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Characteristics of Australian Business methodology

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Explanatory notes

Overview

The Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) is an annual survey and is the vehicle for estimates in business use of information technology; innovation; and a broad range of other non-financial business characteristics. The 2019-20 BCS collected detailed information relating to business use of IT. In response to the impact of COVID-19 and to reduce provider reporting burden, some questions relating to general business characteristics, non-core innovation and business use of IT were removed for the 2019-20 reference period (please refer to the content changes section for more detailed information).

The Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) is currently going through a redevelopment process; the survey will be "decoupled" into separate collections to capture more detailed information on the two principal topics (i.e. innovation and Business Use of IT). The redeveloped BCS Innovation module will be run biennially as a stand-alone survey with a two-year reference period to align more closely with international practices. The collection of Business Use of IT (BUIT) and general characteristics topics will be combined in a single survey to be run biennially. The two surveys will be conducted on alternating reference years, with the first Innovation focused collection to cover the 2020-21 reference period and the first BUIT/Characteristics collection to be run for the 2021-22 reference period.

Statistical unit

The Economics Unit Model is used by the ABS to describe the structure of Australian businesses and other organisations.

The model consists of four types of units:

  • The Enterprise Group (EG)
  • Legal Entities (LEs)
  • Type of Activity Units (TAUs)
  • Location Units

Businesses contributing to the estimates in this publication are sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) and are selected at either the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit or the Type of Activity Unit (TAU) level, as described below.

In the BCS, the statistical unit used to represent most businesses, and for which statistics are reported, is the ABN unit. The ABN unit is the business unit which has registered for an ABN, and thus appears on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) administered Australian Business Register (ABR). These units are suitable for ABS statistical needs when the business is simple in structure and are generally referred to as the non-profiled population. In these instances, one ABN equates to one statistical unit.

For more significant and diverse businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical needs, the ABS maintains its own unit's structure through direct contact with the business, and the statistical unit used is the TAU. A TAU comprises one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)). These units are generally referred to as the profiled population.

Classification of units

ANZSIC is used to classify the industry in which the TAU or ABN has productive activity. Further information on this classification can be found in Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0).

The Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) provides a framework for dividing the Australian economy into institutional sectors. Further information on this classification can be found in Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2008 (Version 1.1).

Scope and coverage

The scope of the estimates in this publication consists of all employing business entities in the Australian economy, except for:

SISCA 3000 General government

SISCA 6000 Rest of the world

ANZSIC06 Division O Public administration and safety

ANZSIC06 Division P Education and training

ANZSIC06 Groups 624 (Financial asset investing) and 633 (Superannuation funds)

ANZSIC06 Groups 954 (Religious services) and 955 (Civic, professional and other interest group services)

ANZSIC06 Subdivision 96 Private households employing staff.

The frame for the BCS is a subset of the ABSBR and includes employing businesses only. These are defined as those businesses which register for the ATO's Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme. It is not unusual for some of these 'employing businesses' to have zero employment at various times during the reporting period. The BCS frame is updated to take account of new businesses, businesses that have ceased employing, changes in employment levels, changes in industry and other general business changes. Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the ATO cancels their ABN and/or PAYGW registration. In addition, businesses with less than 50 employees, which did not remit under the PAYGW scheme in each of the previous five quarters, are removed from the frame. The estimates in this publication include an allowance for the time it takes a newly registered business to be included in the survey frame.

Survey methodology

Collection of data included in this release was undertaken based on a random sample of approximately 7,000 businesses via online forms or mail-out questionnaires. The sample was stratified by industry and an employment-based size indicator. All businesses on the ABSBR identified as having 1,000 or more employees were included in the sample.

Reference period

The reference period for most of the characteristics items included in the 2019-20 BCS is during the year ended 30 June 2020 or as at 30 June 2020.

Defining "innovation"

The BCS draws on the conceptual definitions and guidelines included in the 'Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data' (Fourth Edition, 2018)'. This manual provides a framework for the collection of innovation statistics and specifies the definitions of innovating businesses and innovation-active businesses that are used by the ABS. The BCS draws on this manual for the questions used in the BCS and in the presentation of outputs from the survey.

Key indicators of innovation include measures of business innovation (innovating, innovation-active); types of innovation (goods or services, processes); and status of innovation (introduced, still in development, abandoned). Definitions for each of these measures of business innovation are provided in the Glossary.

Business counts in this release and comparability with others published by the ABS

Estimates of the number of businesses operating in Australia can be derived from a number of sources within the ABS. They may relate to a particular point in time or may be presented as an average annual figure. However, these estimates will not always show the same results. Variations will occur because of differing data sources, differing scope and coverage definitions between surveys, as well as variations due to sampling and non-sampling error. More information about business counts can be found in the Information Paper: A Statistical View of Counts of Businesses in Australia, Jun 2005.

