Confidence up on this time last year
The outlook among Australian small businesses appears to be improving, with their finances generally better than they were a year ago. Although the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Small Business Index has only increased 0.8 per cent over the past three months, it is nevertheless moving in the right direction.
Westpac’s General Manager of Small Business Julie Rynski acknowledged that the index had remained in positive territory for the last year, which is the result of several factors coming in to play. Companies are benefiting from declining petrol prices, as well as increased domestic spending and the weakening of the Australian dollar.
“Small businesses are an essential part of the Australian economy and Westpac will continue to extend a helping hand to the small business sector to ensure the continued prosperity of our nation,” Ms Rynski noted.
The index has increased 3.8 per cent over the past 12 months, but it seems there are still some concerns weighing on business owners’ minds. A total of 38.5 per cent of respondents said they are worried about the impact of macroeconomic conditions, which could have a negative effect on their company’s ability to perform.
This is where firms could benefit from HRIS software and other products to help them stay ahead of the competition and determine where cost savings can be made.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently painted a slightly less optimistic picture for the future of the business environment, as it identified various challenges that lie ahead. For example, the Expected Economic Performance index was down for the fourth quarter in a row, with small businesses generally losing out to their larger counterparts.
Pressure is therefore mounting on the government to make sure it eases the regulatory burden on small businesses, while giving them the tools they need to succeed.