Canberra is turning out Australia’s healthiest small businesses

Elizabeth Barry 19 December 2017

small business

The ACT has seen a major employment boom and a drop in late payments during 2017.

Our healthiest small businesses reside in the nation’s capital, according to a 12-month analysis of Xero Small Business Insights data. The anonymised data from Xero’s 500,000 Australian subscribers found that in the 12 months to October 2017, the ACT experienced the highest percentage growth in small business employment compared to all other states and territories, growing at 9.92%. Australia’s national average was 7.8%.

ACT small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also have their invoices paid at one of the fastest rates in the country (albeit still late). For invoices with 30-day payment terms, ACT businesses were paid in an average of 31.35 days. The national average was 34.94 days.

“Small businesses in the ACT have seen significant growth over the past 12 months, a testament to the conditions for businesses there, but overarchingly Australian small businesses had a strong 2017,” said Trent Innes, Xero Australia managing director.

There was an improvement across all five metrics tracked by Xero Small Business Insights: cash flow, hiring, payment times, trading overseas and cloud adoption.

Improvement included a 7.8% increase in employment, a 3.61% increase in the number of cash-flow positive businesses and a 2.27% drop in payment times for businesses with 30-day payment times for invoices.

“The moves to change payment times have had a major impact on small businesses as well. As big businesses pledge to pay suppliers faster, we have seen a full working day cut from the amount of time it takes for late invoices to be paid. This is the start of a big and important trend and we look forward to seeing it continue into 2018,” said Innes.

How are businesses faring in other states?

  • NSW and VIC. Small businesses in these states increased their global transactions month-on-month in October, with a 5.99% increase for NSW and a 2.8% increase for Victoria.
  • WA. Small businesses in our western state experienced the slowest growth of all of the states, increasing 3.03% year-on-year for employment.
  • QLD. Small businesses in metro areas of Queensland experienced double-digit year-on-year employment growth, but the same growth hasn’t happened for regional businesses.
  • SA and VIC. Businesses are dealing with some of the slowest payment times in the country in these states, averaging 37.2 days in SA and 36.7 days in Vic per invoice. However, these times are on a downward trend.

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