Small businesses are optimistic for the year ahead despite recession

Lars Leber, Vice President of Intuit QuickBooks Australia

80% of Australian small business owners feel “confident”, “optimistic” and “cautiously hopeful” about their company’s performance in 2023 despite the economic slowdown, according to new research released recently from the online accounting software provider Intuit QuickBooks.

What were the findings of the research?

This outlook as revealed by the research is informed by their business performance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with the commissioned research finding that one-quarter (25%) of Australian small businesses experiencing consistent year-on-year growth across 2020-2022, while 45% of them saw slow but steady growth and 5% experienced soaring profits.

The remaining 25% of entrepreneurs surveyed who struggled to turn a profit during the challenging period reported a split outlook on 2023—while 23% of this group feel concerned and 21% uncertain, more than half (56%) have entered 2023 with an optimistic outlook.

Australian entrepreneurs see increased sales (52%), enhanced marketing activities (47%), improving or expanding their product offering (43%) and growing the customer base (41%) as the strongest opportunities currently to drive success within their small business this year.

While e-commerce might have boomed throughout the pandemic, four in 10 (40%) Australian small business owners see establishing a brick-and-mortar store or expanding their physical footprint as beneficial to drive business growth. Additionally, over one-third (38%) of local entrepreneurs see hiring new employees as an opportunity, and 18% are excited to digitise more of their administrative tasks and functions so they can focus more on what they love.

The top five concerns according to the research keeping Australian small business owners up in 2023 are maintaining cash flow (47%), the likelihood of a recession (45%), retaining and hiring staff (40%), breaking even (37%), and the potential impact of rising inflation (35%).

What were the executive remarks of the research?

Lars Leber, Vice President of Intuit QuickBooks Australia, said, Australian small business owners have been incredibly resilient over the past 3 years, and our research shows that these turbulent times have not shaken their spirit. It’s encouraging to see there is a sense of hope for business growth in 2023 from the experienced entrepreneurs to those just starting out.”

“Small business owners have always been the backbone of Australia’s economy. This won’t change in 2023 as they considerably look to employ more staff, ultimately helping to improve economic prosperity,” While external factors are out of their control, Leber said most Aussie entrepreneurs can address some of these challenges with the right strategies and tools.

“As a former small business owner, I know balancing books can be one of the most stressful parts of running your own business, but a clear understanding of your cash flow is critical, especially in times of economic uncertainty. By implementing an accounting software solution and engaging an accountant, advisor or business expert, Australian small business owners can gain clear understanding of their position and take back some of the control into 2023.”


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