With technology serving as the bedrock for employee interaction and workflow connectivity, old and inefficient technology can make the work experience dispiriting.

Quite simply, newer technology enables us to process work faster and more efficiently.

With faster computer processors, employees spend less time waiting for machines to process high volumes of data. Faster processing time also speeds up transactions, which can be helpful in a retail environment where reducing the time spent on transactions is highly valued.

The cloud revolution is also benefited greatly by embracing new computer hardware as most new operating systems and platforms are designed with heavy cloud integration firmly in mind. Integrating cloud processing into your business leads to a more robust and flexible work environment, established through the provision of greater access to computer networks.

In using the cloud, no longer are staff confined to the desktop to access specific software packages, but rather staff can access and input information from anywhere across the business – be it in a corporate office, on a shop floor, in a warehouse, or off-site. For example, cloud access to networks through smartphones and tablets can assist staff on the floor handle inventory, place orders, and process customer payments.

Tying into employee morale, the employment of cloud platforms into the daily work life of your staff also provides greater ability to work remotely, including from home – providing staff greater freedom in achieving a work/life balance. This is added functionality with benefits that flow through the workplace more generally.

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The $20,000 tax rebate has the potential to give small business owners the opportunity to update the equipment they use. Behind the scenes technology is often the last expenditure that many small business owners want to make, but with so much of the work we conduct these days driven by desktop and mobile computers, it’s important that these areas aren’t neglected. With security at stake, along with simply improving the quality and flexibility of work platforms, computing technology is a core area of consideration a small business must take while they have this tax rebate opportunity available to them.