Singaporean small businesses that leverage technology are more likely to experience business growth, according to global professional accounting body, CPA Australia.
Around one-third (36.4%) of Singapore’s small businesses grew in 2021, a slight increase from 35.5% in 2020. This result was affected by COVID-19, increasing costs and challenging economic landscape.
Among businesses that grew, 58% found their investment in technology last year made their business more profitable.
These are among the new findings from CPA Australia’s annual survey of small business issues and sentiment across 11 Asia-Pacific markets, including Singapore.
Over four in 10 of Singapore’s small businesses surveyed reported that more than 10% of their revenue came from online sales. It was also found that 58.1% received more than 10% of their sales through new payment technologies.
However, the survey found that one in five of Singapore’s small businesses are still not using new digital payment options, while around a third did not earn any revenue from online sales.
According to the survey, the top four factors that had a positive influence on growing small businesses in Singapore were:
- Customer loyalty
- Improved business strategy
- Cost control
“In an uncertain business environment, it’s important for small businesses to focus on the fundamentals of a business – increasing value and satisfaction for the customer while managing costs,” said Max Loh, CPA Australia’s Divisional President for Singapore. “An increased focus on technology is one way that small businesses can achieve long term growth. The government has a number of grants available that businesses can access to assist with the costs of adopting technology, such as the SME Go Digital programme.
“Small businesses should continue to invest in technology to improve their ability to reach customers, improve customer satisfaction and increase efficiency. This will drive their profitability higher.”
As businesses invest more in technology, cybersecurity is an area that small businesses will be susceptible to. In the last six months, 34% reviewed their business cybersecurity protection, while nearly three in 10 expect to be cyberattacked this year.
“Small businesses will not be spared from costly cyberattacks and have to manage cyber-risks to protect their operations and maintain their reputation,” added Loh.
The growth outlook for small businesses in Singapore remains cautious due to global political tensions, supply chain disruptions and rising costs. Just over half of businesses surveyed (53%) expect their business to grow in the next 12 months.
CPA Australia recommends that Singapore’s small businesses consider the following measures:
- Focus on investing in technology to meet changing consumer behaviour
- Utilise social media to learn more about potential customers
- Seek professional advice