RE:START 2020 - The state of South African small business

This year’s state of small business research shows that technology adoption is continuing to grow, but we need to see it accelerate further.

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Colin Timmis, 
Xero South Africa Country Manager

Trends set to shape recovery in South Africa

For the past five years, we’ve been tracking the state of South Africa’s small business community through our annual research. We’ve heard from small businesses about the biggest challenges they’ve faced, the technology driving their growth and the support they need to thrive.

Despite the extreme challenges they face this year, at Xero we believe that with the right support, small businesses can and will recover. This will require collaboration between the government and many across the private sector including fintechs, financial institutions and accountants.

We’ve used the findings of our research, alongside advice from industry experts, to map out the key areas small businesses need to focus on for recovery.

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Key statistics


Pace of technology

A third of small businesses say they are being left behind due to the latest developments in technology


Hiring challenges

Over two-thirds of small businesses report struggling to hire talent with the right skills as a significant challenge.


Rise of cloud accounting

In 2017, just 13% of respondents used the cloud for accounting. This year, it sits at 61% of businesses - an increase of 48%


Role of accountants

28% of small business owners want their accountant to act as a full-on business consultant

Customer stories

Q&A with Maryke Musson

Going virtual during lockdown meant the Two Oceans Education Foundation could inspire children across the world.

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Q&A with Kristen Buttress

How going digital helped Kristen’s Kick-ass Ice Cream boost business during the pandemic.

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