SME businesses cannot rely on the budget to fix issues

| May 10, 2021

Australian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) cannot rely on the budget to resolve post-pandemic issues such as cost control and must instead look internally at their own systems and processes to build business resilience, according to SAP Concur.

Fabian Calle, managing director, small and medium business, SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand, said, “While the government implemented measures to support SMBs at the height of the pandemic and for many months beyond, it is now scaling back this support and expecting SMBs to have processes in place to ensure business continuity. Rather than looking to the upcoming budget for solutions, Australian SMBs must now examine how their own systems and processes may be holding the business back.”

In Australia, manual business processes are currently costing SMBs in terms of administrative costs, business efficiencies, and employee satisfaction. One-third (32 per cent) of SMBs still rely completely on outdated manual processes, which could be costing Australia US$2.07 billion of GDP.1

By contrast, Australian businesses that have automated finance and administrative processes are achieving 98 per cent lower costs to process expense reports, and a 30 per cent overall increase in employee productivity.2

Automation helps SMBs become more efficient, agile and scalable, which builds business resilience against economic impacts. At the same time, automation improves visibility and data security, reducing the potential for errors and risk of fraud. Automation is also crucial for SMBs to attract and retain employees because it takes time away from boring, repetitive tasks, and gives employees more time to focus on creative, strategic initiatives that add business value.

Fabian Calle said, “SMBs need to review current manual processes to determine where they are holding the business back, and what processes could be automated to save cost, improve efficiencies and drive growth. Automating financial processes is the best place to start because expense management automation can help the business achieve strategic objectives such as improving employee satisfaction, and increasing the use of data and analytics to support decision-making.

“COVID-19 showed business leaders that they need to be prepared for anything and that they can’t rely on long-term government support when something goes wrong. Increasingly, SMBs are recognising that the only way to build organisational resilience in the post-pandemic world is through streamlined, automated processes and real-time data insights that allow the business to scale and respond quickly when the market takes a sharp turn.”