The September 2014 MYOB Business Monitor Report also showed a relatively stable level of revenue growth among SMEs and a continuation of the downward trend in falling revenue. Under a third (31 per cent) reported a decrease in annual revenue in the 12 months to August 2014, and 21 per cent reported an increase. A further 42 per cent reported a steady level of revenue over the past 12 months.
Looking to the year ahead, 32 per cent of business operators said they expect to see revenue increase in the next 12 months, slightly up from 34 per cent in the March survey. Fewer (18 per cent) of businesses said they expect revenue to decline in the year to August 2015, down from 22 per cent in March.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said he is pleased to see revenue results for Australia’s SMEs continuing to move in the right direction.
“Although the latest Business Monitor reflects that running a small business in the current economic environment is not easy, many local operators are beginning to see their hard work pay dividends,” Mr Reed said.
“This survey again reinforces how resilient our SME community is and underscores how important they are to the economy as a whole. It is particularly heartening to see many more businesses looking forward to an improved end to the year, and confident about what 2015 will bring.”
“It’s also pleasing to see the manufacturing sector, which has had a pretty tough road to travel in recent years, showing renewed vigour,” added Mr Reed.
The MYOB report showed that key areas of increased investment for SME operators for the next 12 months include customer retention strategies (27 per cent), customer acquisition strategies (26 per cent), the number or variety of products or services offered by the business (26 per cent) and prices and margins on the products or services sold (25 per cent).
MYOB said the top three priorities have been relatively consistent over the last three years, through six consecutive waves of the Business Monitor.
Mr Reed said there is some encouraging news in this latest MYOB Business Monitor but that “it is worth highlighting the continued challenges facing the SME sector”.
“Small businesses are having to work hard for every customer and every sale, while feeling the squeeze from both external pressures like the cost of fuel and the high dollar and market conditions, including competition, margins and cash flow.”
“There are still more small businesses reporting declining revenue than seeing revenue grow. In this environment, where the revenue outlook is improving but is not yet strong, we need to remain focused on doing everything we can to support our SME community,” Mr Reed said.