As Australia gets back to a more normal way of doing business after lockdown, Intuit Quickbooks’ Back to Business research has found female-led small businesses are 10 per cent more likely to be planning to use new tech solutions to boost their company’s performance and more likely to have completed training and up-skilled during the pandemic.
Here are some more key findings from the Intuit Quickbooks’ Back to Business research:
- Female-identifying owners are very hopeful about the future, with 82 per cent reporting confidence they will be operating at pre-pandemic levels within the next six months.
- Small business owners who identify as female are 10 per cent more likely to either already have, are planning on, or implementing new technology solutions to improve their business, compared to those who identify as male.
- This group is also 10 per cent more likely to have completed training, and up-skilled during the course of the pandemic, with 41 per cent of female-identifying owners having done so.
- They are more than 10 per cent more likely to view investing in social media as a key to future success (34% vs 22%).
- This group is 10 per cent more likely to view the mental health of their employees as crucial to future success (27% vs 18%).
Digital adoption trends
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 per cent vs 39 per cent). Among those who have implemented new technologies or plan to do so, the most common focuses are financial processes (43 per cent), e-commerce/marketing (41 per cent), inventory management (21 per cent), contract management (17 per cent) and human resources (15 per cent).
The research also reveals that female-led small businesses are significantly more likely than male counterparts to view investing in social media as key to future business success (34 per cent vs 22 per cent). They are also more likely to see social media support of their business from consumers as important for future success (30 per cent vs 19 per cent).
More than one in three small businesses pivoted their business to explore new revenue streams during the pandemic (37 per cent), with most (85 per cent) saying these streams will continue to be an essential part of their business.
Levels of optimism post-pandemic
Despite the encouraging levels of optimism, one in three businesses do not have a plan in place to ensure future success, and two in five are worried about finding enough suitable staff. The research also shows 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.
Vice President and Country Manager at Intuit QuickBooks Australia Lars Leber said: “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 starting to recover and to hear that small businesses feel hopeful about the future,”
“We’ve seen a notable shift in small businesses prioritising the health and wellbeing of their employees, showing how the pandemic has made everyone reconsider what’s most important. They still need the support of the government and Aussie consumers and want to see continued vaccine uptake.”
Health over wealth
Mandating vaccines and supporting the vaccination efforts is the number one government requirement according to Australian small businesses, with almost half (47 per cent) saying this is their top priority. Following this, was the opening of domestic and international borders (44 per cent), ongoing grants programs (30 per cent), networking opportunities (22 per cent) and training opportunities (21 per cent).
When asked what support small businesses would like to see from their local community, more than half (55 per cent) said their number one ask of Australians was to get vaccinated. Returning to favourite local small businesses was a close second (51 per cent).
When asked about planning for future success, small businesses are again prioritising wellbeing and health, with 58 per cent saying the mental health and wellbeing of employees and work-life balance were their most important focuses.
Advisor support critical
Accountants and bookkeepers continue to play a key role in supporting Australian small businesses, with 70 per cent saying their advisor helped them through the pandemic. One in five small businesses said their business would not have survived if it wasn’t for their accountant or bookkeeper.
Advisors will also play a key role in future business success, with more than eight in ten (84 per cent) small businesses saying their support will be crucial in getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
Leber added: “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.”
This research was commissioned and funded by Intuit Quickbooks Australia, and conducted by YouGov Plc. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 510 small business owners and decision makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 12th October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of small businesses (E1-19) in Australia.
About Intuit: Intuit is a global technology platform which helps our customers and communities overcome their financial challenges. Serving approximately 100 million customers worldwide with TuboTax, QuickBooks, Mint and Credit Karma, Intuit believes that everyone should be able to prosper.
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