2016 SA State Business Survey
BDO recognises that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the heart of the South Australian economy. BDO is committed to encouraging public debate and being at the forefront of discussion around South Australian business policy reform. Our attendance at the 2016/17 State Budget Lock-up ensured we heard what is planned for SMEs first hand. We will endeavour to continue to facilitate discussions and debate, advocating on behalf of South Australian business.
Between 22 July and the 19 August 2016, BDO South Australia conducted the third annual BDO South Australian State Business Survey, inviting small to medium businesses to participate. We would like to thank the 241 business owners, directors and senior managers who answered questions around taxation, government, company resources, cyber resilience, digital disruption, technology and the cost of doing business in South Australia. Respondents were also asked their opinion on the future of the South Australian economy.
Over the three years of the survey we have tracked business sentiment towards doing business in our state, together with the changing priorities and pressing issues confronting our business community. The continuing change of business models through digital disruption, coupled with the risks posed by cyber-crime reflect these new challenges confronting business. Overall, South Australia’s small and medium-sized businesses are more optimistic about the future than they have been over the previous 12 months. There is a growing need for business to keep abreast of new technology and their IT security or risk undermining their organisation’s competitiveness and business continuity.
Key highlights from the survey:
- BDO is pleased to report the dramatic improvement in business sentiment in the 2016 State Business Survey, noting that 75% of respondents felt the state’s economy was flat or growing, a marked improvement on last year when 78% thought the economy was going backwards
- BDO has noticed a general appetite among clients to grow their business, assume more risk, and enter the South Australian business marketplace with more enthusiasm than in the past few years. 52% of businesses expect to increase their profits over the coming year, compared to 36% in last year’s survey
- BDO is encouraged to see 26% of businesses looking to employ additional staff in the coming year and take advantage of the State Government’s Job Accelerator Grant Scheme. It is important for eligible employers to ensure that they register eligible employees within the required 90 days and make full use of these incentives in their quest for growth
- Finding and retaining staff remains an issue for 3 in 10 businesses, a substantial improvement on 7 in 10 businesses for 2014. South Australia continues to export education services to the world and BDO would encourage our centres of learning to engage with local industry to improve employment outcomes owing from this strength
- 1 in 6 South Australian businesses reported experiencing a cyber attack over the past year. BDO expects that cyber-crime will continue to grow and business must understand the risk, taking active steps to manage it. Simple attacks like cyber criminals creating emails that look like a legitimate supplier or even internal employee interactions are being utilised to obtain payments. Risk mitigation is not just about firewalls and antivirus but must consider business process and internal controls that may no longer be reliable in light of these emerging threats
- Nearly 1 in 2 business leaders said their business model is being disrupted by emerging technologies. A majority were now planning how to respond to this but 23% either haven’t considered it or don’t believe they need to worry about digital disruption as yet. BDO suggests there are few if any industries that will be untouched by new technologies, and it is in every enterprise’s interests to consider what impact such changes may have on its operations in the short to medium term.
- 16% said that over 50% of their revenue comes from new products/services not provided 5 years ago. Opportunities for improved interaction with customers, threats from competitors automating the services provided and weaknesses in manual business processes where automation can achieve the same result are all examples of changes that are rapidly occurring within industries
- 68% of respondents did not know that information was freely available at data.sa which could support their business. This is a useful portal, and BDO encourages the South Australian Government to harness the data resources that it has available and expand the information that can be accessed by business via this and other means
- 70% of South Australian businesses would like to engage with Government at a greater level, however 66% have not initiated any meaningful form of engagement. We would encourage these businesses to invest some time in the “Meet the Buyer” and similar events to understand how they can become a provider of services and products to Government. BDO would like to see the State Government address lingering barriers, such as the onerous costs and pre-qualification hurdles for tendering for government work.
We would like to thank our supporters, including business and industry associations, who shared the survey throughout their networks. Thank you again to all of the businesses that participated.
BDO 2016 South Australian State Business Survey
View our thoughts on the recent state budget (video).
Congratulations also go to Graham Brown from Junction Australia who won the $500 worth of South Australian premium wine for taking part in this year’s survey.
Please contact Anna Storen, firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about the BDO South Australian State Business Survey.
View the 2015 BDO SA State Business survey report.