76% of SMEs expect to recover by end of 2023

New research from an SME travel management provider has revealed the hopeful outlook Australian small-to-medium sized businesses have for their future recovery.

16 May 2022 

The survey found that while 78% of Australian SMEs were negatively impacted by the global pandemic, among these 76% expected to recover by the end of 2023 or had already recovered.

The findings were derived from a survey of an independent panel of 202 Australian SME business owners, commissioned by Corporate Traveller, Flight Centre Travel Group’s SME business travel specialist division. 

The survey found just 22% of businesses had not been negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Among the businesses that have been impacted, one in three (32%) said they expected to recover by the end of 2022, and one in three (33%) in 2023.

One in four (23%) revealed that their recovery would likely occur after 2023, while 11% of businesses said they had already recovered. Just 2% revealed that they would never recover or had closed their business in the past two years.

“It’s promising to see that a high proportion of SMEs are hopeful for their recovery and are likely to bounce back over the next 18 months,” Tom Walley, global managing director for Corporate Traveller, said.

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“Many SMEs experienced financial hardship or were forced to hibernate, and even close, during the pandemic. This also impacted our economy. However, with business success on the horizon, Australia’s economy can also enjoy a much-needed boost.” 

Businesses were also asked to identify the factors, from a list of 11, that they believed would aid their recovery. Australia’s economic recovery would have the biggest positive impact on SMEs, with this factor chosen by more than half (57%) of respondents.

About 38% of business owners said a return to travel would help their businesses recover, while 36% said returning to the workplace to boost employee engagement and productivity would greatly aid their recovery.

Recruiting better and additional talent would help 31% of SMEs, higher consumer confidence in the economy would help 30%, and reduced inflation would assist 27%, while better technology and government stimulus would help 23% and 21% of businesses, respectively.

“Thanks to the recently announced Federal Budget, more SMEs will be able to tap into the very resources and assistance they said they needed to hasten their recovery,” Mr Walley said. 

“For instance, the government will invest $21 billion in tax cuts to reduce the tax rate to the lowest level in five decades. Businesses will also be able to access new technologies and tax relief for training to upskill their employees.

“I also believe that a return to face-to-face communication will play an important role in the recovery, as do the 38% of businesses who said they need to get back to travel to recover.”

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