SOURCE: SAGE

Sage

September 26, 2011 09:00 ET

Canadian Small Businesses Confident in Business Prospects and Economy, Sage Survey Shows

Government and Taxes Still Thought to Be Major Drawback to Doing Business

RICHMOND, BC--(Marketwire - Sep 26, 2011) - Sage, a leading provider of business management software and services to 6.3 million small and midsized businesses worldwide, today announced the results of its second international business outlook survey, Sage Business Index. The study, carried out by Populus on behalf of Sage, was conducted as part of a multi-country research program seeking the views and recommendations of businesses in Canada, U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Austria, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore. Sage serves 3.2 million small and midsized businesses in the United States and Canada.

Survey findings revealed that Canadian small business owners showed optimism in the prospects for their businesses and the country's economy as a whole. On a scale of 0-100, where 50 is neutral and values above 50 reflect optimism and those below 50 denote pessimism, business owners rated their own prospects at 59.38 and for Canada's economy at 56.09.

Similar to Sage's first business index survey, which was conducted earlier this year, surveyed participants ranked business culture and entrepreneurial spirit (42 percent), domestic market (34 percent) and Canada's exchange rate (33 percent) as the top three most favourable aspects of doing business in Canada. Government bureaucracy and taxes, however, were considered the most unfavourable factors of carrying out commercial activities in the country. In fact, government bureaucracy and legislation (52 percent), tax relief (38 percent) and government's handling of current economic challenges (26 percent) were ranked the top three worst aspects of doing business in the country. Additionally, 47 percent of those who find government bureaucracy and legislation as a drawback to business cited tax law as one of the most burdensome areas to deal with.

Canadian businesses, particularly those with fewer employees, expect more support from their government. In fact, 63 percent of surveyed businesses responded that the Canadian government is not providing them with enough help. In order to support businesses, 41 percent of participants thought the government should focus on reducing business bureaucracy and legislation, followed by reducing business taxes (40 percent) and controlling energy costs (32 percent).

When participants were asked about the challenges faced in the last six months, respondents ranked rising costs (46 percent), maintaining or growing revenue (43 percent) and gaining new customers (41 percent) as the top three most prominent recent business hurdles. For the next half year, participants responded that maintaining or growing revenue (46 percent), rising costs (42 percent) and gaining new customers will be the biggest foreseeable business challenges.

"Although Canadian businesses are becoming more confident in their prospects for the future and the country's economy, the bureaucratic and legislation walls are preventing them from fully thriving," said Nancy Harris, vice president and general manager of Sage Simply Accounting. "Through our research, our goal is to not only gain a better understanding of what our customers want and need so we can serve them better, but also to be an advocate for small businesses and give them the voice they deserve as one of the main drivers of the economy."

The Sage Business Index survey reports are available at www.businessindex.sage.com.

Survey Methodology
The Sage Business Index survey was conducted by independent research firm Populus, which provided online interviews with decision makers in businesses of 1-500 employees in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Austria, from which 10,006 responses were received.

The index is based on a scale of one to 100 where 0 means a significant decline, 100 means a significant improvement, and 50 means it is no different. For comparison to past results, we retrospectively applied this index methodology to the countries that took place in the first business survey in February 2011 (US, Canada, UK, Germany and France).

About Sage North America
Sage North America is part of The Sage Group plc, a leading global supplier of business management software and services. Sage North America employs 4,000 people and supports 3.2 million small and midsized business customers. The Sage Group plc, formed in 1981, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and now employs 13,400 people and supports 6.3 million customers worldwide. For more information, please visit the company website at www.SageNorthAmerica.com. Follow Sage North America on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SageNorthAmerica, and Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/sagenamerica.

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