SOURCE: SAGE

Sage

October 24, 2012 13:00 ET

Sage Business Index: Canadian Businesses Show Optimism About Domestic Economic Outlook, Pessimism About Global Outlook

RICHMOND, BC--(Marketwire - Oct 24, 2012) -   Sage, a leading provider of business management software and services to more than 6 million small and midsized businesses worldwide including 500,000 in Canada, announced today the results of its biannual Sage Business Index survey. The Sage Business Index gathered the opinions of 718 Canadian business owners and is part of a multicountry survey conducted in September 2012.

The Sage Business Index survey indicated that Canadian businesses are optimistic about their prospects for the next six months with an index score of 61.07, down slightly when compared to the survey score in the spring of 2012, which was 63.65 (indices are based on a scale where zero to 50 is negative and 50 to 100 is positive). When asked if the Canadian economy had improved or declined over the past six months, the sentiment was positive with an index score of 53.82, which was down slightly from 54.62 in the spring Sage Business Index.

While Canadian businesses are confident about their own prospects and those for the country overall, they are increasingly pessimistic about the global economy. The global confidence index score was 44.44, representing a slight decrease from the 45.53 index score in the spring Sage Business Index.

"The Sage Business Index findings reflect a dichotomy of positive sentiment many Canadian businesses have about the future of their own companies and the domestic economy, coupled with the concern that many have about the global markets," said Nancy Harris, vice president and general manager of Sage 50 Accounting -- Canadian Edition. "With businesses worldwide continuing to face economy challenges, the optimism that Canadian businesses have about their own prospects can be a good indicator of our domestic economy moving forward."

When asked about the most favourable aspects of doing business in Canada, 35 per cent of respondents agreed that the business culture and entrepreneurial spirit is most favourable, followed by good infrastructure (27 per cent), domestic market (27 per cent) and a skilled workforce from which to recruit (26 per cent). When asked whether their government provides sufficient support and advice for businesses, 53 per cent responded no, 27 per cent responded yes and the rest responded that they do not know. The top three things business owners recommend the Canadian government do to support business confidence include reduce business bureaucracy (16 per cent), reduce business taxes (15 per cent) and increase skills development and education (12 per cent).

Respondents cited government business bureaucracy and legislation (41 per cent) as the least favourable aspect of doing business in Canada. Thirty-seven per cent cited tax rates for businesses as the second-least favourable aspect of doing business in Canada followed by the government handling of economic challenges (23 per cent).

When asked to specify the most burdensome parts of government bureaucracy, 40 per cent cited tax law, 16 per cent cited employee/labor law and 12 per cent cited environmental regulations as the most onerous aspects. This is a notable change from the spring of 2012, in which tax law, licensing and public sector contracts were named the top-three most burdensome aspects of government bureaucracy.

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 NA.Sage.com. Follow Sage North America on Facebook, Facebook.com/SageNorthAmerica, and Twitter, Twitter.com/SageNAmerica.

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