Home Telecoms & NBN High-speed broadband helping small businesses thrive: claim
High-speed broadband helping small businesses thrive: claim Courtesy: NBN Co

A comparison of small businesses in mature NBN regions and non-NBN regions who use the accounting software Xero shows that employment in the former grew by a third and increased revenue by two-thirds, a study claims.

The study was carried out by Xero Small Business Insights and economics consultancy firm AlphaBeta and used anonymised, aggregated data from tens of thousands of small businesses that run Xero.

In a statement, Xero claimed the Digital Connectivity Report had shown that small businesses and the economy were benefitting from more exposure to high-speed broadband.

This was helped by the adoption of apps that needed decent bandwidth to run and helped to automate tasks that had been done manually in the past: from processing expenses to scheduling client appointments and rostering staff.

“Many people have been fearful the digital revolution will result in the loss of jobs,” said Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes.

“Instead, what our data suggests, is that it actually does the opposite. It’s enabling small business growth, and those that are leveraging digital the most, are seeing significant benefits.”

Xero cited ABS statistics as pointing out that in 2009-2010, only about 10% of small and medium businesses had a high-speed broadband connection; that figure was now closer to 30% according to the ABS in 2015-16.

The report also claimed that the integration of applications led to better outcomes for small businesses. To arrive at this conclusion, thousands of cloud-based apps that plug into XERO's open API platform were analysed and it was found that small businesses could easily connect to apps that simplified mundane tasks.

ABS statistics were again cited to point out that two-thirds of small businesses were not connected to high-speed broadband. Additionally, approximately 30% of businesses still lodge their business activity statements on paper, while 14% use no technology for their book-keeping and accounting.

“Digital connectivity is evolving rapidly from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. With the mandatory government rollout of Single Touch Payroll, mandatory two-factor authentication, and increased use of e-invoicing, it’s critical that businesses, technology providers, government and advisers come together," Innes said.

"We need to help small businesses overcome barriers like lack of awareness, lack of time, and fear of change to make this digital transition. It will not only help them meet their compliance requirements but will help boost economic growth across Australia.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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