The survey of 200 SMEs found that 91 per cent of respondents did not think they were prepared for the introduction of the GST, while 75 per cent had sought advice on how to implement the tax.
Although 66 per cent said they still had a lot to learn about how the tax would affect their businesses, 48 per cent said they believed it would have a negative effect on their bottom line. Significantly, 23 per cent of the SMEs surveyed said they had done nothing in preparation for the new tax system.
The results were released at the launch of the latest "GST solution": the Interactive GST CD-ROM for Business, a tool designed to assist accountants and businesses through the GST transition.
The CD-ROM is the result of a partnership between financial software developer Quicken, interactive consultancy The Gang of Four, the Commonwealth Bank, and tax information provider CCH.
The complimentary CD-ROM, which will be sent to accountants and businesses, includes a video on details about the tax and a questionnaire designed to "tease out the information" required to produce a "road map" for businesses to become GST compliant, said Quicken's managing director, Greg Wilkinson.
Business owners, or accountants operating on their behalf, will then be required to pay $295 (excluding GST) for a PIN number with which they can access a 50-page report outlining the issues they have to address to become GST compliant.
Wilkinson said the group will have access to approximately 900,000 accountants and SMEs through those connected with the CBA, registered Quicken users, and through CCH which has a 100 per cent reach into the local accounting market.