The Bankwest Future of Business: 2017 Outlook Report

media releases

06 February 2017

The Bankwest Future of Business: 2017 Outlook report reveals that more than three quarters (76.2%) of small and medium sized Australian enterprises (SMEs) are confident in their overall prospects for the next three months, despite economic uncertainty and other concerns.

According to the report, compiled by polling 500 small and medium sized business owners, confidence is highest in the finance and insurance industry (88.9%) while firms in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry are feeling less buoyant (62.9%).

Other findings include:

  • Less than one in four (23.8%) SMEs think the Australian economy will grow at a faster rate in the next three months.
  • ‘Uncertain economic conditions in Australia’ is among the most commonly cited key challenges for SMEs in the next 12 months (23.2%), along with ‘managing cash flow’ (25.6%) and ‘achieving business growth’ (23.6%).
  • Meeting compliance obligations, managing workload and staff turnover are other commonly cited concerns that keep SMEs up at night.
  • Despite the economic uncertainty and other concerns, more than three in four (76.2%) SMEs are confident in their overall prospects in the next three months.
  • Close to half also expect an increase in revenue (46.4%) or profit (46.8%), while more than one in three (34.6%) expect cash flow to be better in the next three months.
  • The most commonly cited key opportunities for SMEs in the next 12 months are ‘improving business efficiency’ (42.8%), ‘improving customer satisfaction’ (40.0%) and ‘accessing new customer segments’ (38.4%).

For the first time the business confidence of Australia's SMEs has been quantified in the Bankwest Business Sentiment Index, devised to provide a comprehensive metric that quantifies the overall sentiment of SMEs.

On a scale of -100 (strong negative sentiment) to +100 (strong positive sentiment) the current score of +11.3 is reflected in the responses found throughout the survey.

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