The nation is looking towards borders reopening and exceeding vaccine targets.
The Intuit Quickbooks Back to Business research revealed that small businesses across the country are hopeful about the future, with 81% reporting a level of confidence that they will be operating at pre-pandemic levels within the next six months.
But despite the encouraging levels of optimism, one in three do not have a plan in place to ensure future success, and two in five are worried about finding enough suitable staff.
It shows that small businesses are focused on health over wealth, with vaccines at the forefront of what they want from the government, their employees and their customers.
Lars Leber, the VP and Country Manager at Intuit QuickBooks Australia is buoyant.
“Aussie small businesses have done it tough over the course of the pandemic, especially those in Melbourne who endured the longest lockdown in the world. We’re thrilled to see the economy start to recover and to hear that small businesses are hopeful about the future.”
“We’ve seen a notable shift in small businesses prioritizing the health and wellbeing of their employees, showing how the pandemic has made everyone reconsider what’s most important.”
“Going forward, these small businesses further still need the support of the government and Australian consumers as they want to see continued vaccine uptake.”
Health over wealth
Mandating vaccines and supporting the vaccination efforts is a government requirement as according to Australian small businesses, almost half (47%) say it is their top priority.
Following this, was the opening of domestic and international borders (44%), ongoing grants programs (30%), networking opportunities (22%) and training opportunities (21%).
When asked what support small businesses would like to see from their local community, more than half (55%) said their number one ask of Australians was to get vaccinated.
Returning to favorite local small businesses was a close second (51%).
Small businesses are again prioritizing wellbeing and health, with 58% saying the mental health and wellbeing of employees and work-life balance were their most important focuses.
The research reveals that female-led small businesses are significantly more likely than male counterparts to view investing in social media as key to business success (34% vs 22%).
These small businesses are also more likely to consider social media support offered to their business from consumers as important for future success (30% vs 19%).
Digital adoption trends
More than one in three small businesses pivoted their business to explore new revenue streams during the pandemic (37%), with most (85%) saying these streams will continue.
Among those who have implemented new technologies or plan to do so, the most common focuses are financial processes (43%), e-commerce/marketing (41%), inventory management (21%), contract management (17%) and human resources (15%).
Female-led small businesses are more likely to have implemented or plan to implement new technology to improve business processes than male-led counterparts (49% vs 39%).
They are also more likely to have completed training related to their business during the course of the pandemic, or plan to in the next six months (43% vs 31%).
Advisor support critical
Accountants and bookkeepers continue to play a key role in supporting Australian small businesses, with 70% saying their advisor helped them through the pandemic.
1 in 5 SMBs say they would not have survived if it wasn’t for their accountant or bookkeeper.
Advisors will play a key role in future business success, with more than eight in ten (84%) small businesses saying their support will be crucial in getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
“With conditions starting to improve as we approach the end of the year, now is the perfect time to seek out the financial guidance small businesses need to ensure a bright future.”