The BCS is not designed to provide high quality estimates of numbers of businesses for any of the output classifications (for example, employment size or industry) and the number of businesses in this publication are only included to provide contextual information for the user. The estimate of the total number of businesses may not be equal to the sum of each employment size range due to rounding of business counts to the nearest thousand. A more robust source of counts of Australian businesses is available from Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jul 2016 to Jun 2020.

Output classifications

For output purposes, businesses are classified to employment size ranges based on actual data reported in the survey. Since 2018-19, outputs for some data items in the 0-19 employment size range (small businesses) are made available. For industry output, the classification is drawn from information held about the business on the ABSBR.

Availability of state/territory output

The sample is designed to produce efficient estimates for industry and employment size at the national level; therefore, it does not provide quality estimates for states/territories. As estimates may not reflect change over time for a selected state/territory or adequately enable comparison between states/territories, they are not available.

Rounding and other adjustments

Estimates of proportions have been calculated using unrounded figures but are shown in the tables rounded to one tenth of a percentage point. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and the total. Figures presented in the commentary have been rounded to the whole percentage. 

Acknowledgement

ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments, and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Content changes

The 2019-20 BCS was amended to reduce burden on Australian businesses.

Some questions relating to general business characteristics, non-core innovation and business use of IT were removed for the 2019-20 reference period.

Three new questions were added to the Use of IT section of the survey form:

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) used;
  • Factors preventing or limiting businesses from using ICTs; and
  • Sources of IT support.

Response option changes were made to the following questions:

  • business performance comparison for the current year compared to the previous year;
  • factors significantly hampering innovation;
  • connection types to access the internet;
  • paid cloud computing services used; and
  • management practices implemented for the use of ICT.

The 2019-20 BCS questionnaire can be found at the bottom of the Methodology section.

Technical Note Data Quality

Introduction

When interpreting the results of a survey, it is important to consider factors that may affect the reliability of the estimates. Estimates in this publication are subject to both non-sampling and sampling errors.

Non-sampling errors

Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of the data and can occur even if there is a complete enumeration of the population. These errors can be introduced through inadequacies in the questionnaire, treatment of non-response, inaccurate reporting by respondents, errors in the application of survey procedures, incorrect recording of answers, and errors in data capture and processing. 

The extent to which non-sampling error affects the results of the survey is difficult to measure. Every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, efficient operating procedures and systems, and the use of appropriate methodology.

Some of the items collected in the BCS are dynamic in nature and the concepts measured are subject to evolution and refinement over time; it is not possible to measure the impact of these changes on data quality.

The approach to quality assurance for the BCS aims to make the best use of ABS resources to meet user prioritised requirements - both in terms of data quality and timing of release. The approach specifies the level and degree to which each data item is quality assured, noting that only some of the total output from the BCS can be quality assured to the highest standards. Different priorities are assigned to groups of data items, with highest priority being assigned to key point in time data on business use of IT and innovation.

The 2019-20 BCS had a response rate of 91%.

Sampling error

The difference between estimates obtained from a sample of businesses, and the estimates that would have been produced if the information had been obtained from all businesses, is called sampling error. The expected magnitude of the sampling error associated with any estimate can be estimated from the sample results. One measure of sampling error is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the degree to which an estimate may vary from the value that would have been obtained from a full enumeration (the 'true' figure). There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate differs from the true value by less than one standard error, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

The following is an example of the use of standard error on the estimated proportion of businesses with a DSL internet connection. If the estimated proportion of businesses with a DSL internet connection was 41.3% and the standard error of this estimate was 1.0. There would be approximately two chances in three that a full enumeration would have given a figure in the range of 40.3% and 42.3%, and nineteen chances in twenty that it would be in the range of 39.3% to 43.3%.

In this publication, indications of sampling variability are measured by relative standard errors (RSEs). The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the percentage errors likely to have occurred due to sampling, and thus avoids the need to refer to the size of the estimate. Relative standard errors are shown in the Relative Standard Error table in this section. RSEs for all data included in this release (including data cube content) are available upon request.

To annotate proportion estimates, a value of 50% has been used in the calculation of RSE rather than the estimated proportion from the survey data. This avoids inconsistencies between the way very low and very high proportions are annotated. Relative standard errors for estimates in this publication have been calculated using the actual standard error and the survey estimate (referred to as x) in the following manner: RSE%(x) = (SE(x)*100)/50.

Using the previous example, the standard error for the estimated proportion of businesses with a web presence was 1.0%. Multiplied by 100 and then divided by 50 gives an RSE calculated on this basis of 2.0%. It is these figures that appear in the table appended to this chapter.

