The SME Business Barometer: August 2011 has been released this month (Oct 2011).
These are some of the key points from the Summary:
- The state of the economy was felt to be main obstacle to success by 45 per cent of SME employers in August 2011.
- Obtaining finance was the second most frequently mentioned main obstacle (in a five percentage point raise since February 2011, it was mentioned by 12 per cent of SME employers). The next most frequently mentioned obstacles were taxation, cashflow, competition and regulations.
- In levels similar to February 2011 and December 2010, 26 per cent of SME employers in August 2011 were employing fewer staff than 12 months previously. Sixty per cent had the same number of staff as 12 months previously (compared with 58 per cent stating this in February 2011); and 14 per cent had more staff than 12 months previously (compared with 15 per cent stating this in February 2011). The trend over the previous year indicates a greater degree of stability in employment levels.
- Expectations of staffing levels over the next 12 months have remained relatively static since September 2009. In August 2011, 25 per cent of SME employers believed that in a year’s time they would be employing more staff than currently. This compares with 61 per cent who believed employment levels would remain stable, and 14 per cent who believed there would be a decrease in employment levels.
- In August 2011 30 per cent of SME employers saw an increase in turnover in the previous 12 months, compared to 34 per cent stating their turnover had decreased. For 36 per cent turnover was about the same as it was 12 months previously. This last figure represents the greatest proportion of employers stating their turnover levels are the same as 12 months ago since ASBS 07/08., and overall the trends suggest stabilisation of turnover levels.
- Looking ahead, SME employers that participated in the August 2011 Barometer were more likely than in the February 2011 Barometer to have felt that their turnover in 12 month’s time would be the same (46 per cent, compared to 37 per cent in February 2011). Thirty-one per cent felt their turnover would be higher in 12 months time than currently and 21 per cent felt it would be lower.