Business management software and services provider Sage has announced the results of its annual Sage Business Index survey. The Sage Business Index gathered the opinions of 2,278 Canadian business owners and is part of a multi-country survey conducted in Canada, the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, South Africa and Malaysia-Singapore.
The Sage Business Index survey indicates that Canadian businesses have increased confidence about their prospects for the next six months with an index score of 63.65 compared to 59.35 in the summer of 2011. (Indexes are based on a scale where zero to 50 is negative and 50 to 100 is positive.) Canadian businesses were more confident than their counterparts in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. When asked if they felt the Canadian economy had improved or declined over the past six months, the sentiment was slightly positive with an index score of 54.62.
While Canadian businesses are confident about their own prospects and those for the country overall, they remain pessimistic about the global economy with an index score of 45.53. However, Canadian businesses are not alone: businesses in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and other Eurozone countries expressed even greater pessimism for the global economy.
A majority of Canadian businesses surveyed (70 per cent) reported revenue either staying the same or increasing over the past six months. Only 19 percent of respondents reported revenue decreasing over that same period. When asked what the biggest concerns for their business are over the next six months, half (51 per cent) indicated the rise in inflation and the increasing cost of energy, one third (33 per cent) indicated instability/uncertainty in local economic market, and one quarter (25 per cent) cited instability/uncertainty in global economic markets, reduced cash flow in the supply chain, and increasing government regulation as concerns.
When Canadian businesses owners were asked about the role customer service has played given the challenges of the economic downturn, less than half (47 percent) indicated customer service had become more important in their operations over the last 12 months. Nearly 40 per cent (38 per cent) are committing more budget or resources towards delivering customer service, while a little over a third (34 per cent) will not.
“Given the role that Sage plays with our small and midsized business customers, we are in the unique position of giving these businesses a voice,” said Nancy Harris, vice president and general manager of the Sage Simply Accounting business. “The findings of the Sage Business Index continue to reflect the positive sentiment that many Canadian businesses have about the future of their companies and about the continued growth of the Canadian economy. With the price of energy continuing to affect consumers and business owners alike, we must be mindful of the impact this will have on the expected economic growth in Canada and around the world.”
The Sage Business Index has a Canadian sample size of 2,278 with a 95 per cent confidence level and an error rate of +/- 2 per cent.