New Pin Payments’ survey reveals the biggest concerns for Australian and New Zealand small businesses

New Pin Payments’ survey reveals the biggest concerns for Australian and New Zealand small businesses

A new study conducted by online payments provider Pin Payments has revealed the biggest concerns facing SMEs in Australia and New Zealand, with cybercrime, cost of living and late payments taking the lead.

The survey had responses from over 700 participants, who were either business owners or employed at a managerial or executive level within an SME. The results provided a unique snapshot into the current state of play for SMEs in Australia and New Zealand, highlighting the core issues and key differences between the countries.

Cybercrime was top of the list for Australian businesses, with 72 percent reporting fears regarding business fraud and 43 percent stating it was their biggest concern. Despite these worries, only 36 percent reported using two factor authentication as a security measure, showing a lack of fraud prevention across SMBs in Australia.

In New Zealand, the biggest concern for small businesses was late payments, with one in two businesses reporting it as a major challenge. Aussie SMBs weren’t far behind, with one in three people claiming it as a significant issue.

Unsurprisingly, economic instability was a major pain point for businesses in both nations, with a staggering 76 percent in Australia and 75 percent in New Zealand reporting that business has been impacted by inflation or rising costs, with customer spending decreasing by over 60 percent in both countries. Other reasons included, high borrowing costs and an inability to expand.

CEO of Pin Payments Chris Dahl (pictured) said, it is clear to see the real impacts interest rate rises, inflation and increased costs of living is having on small businesses across both countries.

“This has been a growing area of concern for small businesses for years. Post-pandemic businesses haven’t had a break, with rising costs crippling opportunities for growth and leading to missed opportunities that impact revenue and, ultimately, business survival,” said Dahl.

“In the last 12 months, the Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 7.8 percent, its highest since 1990. Coupled with the difficulties businesses are already facing, that’s concerning for the survival of small businesses which underpin our nation.”

In New Zealand, 50 percent of businesses said they had no plans to grow or expand. This was in stark contrast to Australia, who reported 1 in 2 businesses with plans to scale.

“It’s clear to see from these survey results, that New Zealand small businesses have been hit harder than Australia by recent global economic instability. Yet, New Zealand is a nation made up of small businesses, with over 5 million SMBs, making their survival vital to the country’s vibrant culture and GDP,” said Dahl.

Recruitment sentiments between the two countries were another indicator of the disproportionate impacts of inflation, with Australian businesses being 27 percent more likely to hire in 2024 than New Zealand.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty for small businesses in both countries right now which leads to a halt in innovation and growth. Our nations share a union and often work side by side, with an overlap in businesses and staff. Therefore, the survival and support of the startup and SMB ecosystems in both countries is vital,” said Dahl.

Looking ahead, the future of small businesses in Australia and New Zealand will depend heavily on greater collaboration, comprehensive support, and the fostering of a vibrant ecosystem for the SME and startup community.

Initiatives such as providing better access to funding, implementing robust mentorship programs, and fostering innovation through technology adoption are crucial to the continued success and survival of small businesses.

“Despite challenging conditions, SMEs across both nations have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability over the past few years. Inflation has undoubtedly had a significant impact on small businesses, but with acknowledgment of these challenges and ongoing support, SMEs will continue to overcome obstacles and thrive in the long term,” added Dahl.