Business confidence up

Finance-iconEurope may be melting down but in Australia business confidence is going up to levels not seen since before the GFC according to two new surveys.

Australian manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers expect big sales boosts in the June quarter, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet National Business Expectations Survey.Finance-icon

The Survey found expectations of a surge in sales that is at the strongest level since the December quarter 2003, well before the onset of the global financial crisis.

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) CEO, Christine Christian, said the strong sentiment was encouraging and corresponded with D&B trade payments and collections data which indicated that business performance tended to experience a cyclical peak during the second quarter of the year.

“Historically, leading indicators of financial stability, such as cash flow, have improved during the June quarter as firms gain momentum. We are also no doubt seeing businesses increasingly factoring in the impact of further interest rate reductions on their operations,” Ms Christian said.

The Survey also suggests this could be a jobless recovery, with business sentiment about future employment falling slightly.

“This would appear to indicate that businesses are still taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach on trading conditions before looking to expand their operations or their workforce,” Ms Christian said.

But another survey by specialist finance and accounting recruitment firm Robert Half polled a sample of 300 chief financial officers and finance directors in Australia and found that 82% are confident in their business’ growth prospects in 2012 and over three-quarters (77%) are confident in Australia’s growth prospects.

32% of finance decision makers plan on hiring finance and accounting staff in the first half of this year.

“This confidence has been reflected in a strong start to hiring in the finance and accounting industry in early 2012,” said Andrew Brushfield, Director at Robert Half.

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