Having spent 20 years in the technology industry, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of adopting digital tools and the positive impact this can have on effectively running a business. The benefits of technology adoption and use has been a recurring theme in the Xero Small Business Insights (XSBI) program, which provides rich data every month on how small businesses are faring. Our latest XSBI special report, launched today, looks at recent trends in both technology spending and app usage, and the benefits these bring to small businesses.
The report – Picking up the pace: Trends in small business technology adoption and use – tracks how the pandemic boosted technology adoption across Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including what has happened so far during 2021. It also looks at differences in technology adoption patterns across countries, industries and business sizes. And, it explores the impact of being digitally-enabled on small business resilience throughout COVID-19.
Exploring technology adoption through the eyes of small business owners
We also speak to two small businesses that have been technology adopters. Charles McKay is CEO of Synx, a sales and marketing agency in Australia connected to more than 20 apps. Charles says the biggest benefit of connecting apps is that they solve business problems at scale.
“A problem will come up, and rather than throwing a person at a problem, I look at how we can use an app. I’d prefer to scale the platform and the process rather than increase our staff headcount for mundane tasks. I’d rather my people focused on much higher value and more impactful work,” says Charles.
When the pandemic really took hold at the start of 2020, Charles’ clients benefitted from being really digitally-connected.
“We received a lot of feedback that they felt really well prepared in this more digital environment. Even a timber flooring installer got in touch to say he was fully equipped, which was great.”
Newer to technology adoption is Dale James. Dale owns Racetorx, a UK-based motorcycle parts and accessories business. He admits that everything in the back end of the business was “manual and messy” before his new accountant encouraged him to start using a suite of apps.
For Dale, embracing digitalisation has had a huge impact on the day-to-day running of Racetorx. “I wanted to know more about what was going on in my business, and I was chasing my accountant for a lot of things,” says Dale. “It was too stressful, so I moved to Moore Thompson. Having Xero and Moore Thompson on board means my business runs so much smoother.”
Both of these business owners have experienced first-hand the benefits of embracing technology. I hope their experiences provide some inspiration for other small business owners at different stages of their own technology adoption journeys.
Whether you are an adviser, a policy maker or a small business owner, I really encourage you to consider the findings we explore. After what has been an incredibly challenging two years for many small businesses, it’s never been more important to embrace all available tools to drive improved business performance.
As we look ahead to next year, I sincerely hope 2022 will be a better year for all small businesses, their people, and our communities globally.