A survey by CPA Australia has found that while small business is driving recovery and growth in South East Asia, Australia is lagging behind.
CPA Australia Asia-Pacific small business survey 2009 compared 1000 small business operators with employees of less than 20 in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, and found that Australian small businesses are lagging behind their international counterparts when it comes to basic management practices.
“Australian owners are the least likely to undertake even the most basic management activity (such as stock and debtor control) and also the least likely to seek additional funds,” the survey said.
The survey found that Australian businesses are also lagging when it comes to growth prospects and staff expansion. According to the survey, Malaysian owners are the most bullish about growth prospects and for staff expansion (44 percent), followed by Hong Kong (20 percent), Singapore (17 percent); and Australia (4 percent).
Local CPA Australia business policy adviser Gavan Ord says this research confirms that businesses have been hoarding labour over the past 12 months, and that’s unlikely to change with 88 percent of Australian respondents not increasing their hires.
The study also found that Asian businesses had greater flexibility with funding, and borrowed for growth. A higher proportion of Australian business operators were unaware of the level of interest paid on business loans (24 percent), compared with Singaporean owners (7 percent), Hong Kong owners (3 percent) and Malaysian owners (6 percent).
According to Bill Lockett, consultant at Franchise Systems Group, finding finance is a lot more difficult in Australia than Asia.
“Private funding is more common in Asia, and our regulatory framework here isn’t so favourable.”
38,000 businesses at risk of financial distress