High growth businesses reveal advantage in new technology plans

Gavan Ord, Senior Manager Business Policy, CPA Australia

Technology use is a major determinant of business success and is set to become more influential, according to a survey by the professional accounting body, CPA Australia.

“High growth businesses spend more time and resources on technology. Their technology puts them even further ahead of their competitors,” said Senior Manager Business Policy Gavan Ord.

“Our survey results suggest other businesses may improve their growth prospects by investing in the technologies used by high growth businesses.”

Scope of CPA Australia’s survey

CPA Australia surveyed 725 professionals in different industries in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore. Respondents were asked about their businesses’ past and expected technology use and past and expected financial performance.

“COVID-19 accelerated technology adoption by businesses, but not all businesses were equally placed when the pandemic hit. High growth businesses had already embraced technology enthusiastically. This helped them manage the disruption caused by COVID-19.”

In 2020, high growth businesses were significantly more likely to develop a long-term technology strategy, work with technology companies and increase their recruitment of technology staff than businesses whose growth was stagnant or shrank.

“High growth businesses focus on technologies that deliver great value to clients, like data analytics and visualisation software, business intelligence software and artificial intelligence.”

Role of technology in the CPA Australia survey

Differences in future technology plans also sets higher and lower growth businesses apart.

High growth businesses are likely to expect to increase their use of or investment in data analytics and visualisation software, business intelligence software, customer relationship management software and artificial intelligence than their lower growing counterparts.

The top technologies Australian businesses are most likely to increase investment in over the next 12 months are cloud technology and data analytics and visualisation software. High growth businesses in Australia are also planning to invest in business intelligence software.

Drivers of tech adoption in Australia are improving operational efficiency and the customer experience, while the main challenges are financial constraints and complex legacy systems.

“If you want to do well in business, look at what others are doing well. The clear lesson is that technology adoption, and making the right choices, leads to better business performance.”

Large businesses (more than 1000 employees) will use or invest in data analytics and visualisation software, cloud technology, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.

Small businesses (less than 50 employees) will focus on cloud technology, video conferencing and group collaboration tools, and data analytics and visualisation software.

“When it comes to technology adoption, it’s not a level playing field, and many small businesses struggle. We support government programs to build small businesses’ digital capability. It’s a great way for governments to future proof the economy.”