Estimates may have corresponding RSE range values annotated. Depending on the level of RSE, data should be used with caution. Estimates with RSEs between 10% and 25% are subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Estimates with RSEs between 25% and 50% are subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes and estimates with an RSE greater than 50% indicate that the sampling variability causes the estimates to be considered too unreliable for general use.

Estimates with an annotated RSE of between 10% and 25% should be used with caution as the estimate from full enumeration could lie more than a decile away. For example, a proportion estimate of 30% with this RSE annotation, means the full enumeration value could lie beyond the range 20% to 40%. Estimates with an annotated RSE of between 25% and 50% could lie more than a quartile away and is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. A proportion estimate of 30% annotated with this RSE annotation, means the full enumeration value could lie beyond the range 5% to 55%. Proportion estimates annotated with RSE greater than 50% have a sampling error that causes the estimates to be considered too unreliable for general use.

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Relative Standard Errors, selected indicators, by employment size(a), 2019-20
 0-4 persons5-19 persons0-19 persons20-199 persons200 or more personsTotal
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Businesses with:
internet access1.01.10.70.40.00.7
Businesses that:      
placed orders via the internet2.62.82.04.05.61.9
received orders via the internet2.83.12.25.78.12.1
Innovation indicators      
Businesses with:
introduced innovation2.53.82.35.68.42.3
innovation still in development1.93.31.85.57.11.7
abandoned innovation1.52.21.33.91.51.2
any innovative activity (innovation-active businesses)2.74.02.45.17.92.3

(a) RSEs for 2019-20 are on a proportions basis.

Glossary

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3D Printing

3D printing is the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.

3G/4G

The terms 3G and 4G refer to generations of mobile network technology. 3G is an older technology associated with the first wave of touch-screen smartphones. 4G is a newer technology that delivers much faster speeds and supports more intensive mobile activity such as streaming.

5G

Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the latest iteration of cellular technology, engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction. Particular applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

Blockchain technology

Decentralised, distributed, digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of subsequent blocks.

Broadband

Defined by the ABS as an 'always on' internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256kbps.

Cable

Describes those technologies including coaxial cable, fibre optic cable and hybrid coaxial cable which are capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing refers to IT services that are used over the internet to access software, computing power and/or storage capacity.

Collaboration

Active joint participation with other organisations which involves some sharing of technical or commercial risk. Straight fee-for-service arrangements are not deemed to be collaborative and are therefore excluded.

Customer Relationship Management software (CRM)

CRM is a technology for managing all a company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

There are 3 types of CRM systems: Operational, Analytical and Collaborative.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

More properly referred to as xDSL as this covers several digital technologies (e.g. Asymmetric DSL or ADSL and Symmetric DSL or SDSL) for fast two-way data connections over the public switched telecommunications network.

Debt finance

Includes any finance the business must repay.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

EDI is the computer to computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners. For example:  Buyers internal system sending a purchase order online and receiving an invoice online from the supplier’s internal system.

Enterprise resource planning software (ERP)

ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning, is a modular software system designed to integrate the main functional areas of an organisation’s business processes in a unified system

Some examples of the types of processes that ERPs can be applied to are: Financial operations, Human resources, Production & distribution, Orders & inventory.

Equity finance

Includes finance provided in exchange for a share in the ownership of the business.

Financial reference period

Financial year ended 30 June 2020. Businesses with a different financial year were asked to report for a 12-month period between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.

Fixed Wireless Internet access

A terrestrial point-to-point microwave or radio link, generally building to building or tower to building, which allows subscribers within the receiving building to access the internet.

Innovation

An innovation is the introduction of a new or significantly improved good or service; operational process; organisational/managerial process; or marketing method.

Innovative activity

Innovative activity includes any work that was intended to, or did, result in the introduction of an innovation.

Internet of things (IoT)

System of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Examples of IOT devices include: Universal remote control, smart power plug, smart light switch, home voice controller eg, Google home voice controller.

Measures of business innovation

Measures of business innovation included in this release:

Innovating businesses - businesses that introduced any type of innovation during the reference period.

Innovation-active businesses - businesses that had undertaken any innovative activity during the reference period including introduction of any type of innovation; and/or the development or introduction either still in progress or abandoned.

Non innovation-active businesses - businesses that, during the reference period, did not undertake any innovative activity.

 Order

 A commitment to purchase goods or services.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID is the wireless non-contact use of radio frequency waves to transfer data.

Examples of use:  Tracking inventory and assets, limiting access to building etc.

Status of innovation

Three statuses of innovation are included in this release:

Introduced - the business successfully introduced an innovation during the reference period (although the innovation does not need to have been commercially successful).

Still in development - the business was in the process of developing or introducing an innovation during the reference period but work on the innovation was still in progress at the end of the period.

Abandoned - the business abandoned the development and/or introduction of an innovation during the reference period (i.e. work on the innovation ceased without full introduction occurring).

