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Nearly half of small businesses not prepared for new technologies

More than 40 per cent of small-business owners don’t feel prepared to move to new technologies such as e-invoicing, according to the latest Xero survey.

Nearly half of small businesses not prepared for new technologies
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The survey found that the major concerns for small businesses across Australia are technology, supply chain pressure and staff challenges.

More than 500 small businesses from around Australia participated in the survey to determine what policies small businesses want to see from the next Australian government.

It found that small businesses across Australia are highly engaged with issues that affect their industry and broader community and that more than 40 per cent of respondents said policies that support small businesses are their top factor in considering what political party to vote for.

The insights also revealed technology adoption is lagging for small-business owners, with the vast majority of respondents (78.6 per cent) having concerns about, or not considering technology important, in the success of their small business.

Alongside this, 40 per cent of small-business owners surveyed donʼt feel prepared to move to technologies such as e-invoicing, presenting a clear opportunity for them to be brought on a journey of digitisation and technology uptake over the next period.

Further concerns for small businesses surveyed include supply chain disruptions (23.7 per cent), cost of wages (22.6 per cent), and staff shortages (21.3 per cent).

Around one-third (32 per cent) of small businesses surveyed are concerned about COVID-19 in 2022, however feel more optimistic – claiming it will be better than previous years.

A third of respondents (33.1 per cent) believe a cash rebate or grant to spend on technology would help them make use of more digital tools in their businesses while 65.7 per cent of respondents believe their business data is very important, and want full control over it and who they share it with.

Joseph Lyons, managing director, Australia and Asia, said the survey results revealed a clear opportunity to help small businesses take advantage of technology to carry them into the future.

“Small businesses are central to our communities and the success of our economy. As we come to a significant, democratic decision for the nation itʼs important their needs are taken into account,” he said.

“These survey results reveal a clear opportunity to help small businesses take advantage of technology to carry them into the future.

COVID-19 recovery is still a big priority for small-business owners, with 25.5 per cent of respondents concerned they will not recover to pre-COVID levels within a year, and a quarter (24.9 per cent) concerned about a need for support packages for future COVID-19 challenges.

The effects of closed borders and limited skills have had a knock-on effect on small businesses too, with 40 per cent of respondents noting their business suffered from a tech skills shortage over the last two years, while nearly a quarter (24.7 per cent) of small-business owners surveyed have noted they are relying on a new government and policies to hire new people for their business.

“Technology, upskilling and digital support for small businesses have been focusses of the election campaign from both sides,” Mr Lyons said.

“As these progress, we hope to see small business owners, and the accounting and bookkeeping community that supports them, championed throughout discussions. We look forward to seeing how the election outcome will better serve the small business community in the long term.”

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