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Australian SMEs are embracing strategic spending for growth

The recent Amex Trendex: B2B Edition survey, focusing on business-to-business spending, reveals a strategic growth mindset among Australian businesses.

In the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, 43% of business decision-makers plan to increase spending to gain a competitive edge in the coming year.

In addition to heightened spending, businesses are adopting key strategies to enhance efficiency and productivity. Over the past 12 months, 67% of businesses identified digitisation and automation of payments as a top priority.

For businesses that have already automated payments, 44% reported saving an average of 7.3 hours per week for their finance team. The shift towards digitisation and automation not only results in time and cost efficiencies but also contributes to reducing human errors (47%) and achieving more accurate invoicing (45%).

Key findings from the survey include:

66% of businesses plan to start or further automate the process of receiving customer payments and processing invoices and purchase orders in the next six months.

47% of businesses anticipate increased spending on technology in the next six months, with 69% aiming to enhance productivity.

50% of decision-makers increasing technology spending aim to improve the speed and effectiveness of payments.

81% of business decision-makers acknowledge the growing importance of managing cash flow and working capital.

50% of businesses plan to allocate more funds to advertising, sales, and marketing to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Among those increasing spending on advertising, 40% are focusing on new marketing and advertising channels, and 39% are promoting new products or services.

Lisa Belcher, Vice President of Merchant Partnerships at American Express, emphasizes the resilience of Australian businesses amid challenging conditions: “The Amex Trendex: B2B Edition shows that regardless of their size, businesses are playing the long game, adapting where needed, and seeking ways to improve efficiency and stand out from the competition.”

The research points to a rising sense of optimism among Australian business decision-makers, with 75% expressing optimism about their company’s success in the next 12 months—an increase from 69% in the previous year. Luke Achterstraat, CEO of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), highlights the adaptability of Australian businesses, stating, “Australian businesses are aware of the challenges they face and are engaging in savvier ways to defy all obstacles.”

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