Types of innovation

Two types of innovation are included in this release:

Goods or services - any good or service or combination of these which is new to a business (or significantly improved). Its characteristics or intended uses differ significantly from those previously produced/offered. This includes significant changes to aesthetic design or packaging.

Process - any new or improved business process for one or more business functions that differs significantly from the firm’s previous business processes and that has been brought into use in the firm.

Quality Declaration - Summary

Institutional environment

The statistics presented in this release are compiled from the 2019-20 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS). The BCS provides population/cross sectional estimates for a range of business characteristics topics and themes (e.g. use of information technology and innovation). The survey also provides characteristics data for the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE). BCS is conducted under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Relevance

The collection of annual point in time core characteristics data including key indicators of Information Technology (IT) use and innovation with more detailed information collected for these two topics in alternating years. Population and cross-classified outputs can be produced for most BCS content not just use of IT and innovation.

Timeliness

The reference period for most of the characteristics items included in the BCS is during the year ended 30 June or as at 30 June.

Key indicators related to use of IT and innovation in Australian business are published within 12 months of the end of the reference period.

Accuracy

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its industry collections, while minimising the reporting burden on businesses. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing.

The approach to quality assurance for the BCS aims to make the best use of ABS resources to meet user prioritised requirements, both in terms of data quality and timing of release. The approach specifies the level and degree to which each data item is quality assured, noting that only some of the total output from the BCS can be quality assured to the highest standards. Different priorities are assigned to groups of data items, with highest priority being assigned to key point in time data on business use of IT and innovation.

Some of the items collected in the BCS are dynamic in nature and the concepts measured are subject to evolution and refinement over time. As changes are made to the questions, survey scope and survey procedures, it is not possible to measure the impact of all these changes on data quality.

In this publication, indications of sampling variability are measured by relative standard errors (RSEs). The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the errors likely to have occurred due to sampling, and thus avoids the need to refer to the size of the estimate.  For more information about the sampling errors, please refer to the Technical Note for this release.

Coherence

There are established international frameworks or reporting models for the collection of use of IT and innovation data (i.e. the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) model questionnaire and OSLO Manual respectively). The application of these in ABS collections is in the context of the Australian situation and, for some elements, it is not appropriate to adhere to the international framework, although they are used, where possible, in the BCS.

The System of National Accounts and the Australian Accounting Standards are used for directly collected or administrative data as appropriate. The survey uses Standard Question Wording (which are used in most ABS economic business-based collections) to collect standard financial data items. A core set of characteristics questions have been developed.

Interpretability

Further information on the technical aspects (including item definitions) associated with the statistics from the BCS can be found in the Explanatory Notes and Glossary associated with this release.

Accessibility

In addition to the main features, data (in spreadsheet format) is included on the ABS website and ABS.Stat (Beta).

Prior to 2017-18, BCS data was published in separate releases (previous cat. no. 8166.0, 8158.0, 8129.0 and 8167.0). From 2017-18, BCS releases are published in one issue, Characteristics of Australian Business.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, inquiries can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Questionnaire

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Business Characteristics Survey 2019-20
 
PART 1 - BASIC BUSINESS INFORMATION
  
1Period covered by data on this form
 [NOTE]
 · This form is for the financial year ended 30 June 2020. If this business has a different financial year please advise.
 · Tick one box. 
 ☐ 1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020
 ☐ 1 January 2019 - 31 December 2019
 ☐ Other (please specify)
  
PART 2 - EMPLOYMENT
  
2Number of persons working for this business during the last pay period ending in June 2020
 Including:Excluding:
 · Persons paid a retainer, wage or salary· Employees paid under the Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme
 · Persons paid a wage or salary subsidised by JobKeeper payments· Contractors paid on invoice
 · Full-time and part-time employees· Persons paid by commission only (i.e. a retainer/wage/salary is not paid)
 · Permanent, temporary and casual employees· Non salaried directors
 · Managerial and executive employees· Self-employed persons such as consultants and contractors who are not employees, working proprietors or partners of this business
 · Employees absent on paid or prepaid leave· Volunteers
 · Employees on workers compensation who continue to be paid through the payroll 
 · Contract miners paid through the payroll 
  
 (a) Working proprietors and partners if this is an unincorporated business (e.g. sole trader, partnership or joint venture)
 (b) Salaried directors if this is an incorporated business (e.g. Pty Ltd)
 (c) All other employees
 (d) Total number of persons (sum of Questions 2(a) to 2(c))
  
PART 3 - BUSINESS STRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS
  
3Was this business a home-based business as at 30 June 2020?
 Definition: A home-based business has no other premises owned or rented by the business other than the home(s) of the working proprietors, partners or directors. A home-based business may include the situation where an office, workshop or studio is located in a separate structure from the home residence but is still on the same grounds. However, there must not be any other business locations outside of these grounds.
 ☐ No
 ☐ Yes
  
