- Supply chain disruptions (23.7 per cent), wage costs (22.6 per cent), and staff shortages are also major concerns for small businesses surveyed (21.3 per cent)
- A third of respondents (33.1 per cent) believe a cash rebate or grant to spend on technology would help them use more digital tools in their businesses.
As the federal election approaches, everyone is wondering what candidates in 2022 want and expect from business owners.
The global small business platform Xero has revealed the top concerns for Australia’s small business owners in the run-up to the 2022 Australian federal election, with technology, supply chain pressure, and staff challenges at the top of the list.
As if running a small business wasn’t tricky enough, the last few years have increased the level of difficulty for business owners. Lockdowns and social isolation are significantly reducing foot traffic. Supply chain issues prevent delivering valuable materials, equipment, and deliveries. Employee turnover has increased as a result of the Great Resignation.
Xero commissioned research on more than 500 small businesses across Australia, revealing that small business owners are highly engaged with issues affecting their industry and the broader community. Over 40% of respondents prioritise policies that support small businesses when deciding which political party to vote for.
The findings also revealed that small business owners are lagging in technology adoption, with the vast majority of respondents (78.6 per cent) having concerns about or not considering technology important to the success of their small business.
“Small businesses are central to our communities and the success of our economy. As we come to a significant, democratic decision for the nation, their needs must be taken into account. These survey results reveal a clear opportunity to help small businesses take advantage of technology to carry them into the future,” says Joseph Lyons, Xero Managing Director, Australia and Asia.
“As the way, we do business evolves, digital tools and solutions like eInvoicing will ultimately help small businesses be more effective and navigate future challenges. Small businesses have adapted to the disruptions of the pandemic; however, we must now find ways to help them thrive.
By prioritising digitised business processes, we can help simplify regulatory compliance and support more small businesses to experience the advantages technology brings,” added Lyons.
In addition, 40% of small business owners polled do not feel prepared to transition to technologies such as eInvoicing, presenting a clear opportunity for them to be led on a journey of digitisation and technology adoption over time.
COVID-19 recovery is still a priority
COVID-19 recovery remains a top priority for small business owners, with 25.5 per cent concerned that they will not be able to return to pre-COVID levels within a year and a quarter (24.9%) concerned about the need for support packages for future COVID-19 challenges.
Closed borders and limited skills have also had an impact on small businesses, with 40% of respondents stating that their company has suffered from a tech skills shortage in the last two years. Nearly a quarter (24.7%) of small business owners surveyed stated that they are relying on a new government and policies to hire new employees.
“Technology, upskilling and digital support for small businesses have been focuses of the election campaign from both sides. As this progresses, we hope to see small business owners and the accounting and bookkeeping community that supports them championed throughout discussions.
“We look forward to seeing how the election outcome will better serve the small business community long-term,” concludes Lyons.