Australian businesses are confident about their prospects for growth with the majority predicting an increase in turnover in the next 12 months, according to new research.
The annual Sage Business Index surveyed close to 14,000 small and medium sized businesses in 18 countries around the world, including 723 Australian businesses.
“This is the first time Australian businesses have been included in the global survey, said Mike Lorge, Managing Director of Sage Business Solutions Australia.
“We’re delighted with the findings of this research as it sets the benchmark in understanding how confident Australian businesses feel about their prospects and how that compares on a global stage.”
For the first time in four years, businesses around the world are also more optimistic than pessimistic, with scores rising above 50 across all three areas surveyed: their own prospects; their national economies; and the global economy.
Australian businesses are optimistic about their own prospects scoring their confidence at 63.71 points out of 100. They are more confident than many other countries when it comes to their national economy scoring it at 54.52, 2.89 points above the global average.
Similarly, confidence in the global economy was 2.47 points above the global average at 54.15. This suggests that Australian business decision-makers believe that both the national and global economies are improving rather than declining.
Australian business optimism also resulted in predictions for growth over the coming year. Over half of businesses (53%) anticipate their turnover will grow by an average of 0.6% in the next year. Australian small and medium sized businesses also expect to increase headcount by 2.7% over the next year, 0.7pp higher than the global average.
Australian businesses are also seen to be more open to risk. Over half of business decision makers (53%) described themselves as risk-seekers, 4% above the global average of 49%.
Among the most confident Australian businesses were those with operations beyond their domestic market.
Nearly half of those surveyed (42%) currently do business in countries outside their own, stating that exports account for 21% of turnover on average. Indeed, exporters say the last year has been a strong year, with 41% seeing their level of exports increase and just 11% saying they have fallen.
Further, businesses expect export turnover to increase in the next year by 3.5%.
However, many Australian businesses do not feel they are supported in their ambitions to grow their exports. Less than a fifth (19%) say they receive the support they need from government, with over a third (34%) saying the one thing the government should do to help them grow exports is to provide greater financial incentives.