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EMDG Reform: Draft Guidelines released for consultation

Source: EMDG Austrade

The draft 2021 Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Guidelines has been released for public consultation, the next stage in the EMDG Reform process. The EMDG Legislation Amendment Act 2020 was passed in December 2020, and the EMDG Rules were released in April 2021. The draft Guidelines are now out for public consultation until Friday 11 June 2021. Feedback on the draft Guidelines can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The draft Guidelines provide practical guidance on how the new program will operate, including aspects such as:
 

  • Are you eligible to apply?
  • When can you apply for the 2021–22 grant round?
  • How do you apply for a grant?
  • What documentation will you need to support your application?
  • What reporting will be required?
  • When and how will grant payments be made?
  • What will be included in the grant agreement?

If applying for an EMDG grant from 1 July 2021:

To be eligible you must:

  • be a representative body or an Australian person, with ‘person’ meaning an individual, a company, a trust, or a partnership, within the definitions of the EMDG Act
  • have an annual turnover of less than $20 million
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN). 

What products will I be able to market overseas? 

EMDG provides assistance for you to promote many different types of Australian products, including:

  • goods
  • services
  • events
  • intellectual-property
  • know-how
  • software.

Your product must have a certain connection to Australia. That connection to Australia is described in the EMDG Rules for each type of product. For example, an eligible event is one that is either held in Australia or, if the event is held online, the event is provided by an Australian person. Your product cannot be an excluded product. For example, EMDG will not fund services relating to activities or products that are unlawful. 

When will applications open?

The draft EMDG Guidelines propose grant applications open on 16 August and close on 30 November 2021. This will be confirmed following the public consultation process, which is currently underway. 

How long will the lodgement period be for grant applications?

A period of around three months is proposed in the first year with a new, simplified application process. Austrade will review and adjust for future rounds if needed. Austrade will review this process once complete and adjust it for future rounds if needed.

Can I engage someone to help me with my grant?

 The decision to engage a third party to assist with your grant application is an individual decision. Austrade will ensure the application and milestone reporting processes are as simple as possible, with clear guidance. Austrade will ensure that the application and milestone reporting processes are as simple as possible, with clear guidance. 

Will I always get the amount I apply for? 

Your grant agreement may be for less than the amount you applied for.

  • Each year the Government allocates a set amount of money for EMDG (the appropriation).
  • The EMDG program is an eligibility-based program. This means that all SMEs who apply and are eligible will receive funding.
  • As a consequence, where applications total more than the amount provided in the appropriation, Austrade must distribute that money among all applicants.
  • How that distribution is calculated will be notified to all approved applicants and on the Austrade website. 

When will I know how much my grant is for?

Once all applications have been received, Austrade will calculate the distribution of available funds for all eligible applications. Following assessment, if you are eligible, you will receive a grant agreement that will tell you how much your grant is for. Your obligation is to match, at a minimum, the dollar value of the grant monies you receive, noting:

  • If you spend more, you will not receive more grant money. The amount in your grant agreement is the maximum you will receive.
  • If you spend less, you will only receive an amount equal to the amount you contributed.
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Five Ways to Effectively Manage a Business Grant

Author: Harry Hoang

During the pandemic, after putting in efforts and time to prepare for your JobKeeper or Cashflow Boost grant application, there is nothing better than receiving the news that your work has paid off; your business got the grant!

Before you can celebrate the great news, you need to make sure you are prepared to use the money well. Government grant is an essential part of every small and medium sized businesses, but effective grant management is a skill that takes time to develop. Economic support packages are managed and audited by ATO. However, there are millions of dollars were provided to businesses without any check & balancing process in place from both Government and business sides. In some cases, acquittals of government funding are relying on manual process or external audit parties.

In this article, we share some tips to manage the grant money efficiently and discuss why businesses owners need to understand the importance of an efficient and transparent grant management solution.

Understand your responsibilities

  • Do not assume that the Government is giving away money means that you can do whatever you like with the cash. You should check the grant funding terms & conditions that you have agreed to make sure you have a sufficient level of diligent financial record-keeping process to comply with the terms & conditions, when it comes to audit time.
  • Do not confuse purposes & objectives of one relief program with those of another grant. Each of the economic support programs has its distinctive purpose to aid your business. Make sure that you don’t try to be too creative with free money.

Treat your grant as a project

We strongly suggest that you treat each government funded programs you receive as a project. You should do a budget scoping before submitting your plan and budget projection to request for funding. It is important that you implement the proposed scope & budget to your financial system to monitor the progress closely during the grant period.

You should not wait to start working on acquittal until the deadline is approaching. Planning weeks earlier and collecting data as you go with a financial system that can provides your acquittal data in one click.

Engage with your stakeholders

You should communicate with your staff and suppliers who are working under grant-related projects so they are aware of their own budget limits and obligations. This to avoid overspending and human-made errors in your accounts. The most common mistakes that we have encountered in managing Government funding are caused unintentionally, however in the time of difficult economic conditions, it is in your best interest to prevent such mistakes to occur.

Pay attention to the advice from your auditor

Some of the current Government funding programs do not require financial statement audits so most organisations can get their accounts reviewed by a CPA/CA practitioner. However, we strongly believe that the value of auditing/accounts review is beyond compliance. Business owners should pay attention to the recommendations from auditors. You can improve your accounting practice, enabling a good business profile with the ATO in the future.

Implement an automated financial system

Financial data automation and security should be the top priorities for funding recipients. Implementing a more automated accounting process with higher security is the best preventive way to avoid frauds. Businesses are using automated system such as:

  • Receipt Bank for bills management;
  • Xero for bookkeeping, bank feeds, reconciliations and batch payments;
  • ApprovalMax for approval automation of accounts payable and accounts receivable;
  • LastTick - Our own banking audit tool to match financial data (BSB, account number, account name) before seeking online banking authorisation from our clients when processing payments on their behalf.

If you are interested in a business grant management solution such as R&D, EMDG or other business relief grants, please contact Tailored Accounts for a chat with our experts.

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