October 24, 2012 13:00 ET

Sage Business Index: American Business Owners Remain Optimistic About Own Prospects, Less So About Nation's Economic Outlook

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 24, 2012) -  Sage North America announced today the results of its Business Index, which recently surveyed 923 businesses in the United States as a part of its biannual global survey. The Sage Business Index showed that business owners are less optimistic about the nation's economy than they were six months ago but maintain a high level of confidence in the prospects for their own businesses. Sage, a leading provider of business management software and services to more than 6 million small and midsized businesses worldwide, conducted the study among over 10,000 businesses worldwide in September 2012.

When asked about the prospects over the next six months for their businesses compared with six months ago, American respondents were positive with an index value of 60.28, which was down slightly from the 61.07 index value from the spring of 2012 survey (indexes are based on a scale where zero to 50 is negative and 50 to 100 is positive). By comparison, American businesses have a more optimistic outlook about their own prospects than do their global businesses counterparts -- the global business index confidence index was 56.46.

American business owners are a bit less optimistic about the country's economy than they are about the prospects for their own businesses. Fifty-one percent responded neutral, positive or very positive when asked if the economy is improving or declining. Comparatively, 37 percent responded either "negative" or "very negative" when asked the same question. In current business conditions, U.S. respondents are most preoccupied by a concern for inflation and rising costs of resources (45 percent). Instability of the local market (35 percent), a decreased consumer confidence (34 percent) and increasing government regulation (34 percent) were also considerable concerns.

To that end, American business owners are showing some concern over the economic turmoil in the Eurozone. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. respondents believe that the crisis in the Eurozone has had either some or significant impact on their business confidence, while 39 percent believe that the Eurozone crisis has had no impact on their business confidence.

Half of all respondents agreed that the business culture and entrepreneurial spirit in America is the most favorable aspect of doing business in the country, followed by good infrastructure (42 percent) and a skilled workforce from which to recruit (33 percent). When asked if the government provides sufficient support and advice for businesses, 53 percent responded no, 26 percent responded yes and the rest responded that they do not know. The top three things businesses think the government can do to support business confidence are reduce national debt (22 percent), reduce business bureaucracy (21 percent) and reduce business taxes (13 percent).

Respondents cited government business bureaucracy and legislation (52 percent) as the least favorable aspect of doing business in the U.S. Forty-eight percent of respondents cited government handling of economic challenges and 36 percent cited access to capital and funding as the least favorable aspects of doing business in the country.

When asked to specify the most burdensome parts of government bureaucracy, 40 percent cited tax law, 16 percent cited employee/labor law and 12 percent cited environmental regulations as the most onerous aspects.

"Now more than ever, business owners in this country are paying attention to how the global economy may affect their own bottom line. The Sage Business Index is a great barometer of the attitudes of business owners both here and abroad, and once again, the findings of the Sage Business Index echo the sentiment and concerns of business owners the world over," said Connie Certusi, executive vice president of Sage Small Business Accounting. "The state of the economy remains top of mind with business owners and consumers alike as we inch closer to the election in November. The results of the recent Sage election survey indicate that small businesses owners are as politically engaged as they have ever been. And while concerns about the economy remain, it is inspiring to see that optimism continues to drive the entrepreneurial spirit in this country."

About The Sage Business Index
The Sage Business Index polled 10,861 small and medium-sized businesses across 15 countries -- U.S., Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, U.K., Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Poland, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil over a two week period in September 2012. Businesses were asked a range of questions regarding such issues as business confidence and outlook, how they feel about the global and local economies and what challenges they currently face.

About Sage
Sage is a leading global supplier of business management software and services for small and midsized businesses. The Sage Group plc, formed in 1981, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and now employs more than 12,600 people and supports more than 6 million customers worldwide. For more information about Sage in North America, please visit the company website at Follow Sage North America on Facebook,, and Twitter,

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