The latest Amex Trendex: B2B Edition, a survey on business-to-business (B2B) spending, has found that Australian businesses are tactically prioritising growth in the year ahead, with 43% of business decision makers planning to spend more to gain a competitive edge amid continued economic uncertainty.
On top of spending more, Australian businesses are deploying key strategies to find efficiencies designed to unlock greater productivity. Over the last 12 months, 67% of businesses agreed that the digitisation and automation of payments had become an increased priority.
For those businesses that had already automated payments, 44% reported saving an average of 7.3 hours per week of their finance team’s time.
With time and cost efficiencies gained, digitising and automating payments have powered better business, including reducing human error (47%) and more accurate invoicing (45%) according to the research.
Additional findings include:
- 66% of businesses said they will start automating or will further automate the process of receiving customer payments and processing invoices and purchase orders over the next 6 months.
- 47% of businesses are expecting to spend more on technology in the next six months, with 69% of these aiming to improve productivity.
- 50% of decision makers who are planning on spending more on technology are doing so because they want to improve the speed and effectiveness of making and receiving payments.
- 81% of business decision makers agreed that managing cash flow and working capital have become more important over the last 12 months.
- 50% of businesses are expecting to spend more money on advertising, sales and marketing to differentiate themselves from competitors.
- 40% of those businesses expecting to spend more on advertising, sales and marketing are focusing their investment on new marketing and advertising channels, and 39% are promoting new products or services as part of their marketing strategy.
Lisa Belcher, Vice President of Merchant Partnerships at American Express says: “Once again we are reminded of the tenacity of Australian businesses as they pursue growth in the face of challenging economic conditions. The Amex Trendex: B2B Edition shows that regardless of their size, businesses are playing the long game, adapting where needed and seeking ways to improve efficiency and stand out from the competition.”
“The faster a business grows, the faster its payables and incoming revenue grows. Money is the lifeblood of any business, so it’s important that businesses continue to innovate their payment processes to avoid delays that can lead to major cash flow implications down the track.”
The research reveals a growing sense of optimism among Australian business decision makers. 75% reported feeling optimistic about the success of their company over the next 12 months – up from 69% on last year’s report.
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s (COSBOA) Chief Executive Officer, Luke Achterstraat said: “Australians have always been resilient, and this extends to how they manage businesses. Throughout the pandemic and the effects thereafter, small businesses have managed to pivot and re-prioritise to work smarter for their success. This latest research is abundantly clear: Australian businesses are aware of the challenges they face and are engaging in savvier ways to defy all obstacles.”