With the end of the financial year for 2013, new research released by Telstra shows Australian small businesses are primarily focused on using technology to reduce cost and complexity in their operations for fiscal year 2014.
The national survey of 1000 small business owners* reveals that the number one priority for the year ahead is decreasing business costs, indicated by 80 per cent of respondents.
Over sixty per cent of businesses surveyed in the manufacturing, agriculture, retail and hospitality industries said that the increasing cost of doing business was a key frustration, with taxes (38 per cent), insurance (35 per cent), payroll (30 percent), rent (26 per cent) and utilities (25 per cent) the largest expenses.
Many businesses also identified investing in updated technology as a priority for the year ahead, seeing it as key to reducing business costs. Sixty one per cent of respondents identified new technology as a priority, with up to 80 per cent claiming they don’t currently use technology to increase staff productivity.
Telstra Executive Director of Small Business Sales and Service, John Boniciolli, said the research findings emphasised the growing importance of technology in driving cost efficiencies.
“The increasing cost of doing business is clearly having a major effect on small business,” Mr Boniciolli said.
“There are several external factors that businesses can’t control such as broader economic conditions, but it’s clear that for many, they are looking to technology to create cost savings and efficiencies.
“There is recognition that technology such as cloud computing, mobile Wi-Fi technology, smartphones and tablets can now help people work smarter, but not necessarily harder.
“In planning for the year ahead, for the first time Australian small businesses are ranking smartphones as a more important technology than laptops. In fact, smartphones were ranked as the most important business technology by 69 per cent of small businesses, only a fraction behind desktop computers at 71 per cent.
“It’s no surprise that Australian small businesses are ranking smartphones as one of the most important technologies for doing business. These days the latest smartphones let you check email, edit documents and view presentations on the go, which makes them an invaluable tool – connecting you to your business when you need it.
“There are now also mobile business apps, which can even replace pen and paper forms, enabling the humble phone to perform even the most complicated of business processes from the palm of your hand,” said Mr Boniciolli.
*Telstra Smarter Business Monitor, April 2013