4Did this business enter into any formal agreement or contract to supply goods or services to any government agency during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 Including:Excluding:
 · New, renewed and renegotiated agreements or contracts· Government transactions with no formal agreement or contract
 (a) No formal agreement or contract
 (b) Yes, federal government
 (c) Yes, state/territory or local government
  
5Compared to the previous year, did any of the following decrease, stay the same or increase?
 [NOTE: Tick one of the following per row: 'Not applicable', 'Decreased since last year', 'Stayed the same as last year', or 'Increased since last year']
 (a) Income from sales of goods or services
 (b) Range of goods or services offered
 (c) Profitability
 (d) Productivity
 (e) Total number of jobs or positions
 (f) Export markets targeted
 (g) Contracting out work or outsourcing
 (h) Structured/formal training for employees (including attendance at training, workshops and seminars)
 (i) Information and Communication Technology/digital skills or capabilities of employees
 (j) Expenditure on Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
 (k) Social contributions (e.g. specific community enhancement projects, charity contributions or support)
  
6Did this business offer any of the following working arrangements to any employees during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Flexible work hours (e.g. to enable employees to deal with non-work issues)
 (b) Ability to buy extra annual leave, cash out annual leave or take leave without pay
 (c) Selection of own roster or shifts
 (d) Job sharing
 (e) Ability for staff to work from home
 (f) Paid parental leave
 (g) Flexible use of personal sick, unpaid or compassionate leave (e.g. to care for other people who are sick)
 (h) None of the above working arrangements
  
7During the year ended 30 June 2020, to what extent did this business focus on the following when assessing overall business performance?
 [NOTE: Tick one of the following per row, 'Not at all', 'A small extent', 'A moderate extent' or 'A major extent']
 (a) Financial measures (e.g. profits, sales growth, returns on investments)
 (b) Cost measures (e.g. budget, cost per unit of output, inventory cost)
 (c) Operational measures (e.g. asset utilisation, on-time delivery)
 (d) Quality measures (e.g. customer satisfaction, defect rates)
 (e) Innovation measures (e.g. new processes, new value added products)
 (f) Human resources (e.g. job satisfaction, skills development)
 (g) Environmental measures (e.g. recycling program, adherence to environmental regulations, sustainability considerations, carbon footprint analysis)
  
PART 4 - FINANCE
  
8Did this business receive any financial assistance from Australian government organisations during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Government organisations include federal, state/territory and local government. Tick all that apply.]
 Including:Excluding:
 Financial assistance relating to:· Tax deductions for normal business expenses
 · employment (e.g. apprenticeship/traineeship rebates)
 · starting or expanding this business
 · R&D, innovation and/or exporting
 · hardship (e.g. natural disasters, COVID-19)
 (a) Grants
 (b) Ongoing funding
 (c) Subsidies (e.g. JobKeeper)
 (d) Tax concessions
 (e) Rebates
 (f) Other (please specify)
 (g) No government financial assistance received
  
9Did this business seek any debt or equity finance during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Debt finance includes any finance that the business must repay. Equity finance includes any finance which is provided in exchange for a share in the ownership of the business]
 ☐ No [Go to Q11]
 ☐ Yes [Go to Q10]
  
10Why did this business seek debt or equity finance during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Ensure survival of business (i.e. to 'stay afloat')
 (b) Maintain short-term cash flow or liquidity
 (c) Replacement of:
     [NOTE: Replacement describes a new asset delivering essentially the same functionality as an old asset]
     (i) IT hardware or software
     (ii) Other equipment or machinery
 (d) Upgrade of:
     [NOTE: Upgrade describes a new asset delivering significant improvements in business processes]
     (i) IT hardware or software
     (ii) Other equipment or machinery
 (e) Purchase of additional:
     (i) IT hardware or software
     (ii) Other equipment or machinery
     (iii) Assets (i.e. to build capital) not related to expansion (e.g. commercial investment properties)
 (f) Expand business
 (g) To introduce new or improved goods, services or processes
 (h) Other (please specify)
  
PART 5 - MARKETS AND COMPETITION
  
11In which geographic markets did this business sell goods or services during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Local (the immediate area, town or city in which this business is located)
 (b) Outside of local area but within the state/territory
 (c) Outside of state/territory but within Australia
 (d) Overseas markets
  
12Which one of the following was the main supplier of goods or services to this business for its use during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick one box]
 (a) Australian suppliers:
     (i) Government organisations
     (ii) Large businesses or organisations
     (iii) Small and/or medium businesses or organisations
 (b) Overseas suppliers
 (c) Not applicable
  
PART 6 - NEW GOODS, SERVICES OR PROCESSES
  
 [NOTES FOR Q13 & Q14]
 · Questions 13 and 14 ask about any new or improved goods, services or business processes that differ significantly from the business's previous goods, services or business processes that were introduced during the year ended 30 June 2020.
 · Please do not include those which were not introduced during the period, these should be included in Questions 15 and 16.
  
