Business is back, despite headwinds – Westpac

The big bank also announces a new offer for eligible business customers

Business is back, despite headwinds – Westpac


By Mina Martin

The majority of businesses are optimistic about the future and believe they’ve already faced the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite challenges such as labour shortages and supply chain disruption, new Westpac research has revealed.

Findings show that 64% of small businesses believe the economy will rebound further in the next 12 months, while 78% feel better prepared to deal with the COVID-19 uncertainty this year.

With businesses gearing up for growth in the coming months, an exclusive tie-up with business management platform MYOB will enable Westpac to provide eligible business customers with a bonus 12-months of the MYOB Business Lite or Pro software, saving them up to $600.

The offer, which is available for new and existing eligible Westpac business customers who sign up as new MYOB customers via, will provide them access to the cloud-based software that reduces complexity for growing businesses by automating tasks such as cashflow management and financial reporting, alongside premium features such as payroll.

“Westpac’s latest research shows Australian small businesses are confident about future success, despite some economic uncertainty,” said Mandy Rutherford, Westpac managing director for cash and transactional banking. “In fact, 68% of small businesses said they are optimistic about the current business environment, while three quarters (75%) expect their sales to increase and seven in 10 (71%) expect their business to grow in the next 12 months. As the economy continues to rebound after COVID-19, consumers are back spending with confidence, and we’re hearing about customers with more savings than ever before and businesses not being able to keep up with demand. It’s no surprise businesses are feeling positive about the year ahead. We also found nine in 10 (89%) small businesses using business management systems say it has helped their business grow.”

Interestingly, 29% of small businesses don’t use any software but believe it could help their business, and they have nominated cost (16%) as the main barrier to entry, the study showed.

“Equipping small businesses with the tools they need beyond everyday banking will help business owners and operators have better oversight of their financial position, to assist with planning and decision making,” Rutherford said. “In the coming weeks, we will also be further integrating customer banking data within MYOB business management software. This will allow customers to view daily updated activity across their business term deposit, credit card and transactional accounts, for more convenient and transparent financial insights.”

The study also revealed that while small businesses are upbeat, there are still economic headwinds. Increased cost-of-living (45%) has been identified as the biggest challenge for them over the next 12 months, followed by inflation (39%), interest rate rises (31%), and disruptions from COVID-19 (30%).

“Giving SMEs full oversight of their business operations has never been more essential in establishing certainty for the future,” said Emma Fawcett, general manager of SME for MYOB. “The research shows current economic factors are creating a tightrope for Australia's SMEs. Pressures spanning the cost of doing business through to the availability of critical materials and talent, have the potential to form a thorny compilation of issues for business owners to navigate. All can result in cashflow complexities that are challenging to plan for. We are delighted to be working with Westpac to provide a solution for businesses across Australia.”

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