The study was carried out by Xero Small Business Insights and economics consultancy firm AlphaBeta and used anonymised, aggregated data from tens of thousands of small businesses that run Xero.
In a statement, Xero claimed the Digital Connectivity Report had shown that small businesses and the economy were benefitting from more exposure to high-speed broadband.
This was helped by the adoption of apps that needed decent bandwidth to run and helped to automate tasks that had been done manually in the past: from processing expenses to scheduling client appointments and rostering staff.
“Instead, what our data suggests, is that it actually does the opposite. It’s enabling small business growth, and those that are leveraging digital the most, are seeing significant benefits.”
Xero cited ABS statistics as pointing out that in 2009-2010, only about 10% of small and medium businesses had a high-speed broadband connection; that figure was now closer to 30% according to the ABS in 2015-16.
The report also claimed that the integration of applications led to better outcomes for small businesses. To arrive at this conclusion, thousands of cloud-based apps that plug into XERO's open API platform were analysed and it was found that small businesses could easily connect to apps that simplified mundane tasks.
ABS statistics were again cited to point out that two-thirds of small businesses were not connected to high-speed broadband. Additionally, approximately 30% of businesses still lodge their business activity statements on paper, while 14% use no technology for their book-keeping and accounting.
“Digital connectivity is evolving rapidly from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. With the mandatory government rollout of Single Touch Payroll, mandatory two-factor authentication, and increased use of e-invoicing, it’s critical that businesses, technology providers, government and advisers come together," Innes said.
"We need to help small businesses overcome barriers like lack of awareness, lack of time, and fear of change to make this digital transition. It will not only help them meet their compliance requirements but will help boost economic growth across Australia.”