Australian businesses less confident than Indonesian,
Malaysian firms

Confidence amongst Australian small businesses remains low, with more than a third of firms not expecting their business to grow in 2013 and with nearly 30 per cent of firms anticipating the economy to shrink a little in the coming year.

These are some of the findings from CPA Australia's Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey 2012, which was conducted in October 2012 surveying firms with less than 20 employees in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The survey found that Australian businesses were not particularly positive about their current situation or future plans, compared to Indonesian and Malaysian small businesses.

In particular, nearly half of Indonesian firms expected the economy to grow strongly in 2013, up from 42 per cent in 2012. The same proportion of Malaysian small businesses also expected the economy to expand strongly in 2013. When it came to their own operations, a significant 94 per cent of Indonesian firms and 87 per cent of Malaysian firms expected to grow in 2013, compared with 60 per cent of Australian firms. Additionally, 15 per cent of Australian small businesses expected their operations to shrink in the coming year, compared with only one per cent of Indonesian firms and five per cent in Malaysia.
In terms of financing, 30 per cent of Australian firms found it difficult to obtain finance, with similar responses recorded in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Malaysia, while nearly half of Indonesian companies fell into this category.

Furthermore, only 29 per cent of businesses in Australia indicated they sought additional finance in 2012, with the primary reasons being business survival and to cover increasing expenses. However in Indonesia, 88 per cent sought extra financing for business growth purposes, followed by business survival.

"Given that requiring funding for business growth for [Australia] was below expectation, this tends to show a flat economy. There is, however, a shift away from survival mode for some businesses. This may indicate Australian businesses have accepted current economic conditions will persist for some time and have implemented strategies to consolidate their business."

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