Media releasePublished on 24 April 2024

Xero data shows stabilizing trend for small business sector amid slowing decline in sales

Canadian Xero Small Business Insights now includes province-specific data for British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario

Toronto — April 24, 2024Xero, the global small business platform, today released its latest Xero Small Business Insights (XSBI) quarterly update for Canada, based on data from October to December 2023. The data showed that Canada’s small business sales decline may be levelling off, which is an encouraging signal for the small business economy. While the sales decline was less than in previous quarters (-4.3% year-over-year [y/y] in the September quarter), small businesses still experienced lower sales compared to the December quarter in 2022, sitting at -3.8% y/y.

Small businesses were paid an average of 8.6 days late in the quarter, slightly higher than in the previous quarter (8.0 days), and the average time small businesses waited to be paid after issuing an invoice increased to 29.4 days from 29.0. After seeing improvement in previous quarters, the recent increase in time to be paid metrics was a disappointing shift.

Earlier this month, the Bank of Canada (BoC) announced an interest rate hold for the sixth consecutive time since July 2023. Small businesses eager for a rate cut will need to wait to see what happens at the June meeting. Recent ongoing improvements in inflation, coupled with Canada’s flattening sales decline and new incentives and rebate measures announced by the Canadian Federal Government as part of Budget 2024, hint at a potentially more positive trend on the horizon. Xero’s data makes it clear, however, that small businesses are still feeling the squeeze for the near term.

“The latest XSBI data signals that Canada’s small business economy was starting to head in the right direction at the end of 2023 — which we hope brings positive energy to the sector’s stakeholders,” said Louise Southall, Economist, Xero. “Market consensus is that the next move in official interest rates is most likely to be down, and now is the time to really focus on sustainable business decisions, such as encouraging prompt payments, as we hopefully move closer to improved small business outcomes in the next quarter.”

Provincial small business data

In addition to tracking national small business data, from this quarter onwards the Canadian XSBI program has expanded to include province-specific updates, tracking sales performance and time to be paid from 2017 onward for Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Highlights from each province include:

  • Alberta small businesses had the smallest decline in sales in the December quarter, down 3.0% y/y. This was followed by British Columbia (-3.4% y/y) and then Ontario (-5.4% y/y).
  • Small businesses in British Columbia were paid the quickest, at an average of 27.1 days in the December quarter, followed by Alberta (27.7 days) and Ontario (29.2 days).

“Expanding the XSBI program to include provincial data for British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario enables more informed decision making from stakeholders who are in need of this real, economic data,” said Faye Pang, Canada Country Manager, Xero. “We encourage small business owners and operators to pay attention to the signals the market is sending—lean on your advisors, get smart with cloud accounting and other digital tools, and plan ahead.”

Each quarter, Xero provides small business performance data for Canada and the United States, covering sales, time to be paid, and late payments across tens of thousands of its small business subscribers. The program also releases small business data covering Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This Xero Small Business Insights data and a free summary update are available to download each quarter at


Media Contact

Xero | Diandra Binney |

About Xero

Xero is a global small business platform with 3.95 million subscribers which includes a core accounting solution, payroll, workforce management, expenses and projects. Xero also has an extensive ecosystem of connected apps and connections to banks and other financial institutions helping small businesses access a range of solutions from within Xero’s open platform to help them run their business and manage their finances. Xero is a FIFA Women’s Football partner.

About Xero Small Business Insights

The aim of Xero Small Business Insights is to create insights to help inform decision makers in support of the small business economy as a whole. The principal source of small business insights in this report is customer data from Xero - a small business platform that supports online accounting and a range of other applications. Xero is a responsible custodian of our customers' sensitive data and does not release any data that could identify individual businesses. The data used is aggregated and anonymized to ensure the privacy of Xero subscribers, and their counterparts.

As part of the program, we publish regular blogs and research notes and deep-dive Special Reports on specific small business topics. These can all be found at

Full details of the methodology can be found here.


This media release includes and is in parts based on assumptions or estimates. It contains general information only and should not be taken as taxation, financial, investment or legal advice. Xero recommends that readers always obtain specific and detailed professional advice about any business decision. The insights in this release were created from the data that was available as at the date it was extracted. Data used was anonymized and aggregated to ensure individual businesses can not be identified.

For all media enquiries, please contact the Xero media team.

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