Guess what Australian accountants forgot during the last tax season? The Internet.
Taxpayers scrambling to beat the June 30 deadline thronged to Google’s search service to find meaningful tax services online but may have found precious little, according to the search giant.
Since April 1, start of the tax season, Google reported a 1,000% increase in tax-related searches to over 70,000 searches each month, suggesting high demand, probably for online service.
But many found little help because 60% of Australian businesses don’t exist on the web, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What’s worse, nearly two decades after the Internet went mainstream, 70% of small enterprises with less than four workers – surely many accounting firms among them – transact no business on the Internet.
“The fact is, if you’re not on the web and cannot be found your business simply is invisible. Having a website is just as important as having a phone or mail address,” said Kate Control, Google’s product specialist. “During this busy industry period, for small and medium tax accountants in particular, it’s a big risk they really don’t have to take.”
Google Insights for small businesses
The findings come from Google’s Insights for Search tool, a program the Internet company has run for the past three years to mine search data.
Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory topped tax searches, but they came from across the country, especially from the cities. Common search terms were “Sydney tax accountant” and “tax accountants Australia.”
Insights works by helping users can track search terms over time and geographies, and suitably tailor their services to pick up new clients.