13During the year ended 30 June 2020, did this business introduce any new or significantly improved goods or services that differ significantly from those previously offered?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 Definition: A new good or service means any good or service or combination of these which is new to this business. Its characteristics or intended uses differ significantly from those previously produced/offered by this business.
 Including:
 · Significant changes to aesthetic design or packaging
 (a) Goods
 (b) Services
 (c) None of the above
  
14During the year ended 30 June 2020, did this business introduce any of the following types of new or improved processes that differ significantly from its previous processes?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Methods of producing goods or providing services (including methods for developing goods or services)
 (b) Logistics, delivery or distribution methods
 (c) Methods for information processing or communication
 (d) Methods for accounting or other administrative operations
 (e) Methods of organising ongoing internal procedures or external relations
 (f) Methods of organising work responsibility, decision making or human resource management
 (g) Marketing methods for promotion, packaging, pricing, product placement or after sale services
 (h) Other processes (please specify)
 (i) None of the above
  
15During the year ended 30 June 2020, did this business abandon (during development or introduction) any new or significantly improved:
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Goods or services
 (b) Methods for producing goods or providing services (including methods for developing goods or services)
 (c) Logistics, delivery and distribution methods
 (d) Methods for information processing or communication
 (e) Methods for accounting or other administrative operations
 (f) Methods of organising ongoing internal procedures or external relations
 (g) Methods of organising work responsibility, decision making or human resource management
 (h) Marketing methods for promotion, packaging, pricing, product placement or after sales services
 (i) Other processes
 (j) None of the above
  
16During the year ended 30 June 2020, was this business still in the process of developing or introducing (i.e. introduction was yet to occur) any new or significantly improved:
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Goods or services
 (b) Methods for producing goods or providing services (including methods for developing goods or services)
 (c) Logistics, delivery and disribution methods
 (d) Methods for information processing or communication
 (e) Methods for accounting or other administrative operations
 (f) Methods of organising ongoing internal procedures or external relations
 (g) Methods of organising work responsibility, decision making or human resource management
 (h) Marketing methods for promotion, packaging, pricing, product placement or after sales services
 (i) Other processes
 (j) None of the above
  
17During the year ended 30 June 2020, did this business collaborate with others to develop or introduce any new goods, services or processes?
 Definition: To collaborate is to participate in joint projects with other businesses or organisations (including wider parts of this business’s enterprise group). Each participant does not need to benefit commercially.
 Including:Excluding:
 · Informal arrangements· Straight fee-for-service arrangements
  · Franchise arrangements
 ☐ No
 ☐ Yes
  
PART 7 - BARRIERS TO NEW GOODS, SERVICES OR PROCESSES
  
18During the year ended 30 June 2020, did any of the following factors significantly hamper this business in the development of any new or significantly improved goods, services or processes?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Lack of access to additional funds
 (b) Cost of development or introduction/implementation
 (c) Lack of skilled persons within the business
 (d) Lack of skilled persons within the labour market
 (e) Lack of access to knowledge to enable development or introduction/implementation
 (f) Lack of access to technology to enable development or introduction/implementation
 (g) Government regulations and compliance
 (h) Adherence to standards
 (i) Uncertain demand for new goods or services
 (j) None of the above
  
PART 8 - BARRIERS TO GENERAL BUSINESS ACTIVITIES OR PERFORMANCE
  
19During the year ended 30 June 2020, did any of the following factors significantly hamper this business in its general business activities or performance?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Lack of access to additional funds
 (b) Cost of inputs
 (c) Outstanding accounts receivable limiting cash flow
 (d) Lack of skilled persons within the business
 (e) Lack of skilled persons within the labour market
 (f) Government regulations and compliance
 (g) Lack of customer demand for goods or services
 (h) Lower profit margins to remain competitive
 (i) Environmental factors (e.g. natural disasters, compliance with water restrictions)
 (j) None of the above
  
PART 9 - SKILLS
  
20During the year ended 30 June 2020, were any of the following types of skills used by this business in undertaking its core business activities?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Engineering
 (b) Scientific and research
 (c) IT professionals
 (d) IT technical support
 (e) Trades
 (f) Transport, plant and machinery operation
 (g) Marketing
 (h) Project management
 (i) Business management
 (j) Supply chain management
 (k) Environmental management
 (l) Financial
 (m) None of the above
  
