Pessimism continues to loom over Australian business owners as they head towards the Christmas sales period, believing that the improvement in Australia’s economy is unlikely to happen any time soon, according to research from the MYOB business monitor.

The October 2011 MYOB business monitor found that 68 per cent of businesses owners do not expect an economic recovery in the next 12 months. In fact, 42 per cent believe that economic recovery is more than 18 months away, which is up 17 per cent from March 2010.

Also, 30 per cent of businesses expect lower sales in Christmas quarter compared with 14 per cent last year.

Tim Reed, CEO MYOB, said the findings paints a stark picture of how tough Australian business owners have been doing over the past year.

“Queensland business owners have been particularly hard hit, with 50 per cent of all business owners reporting revenue falls,” he said.

“With little or no prospect of a Christmas boost to sales, many businesses will need to take other action. We suggest business owners talk to their business advisors or accountants to review or create a cash flow plan, particularly managing purchases.

“Managing team leave carefully is also another area to look at as this can impact on both cash flows and bottom line results. It is also important to be smart about marketing – getting online to reach more customers if your business isn’t already using the internet is a good idea.”

Longer term revenue predictions are also gloomy with the majority of Australian business owners with 58 per cent expecting revenue to remain the same or reduce in the next 12 months.