There is growing optimism and confidence in the state of the economy among small to medium-sized businesses, according to a recent survey released by Right Networks. In the poll of 364 SMBs, over 76 percent felt encouraged about the prospects for new business, with 59 percent of respondents planning to add jobs in the next six months.
This 18 question SMB Cloud Impact survey polled 364 small to medium-sized businesses and accounting professionals: gauging their scale of business, overall feel for the current climate of the economy, and potential for business and job growth. The poll also sampled SMBs for their opinions on whether cloud technology is making it possible to better serve their clients and seek new business opportunities.
The survey revealed positive business outlooks, according to the polled SMBs, including but not limited to:
- Business Optimism: Over half (51%) of the respondents in the survey indicated they had reason to feel “cautiously optimistic” about their business while another 48 answered with even more enthusiasm, choosing “confident/bullish” as a response, indicating a high business confidence. Another 16% indicated a “neutral” response while only 14 replied with a “slightly negative” answer.
- Job Fufillment: 39% of respondents pointed to spending more time building relationships with clients as a factor in finding fulfillment in their work. Other key factors include the actual administrative tasks including data entry, management reporting, tax return submissions, number-crunching, and developing balance sheets.
- Confidence in the Economy: When asked to rate their confidence level in the economy compared to six months earlier, 61% responded that they were at least “moderately confident” while another 32 respondents indicated they were “very confident” in the prospects of the national economy. When asked whether they were planning to hire new employees in the next six months, 59% of the respondents indicated an affirmative response.
“These results from the Right Networks SMB Cloud Impact survey indicate that both CPA firms and their small business clients are leveraging the cloud to build better relationships and stronger businesses as they optimistically look to the future,” said Rachel Krug, Director of Product Marketing at Right Networks.
This survey also revealed hurdles for SMBs, related to implementing new technology:
- Business Frustrations and Challenges: When asked to cite their biggest frustrations and challenges, answers among the SMB respondents varied greatly. Concerns over healthcare and associated employee costs topped the list at 32%, followed closely by government regulations (31%), employee management (30%), managing cash flow (30%), and managing work-life balance (29%). In total, there were 10 specific factors highlighted by SMBs in the survey.
- Cloud Technology Hurdles: While embracing cloud technology would seem a logical step for growing SMBs, the survey pointed to several significant hurdles in actually implementing and executing a plan. Asked to indicate the “biggest barrier” to moving their business to cloud services, 21% of the respondents pointed to cost. Another 53 pointed to security concerns while 46 named work flow disruption as a problem.
“It’s clear from the survey that several concerns still stand in the way of SMBs and the leap to cloud technology that can take all of them to that next level of productivity,” continued Rachel Krug. “These results also show that SMBs are taking many factors into careful consideration before making the substantial commitment to the cloud. Our Right Networks team is prepared to partner with CPA firms, accounting professionals, and SMBs to help them make the best decision possible.”