21During the year ended 30 June 2020, was there a shortage or deficiency in any of the following types of skills used or needed by this business in undertaking its core business activities?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 Definition: A skills shortage occurs when there is an insufficient supply of appropriately qualified workers available or willing to work under existing market conditions.
 (a) Engineering
 (b) Scientific and research
 (c) IT professionals
 (d) IT technical support
 (e) Trades
 (f) Transport, plant and machinery operation
 (g) Marketing
 (h) Project management
 (i) Business management
 (j) Supply chain management
 (k) Environmental management
 (l) Financial
 (m) Other (please specify)
 (n) No skills shortages or deficiencies
  
PART 10 - USE OF IT
  
22During the year ended 30 June 2020, did this business use any of the following connection types to access the internet?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) DSL (e.g. ADSL, ADSL2+, SDSL)
 (b) Fibre (e.g. FTTP, FTTN, FTTB, FTTdp)
 (c) Cable (e.g. Hybrid Coaxial)
 (d) Fixed Wireless (e.g. fixed WiMAX)
 (e) Mobile Wireless (e.g. via datacard or USB modem):
     (i) 3G/4G network
     (ii) 5G network
 (f) Satellite
 (g) Dial-up (Analog) or ISDN
 (h) Other (please specify)
 (i) Did not have an internet connection [Go to Q33]
  
23Did this business receive orders via the internet for any goods or services during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 Definition: An order via the internet is a transaction where the commitment to purchase goods or services is made via the internet regardless of how it was commenced. Commitment is the agreement to purchase, whether or not payment is made via the internet.
 Including:Excluding:
 · Orders received via the internet with or without online payment· Orders covered by a pre-existing contractual arrangement where the commitment was not made via the internet
 · Orders received via email· Orders completed via telephone, facsimile or personal contact
  · Orders received over any computer network other than the internet
  · Cancelled internet orders
 ☐ No [Go to Q26]
 ☐ Yes [Go to Q24]
  
24During the year ended 30 June 2020, please estimate the percentage of income from orders received via the internet for goods and services
 [NOTE]
 · For internet orders made on behalf of other organisations, include only the commission or fees earned on those orders.
 · For financial services, include only the fees earned for providing services as a result of orders received via the internet.
 ☐ Less than 1%
 ☐ 1% or more
  
25Did the systems used by this business to receive orders via the internet link automatically with any of the following during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Your suppliers' business systems
 (b) Your customers' business systems
 (c) Your business's systems for:
     (i) reordering replacement supplies
     (ii) invoicing and payment
     (iii) production or service operations
     (iv) logistics (including electronic delivery)
     (v) marketing operations
 (d) Other (please specify)
 (e) Systems not automatically linked to any of the above
  
26Did this business place orders via the internet for any goods or services during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 Definition: An order via the internet is a transaction where the commitment to purchase goods or services is made via the internet regardless of how it was commenced. Commitment is the agreement to purchase, whether or not payment is made via the internet.
 Including:Excluding:
 · Orders placed via the internet with or without online payment· Orders covered by a pre-existing contractual arrangement where the commitment was not made via the internet.
 · Orders placed via email· Orders completed via telephone, facsimile or personal contact
 · Online purchases of airline tickets, software, business travel, accommodation, stationery, etc.· Orders placed over any computer network other than the internet
  · Cancelled internet orders
 ☐ No
 ☐ Yes
  
27For which of the following activities (excluding emails) did this business use the internet during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Financial (e.g. online banking, invoicing, making payments)
 (b) Communication excluding email (e.g. VOIP, instant messaging)
 (c) Enabling persons working for this business to:
     (i) work from home
     (ii) work from other locations
 (d) Information gathering or researching for:
     (i) assessing or modifying this business's range of products, services and processes
     (ii) development of new or improved products, services and processes
     (iii) monitoring competitors
     (iv) identifying future market trends
 (e) Online training/learning
 (f) Information sharing or data exchange (e.g. EDI, FTP) with:
     (i) customers or clients
     (ii)  businesses or organisations (which were not customers or clients)
 (g) Electronic lodgements with government organisations (e.g. taxation forms, claims for grants or benefits, applications for licences or permits, payments)
 (h) Other activities (please specify)
 (i) None of the above activities
  
28Did this business experience any internet security incidents or breaches during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 Including:Excluding:
 · Virus, trojan, worms, web bugs, spyware, adware· Internet security incidents or breaches intercepted by this business's security measures
 · Unauthorised network access
 · Unexpected redirects to unknown websites
 · Attack resulting in denial of service
 · Theft or loss of software or data
 ☐ No [Go to Q30]
 ☐ Don't know [Go to Q30]
 ☐ Yes [Go to Q29]
  
29Did this business experience any impacts as a result of these internet security incidents or breaches?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Corruption of hardware or software
 (b) Corruption or loss of data
 (c) Downtime of service
 (d) Website defacement
 (e) Theft of business, confidential or proprietary information
 (f) Loss of income
 (g) Loss of staff productivity
 (h) Other impacts (please specify)
 (i) None of the above impacts
  
