Business owners should be relishing the thought of
returning to work, given that New Zealand business confidence
is well up on last year, according to the Grant Thornton IBR
Grant Thornton New Zealand partner Pam Newlove said New
Zealand confidence had lifted 22% on the same time last year
to 58%, well ahead of that of Australia, where confidence was
up only 7% to 31%.
On an international scale, New Zealand ranked 10th in
business confidence, just behind Norway on 60% and ahead of
Canada on 47%. The United Arab Emirates heads the list with
Ms Newlove said New Zealand business owners had accepted that
the tough grind of the past two years was the new norm and
they were knuckling down and doing the business.
''They have learnt to be smarter about how they do business
rather than lament the recent difficult times. Successful
operators are identifying their niche products or services
and capitalising on opportunities and securing market share
Australia might not have suffered the level of pain endured
in New Zealand through the global financial crisis, but with
the slowdown of China and the fall in commodity prices,
indicators had turned south in the ''lucky country'', with a
slew of major redundancies in some of the larger companies,
Employment aspirations showed 34% of New Zealand companies
were looking to employ more staff in 2013, compared with only
8% in Australia.
New Zealand companies had nearly twice the level of optimism
being experienced in Australia when it came to forecast
revenues and profitability.
Ms Newlove said 70% were expecting increased revenue over the
next 12 months and 58% were expecting an increase in
profitability. For Australia, the figures were 36% and 34%
respectively, another indicator of the shape of the
Lack of skilled labour (38%), red tape (31%) and a shortage
of working capital (28%) were all cited as constraints to
growing and expanding New Zealand businesses.
Red tape was interesting, she said. Although it was noted as
a constraint, it was less of a concern in New Zealand than in
many other countries. New Zealand was often seen as an easier
place to do business relative to other jurisdictions, she
''The overall picture is one of an improving economy but
there are some key messages that have come out of the survey.
Businesses must look after and retain their good staff,
continue to educate them and continue to invest energy and
time into maintaining and managing customer relationships,''
Ms Newlove said.
The survey found hopes for a strong start to a global
economic recovery in 2013 were diminishing as business
confidence in mature economies continued to fall, caused by
concerns over the United States ''fiscal cliff'' and ongoing
fears over the eurozone's prospects.
Global business optimism stood at just net 4% heading into
the new year. That halted a rally in confidence seen in the
first half of last year, when global business optimism
reached 23%, and brought it nearer to the 0% level seen at
this time last year.
The IBR survey was of both listed and privately held
businesses. The data was drawn from interviews with 3200
businesses from all industry sectors across the globe in
November and December. The target respondents were chief
executives, managing directors, chairmen or other senior