Half of all respondents to the 7th annual BDO State Business Survey have expressed confidence in the growth of SA’s economy, up from 20 per cent in 2019.
Just 4 per cent believe the economy is going backwards, according to the survey, the lowest level since it began and down from 23 per cent last year.
A further 46 per cent believe the economy is neither growing nor going backwards, but seems to be stagnating – an 11 per cent decrease on last year’s results.
Responses also show a business community that has fared better than expected during the events of 2020, has managed to retain staff and expects to do so in the coming year.
“We had two months of significant downturn, starting mid-March, but since mid-May, our fortunes have swung the other way and we are now experiencing record sales,” a respondent from the retail sector said.
Another survey respondent said: “The overall impact was lesser than anticipated and the recovery has been far quicker than hoped.”
A little over half of respondents reported that the impact of COVID-19 on their business to date has been better than expected in February 2020 and 55 per cent say they are not currently receiving or participating in any form of government assistance.
Unsurprisingly, 32 per cent of those still requiring assistance measures are receiving JobKeeper support, followed by payroll tax relief at 8 per cent.
Of those currently receiving JobKeeper, 58 per cent have less than 5 employees and 26 per cent have an annual turnover of $250 thousand or less – making our smallest businesses the most reliant on a measure that is due to end in March 2021.
While there has been much discussion about the impact that the end of JobKeeper will have on these small businesses, the majority of respondents (55 per cent) are expecting staff numbers to stay the same over the coming 12 months.
About 36 per cent are even expecting headcount to increase – which is great news and a further sign of optimism among business owners and leaders.
In perhaps the biggest show of positive sentiment among the SA business community, most respondents are anticipating an increase in both turnover and profits over the next 12 months – 51 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.
Results from this year’s survey are painting the picture of a South Australian business community that is optimistic and feeling confident about our economic recovery – something we can all feel good about at the end of a tough year.
Stay tuned for further results over the coming fortnight and visit bdo.com.au/sasbs to register to receive a copy of the full report when it is released.