30Did this business use any paid cloud computing services during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 Definition: Cloud computing refers to IT services that are used over the internet to access software, computing power or storage capacity
 ☐ No [Go to Q32]
 ☐ Yes
  
31Which of the following paid cloud computing services did this business use during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Software:
     (i)  Email
     (ii) Office software
     (iii) Finance or accounting software
     (iv) Customer Relationship Management software (CRM)
 (b) Processing power to run own software
 (c) Storage capacity:   
     (i) Hosting of databases
     (ii) Storage of files
 (d) Other services (please specify)
  
32What factors, if any, limited or prevented the use of paid cloud computing services by this business during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Risk of security breach
 (b) Problems accessing data or software
 (c) Difficulties with unsubscribing or changing cloud computing service provider
 (d) Uncertainty about the location of data
 (e) Uncertainty about legal, jurisdictional or dispute resolution mechanisms
 (f) High cost of cloud computing services
 (g) Insufficient knowledge of cloud computing services
 (h) Other factors (please specify)
 (i) No factors limited or prevented the use of paid cloud computing services
  
33During the year ended 30 June 2020, which of the following Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were used by this business?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 Definition:
 · Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
 · Blockchain technology is a decentralised, distributed, digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.
 (a) Customer Relationship Management software (CRM)
 (b) Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP)
 (c) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) (e.g. automated computer to computer exchange of purchase orders, invoices etc.)
 (d) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags (e.g. tracking-inventory, limiting access to buildings)
 (e) Cloud technology
 (f) Cybersecurity software
 (g) Data analytics (e.g. big data or geospatial technology)
 (h) Internet of things (IoT) (e.g. smart metering, digitally-networked physical devices or assets)
 (i) Artificial intelligence (AI) (e.g. machine learning, voice recognition, advanced robotics)
 (j) 3D Printing
 (k) Blockchain technology (e.g. cryptocurrencies, smart contracts)
 (l) Other (please specify)
 (m) None of the above
  
34During the year ended 30 June 2020 did any of the following factors prevent or limit this business from using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)?
 [Note: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Lack of access to additional funds
 (b) Geographical location
 (c) Unsuitable internet speed
 (d) Cost of implementation too high
 (e) Uncertainty around cost/benefit
 (f) Speed of technological change
 (g) ICT failure (e.g. system outage, ISP issues, hardware or software malfunction)
 (h) Insufficient knowledge of ICTs
 (i) Lack of skilled persons within the business
 (j) Lack of skilled persons within the labour market
 (k) Legal (e.g. privacy) issues and risk
 (l) Other factors (please specify)
 (m) No limiting factors
  
35Which of the following did this business use to develop, operate or maintain Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems or applications during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) In-house ICT specialist with relevant skills
 (b) Other in-house staff with relevant ICT skills
 (c) Formal or informal training of in-house ICT specialists
 (d) Formal or informal training of other in-house staff
 (e) Suppliers
 (f) Contractors
 (g) Hired new staff with ICT specialist skills
 (h) Other (please specify)
 (i) Unable to meet all ICT requirements
 (j) Not applicable (i.e. no use of ICT) [Go to Q38]
  
36To what extent was Information and Communication Technology (ICT) used in the following business processes during the year ended 30 June 2020?
 [NOTE: Select 'Not applicable' if you do not undertake the business process. Tick one of the following per row 'ICT not used at all', 'Low to moderate extent', 'High extent' or 'Not applicable'.
 (a) Accounting
 (b) Production/service operations
 (c) Invoicing
 (d) Stock control
 (e) Marketing
 (f) Human resources, including payroll
 (g) Business planning
  
37During the year ended 30 June 2020, were any of the following management practices for the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and/or the internet implemented?
 [NOTE: Tick all that apply]
 (a) Introduced or changed a digital business strategy (e.g. Digitisation strategy)
 (b) Approved the investment in new digital technologies or infrastructure for this business
 (c) Conducted new training programs to improve staff ICT/digital capabilities
 (d) Reviewed staff performance against digital skill targets
 (e) Rewarded individuals or teams involved in the successful introduction of digital technologies or processes
 (f)  Contracted external ICT consultants
 (g) Measured the contribution of digital activities to overall business performance
 (h) Joint buying of digital technology or services
 (i) Upgraded cybersecurity software, standards or protocols
 (j) Other (please specify)
 (k) None of the above
  
PART 11 - COMMENTS AND TIME TAKEN
  
38Please provide comments
 · On any information you have supplied on this form (e.g. related to unusual movements, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors) (Please use BLOCK letters)
 · On any difficulties you had in providing the requested information, or suggested improvements to this form (Please use BLOCK letters)