Small businesses recovering but concerns linger

Three-quarters of Australian small businesses have stabilised or increased profits this year, although many still fear another economic downturn, according to new research.



A survey of 457 small firms by accounting software company Reckon found that 43% of respondents have enjoyed larger profits than last year, with 32% experiencing the same result as 2009.


Small businesses in Victoria and Western Australia appear to have fared particularly well in 2010, with increased or stable profits reported by 82% and 81% of respondents, respectively.


Despite the improved outlook for many small firms, the survey found that fears over the economy were still evident. A third said that they were most afraid of another economic downturn, with a further 31% fearing government legislation.


Asked about their priorities, 30% said staying in business, 22% said increasing profits and 16% said cashflow management.


Nearly two-thirds of small business owners polled had not taken a leisure break for more than two consecutive days over the past year, although 81% plan to take a break in the next 12 months.


Gavin Dixon, CEO of Reckon’s business division, says: “I don’t think it has been an easy year for small businesses but the survey results indicate that for some it’s been a bit easier than the previous 12 months.”


“This survey also highlights the importance of helping businesses through uncertainty with over half of the respondents concerned about the economy and changes to legislation that could impact their operation.”


“When taking a look inside their own operation it is encouraging to see that compared to 2009 some businesses have been able to shift their focus from keeping their operation afloat to developing strategies that will help them grow in the future.”


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