Canadian small business owners are using more software, spending more on software, and are more mobile than their American counterparts, according to a new survey from Intuit Canada.

Canadian small businesses owners are spending an average of more than $1,000 a year on software, the survey shows. That’s outpacing the Americans by quite a bit (even after you account for the dollar conversion rate), where owners are spending an average of $630 per year.

Intuit hired Angus Reid to conduct a survey of 507 randomly selected Canadian small business owners, who are members of its Forum panel or partner networks. The study was conducted July 16-27 and is accurate 4.38 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The U.S. data it’s compared against is from Intuit’s 2015 Appification of Small Business Study.
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“We want to get a sense of what’s the right amount, how many apps should you be using?” says Matthew Kanas, senior marketing manager of developer channel and apps at Intuit Canada. “There’s a bit of market research here and a bit of discovery in what’s new.”

Canadian business owners are using multiple applications to help run their business, the survey found. About half are using more than three applications, and 12 per cent of owners are using six or more. There’s no sign of slowing down there either, with 85 per cent of owners planning to invest in software within the next five years.

Kanas attributes the software trend to more young Canadians starting businesses recently and listening to the recommendations of professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers, and investors.

“When I speak to bookkeepers we work with, they are one of the top recommenders of moving to the cloud,” he says. “It really speaks to that inflection point. We’re seeing people that operate a business use technology more often.”

That technology includes the mobile variety, with 55 per cent of Canadian owners saying they are running their business from their smartphones. Again, more than the American number of 43 per cent.

Mobile technology is helping small business owners manage their shop and maintain a personal life at the same time, Kanas says. He talked to one auto body shop owner in Belleville, Ont. who adopted an expense-tracking app on his iPhone to free up his Friday afternoons. Another client said he was able to attend his daughter’s ballet recital and still complete a time-critical task on his smartphone.

“We’re really embracing that mobile trend,” he says. “There’s a lot more you can do with these phones than text, surf the web, and take a call.”

Even tablets got their nod from Canadian owners, with one in five saying they use a tablet to run their business.

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