According to new research commissioned by PayPal Australia, technology comprehension can have a big impact on the growth of Australian SMEs. Three in five SMEs claim that they could run their business more efficiently if they knew more about the digital tools and technology innovation available.
Last week, AU Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and I tackled this issue at PayPal’s annual Driving Business Online event. This is a national education program to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of the digital economy.
It was a great opportunity for me to restate the importance of small business to the economy, a sector that represents 46% of GDP and 73% of all trading entities.
I spoke about the rapid shift to cloud computing within this sector due to the compelling cost savings and agility that moving to the cloud offers to these business owners. I also spoke of the trend we’re seeing among small businesses moving to mobile, with over 145,000 downloads of our smartphone app, Xero Touch. The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull agreed and said that one aspect of the digital economy that businesses are being forced to address is the increasing use of mobile devices by customers.
There’s more to technology than the tools we use though. I also spoke on the wider issues of how technology connects businesses and enhances productivity for everyone. Things like the work we’re doing to provide deeper integration with bank services, as well as the seamless connections that the cloud enables with the 300+ Add-on applications now available with Xero. I also referenced the importance of connections with government agencies and the tax platform that we are building in Australia to support electronic lodgement with the ATO.
The key is having the confidence to think big, but also to understand how to help businesses grow by making sure these tools are available. My hope is that we will see many more of these examples come to the fore. But for that to happen, we need to see real policy focus and investment into the SME sector to encourage business owners to take the leap online. Let’s hope we see positive action and investment from the new Australian Government.