April 04, 2012 09:45 ET

Sage Business Index Shows U.S. Small Businesses Gaining Optimism About Economic Outlook

Inflation and Rising Costs of Energy and Raw Materials Remain a Concern

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 4, 2012) - In a reflection of recent upbeat economic news, American business owners are increasingly optimistic about the economic outlook for their businesses, according to the most recent Sage Business Index survey. Sage, a leading provider of business management software and services to more than 6 million small and midsized businesses worldwide, conducted the study among 10,000 businesses worldwide, including over 1,900 businesses in the U.S.

When asked about the prospects over the next six months for their businesses, American respondents were overwhelmingly positive with an index value of 61.07, a sizeable increase from the 55.31 index value from the summer of 2011 (Indexes are based on a scale where zero to 50 is negative and 50 to 100 is positive). In comparison, businesses in Canada and the U.K. also showed a positive trend in confidence for their own business, while those in Germany remain unchanged and those in France, Austria and Spain were less confident compared to last year.

Additionally, American business owners have become more positive about the economic prospects for the U.S. overall in the next six months with an index value of 49.28 compared to 41.57 in the summer of 2011. American business owners are less upbeat about the outlook for the global economy with an index result of 42.72, marginally above the 41.53 result from last summer.

The survey also found that while American businesses are upbeat about their own business prospects, concerns remain about inflation, as well as the rising cost of energy, fuel and raw materials. More than half (54 percent) of U.S. respondents cited inflation and the rising costs of energy and raw goods as one of the biggest concerns they have for their businesses. U.S. business owners are also concerned about the instability and/or uncertainty in their local economic market (38 percent) and also about decreased consumer confidence (30 percent). Cash flow also remains a continuing concern (24 percent).

When asked about the role customer service has played in the recent difficult economic times, a majority (55 percent) considers customer service more important in their operations over the last 12 months. Nearly 40 percent (39 percent) are committing more budget or resources towards delivering customer service, while a little over a third (35 percent) will not.

The Sage Business Index survey was conducted as part of a multi-country research program by Sage which sought the views and recommendations of small businesses in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Malaysia/Singapore.

"Small businesses continue to be the driver of the U.S. economy and it is inspiring that business owners are confident in their prospects," said Connie Certusi, executive vice president of Sage Small Business Accounting. "With that said, many business owners have legitimate concerns about the variables that can impact their bottom line, namely the rising cost of energy, raw goods and inflation. Small business owners are always more vulnerable to these concerns so it is wise to be mindful of the challenges that these businesses will continue to face in 2012. The findings of the Sage Business Index continue to echo the concerns of most businesses."

The Sage Business Index has a U.S. sample size of 1,947 with a 95 percent confidence level and an error rate of +/- 2 percent.

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 12,300 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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