Australian businesses are prioritising growth in the year ahead, with more than two in five (43%) business decision makers planning to spend more to gain a competitive edge amid continued economic uncertainty, according to the latest Amex Trendex: B2B Edition.

On top of spending more, Australian businesses are deploying strategies to find efficiencies to unlock greater productivity. Over the last 12 months, just over two-thirds (67%) of businesses agreed that the digitisation and automation of payments had become an increased priority. 

For those businesses that had already automated payments, 44% reported saving an average of 7.3 hours per week of their finance team’s time. Digitising and automating payments has also reduced human error (47%) and resulted in more accurate invoicing (45%) according to the research.  

Almost half (47%) of businesses are expecting to spend more on technology in the next six months, with 69% of these aiming to improve productivity. 50% of decision makers who are planning on spending more on technology are doing so because they want to improve the speed and effectiveness of making and receiving payments. 

American Express vice president of merchant partnerships, Lisa Belcher said, “Once again we are reminded of the tenacity of Australian businesses as they pursue growth in the face of challenging economic conditions. The Amex Trendex: B2B Edition shows that regardless of their size, businesses are playing the long game, adapting where needed and seeking ways to improve efficiency and stand out from the competition.

“The faster a business grows, the faster its payables and incoming revenue grows. Money is the lifeblood of any business, so it’s important that businesses continue to innovate their payment processes to avoid delays that can lead to major cash flow implications down the track.” 

The research reveals a growing sense of optimism among Australian business decision makers with three-quarters (75%) report feeling optimistic about the success of their company over the next 12 months – up from 69% on last year’s report. 

Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s (COSBOA) CEO, Luke Achterstraat said, “Australians have always been resilient, and this extends to how they manage businesses. Throughout the pandemic and the effects thereafter, small businesses have managed to pivot and re-prioritise to work smarter for their success. This latest research is abundantly clear: Australian businesses are aware of the challenges they face and are engaging in savvier ways to defy all obstacles.”