Small business owners in Canada say better access to technology would make it easier to collect payments.

In light of Small Business Week in Canada, Intuit Canada, which offers QuickBooks online accounting software for small businesses that lets them easily make and receive payments digitally, released the results of a survey of 583 small business owners in Canada. It found that three out of five small businesses are experiencing up to $50,000 in late payments. This problem has led many businesses to scale back on purchases of supplies or inventory and forced some to lay off staff.

Fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 per cent of businesses experienced sales losses of more than 20 per cent during the pandemic. In addition, one in five business owners had to lay off employees due to cash shortages caused by late payments.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when small businesses were experiencing problems due to lockdowns, resources emerged to support small businesses in difficult times. Services such as the shopHERE program, which creates free online shops for small businesses, helped 25,000 Canadian businesses go online.

Although options like these were available, according to the survey, some companies still struggled to prioritize technology when it came to finding solutions. Only 26 per cent of companies surveyed across Canada prioritized transitioning their business online at the height of the pandemic.

However, by now, the majority of small businesses have used technology to help alleviate business losses; the survey shows that almost half of the companies surveyed say that online shopping and reposting business information on social platforms are extremely beneficial for sales. And some small business owners are looking at technology for even further support.

More than one in four small business owners say technology that automates customer payment reminders and enables automatic payment via digital invoices would make it easier and quicker to collect amounts owing.

The Canadian government is also working to assist small to medium-sized businesses gain access to technology. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement about Small Businesses Week, “We are also helping small and medium-sized businesses grow and thrive so that they can compete in Canada‚Äôs digital future. With initiatives such as the Canada Digital Adoption Program, we are assisting them in adopting new digital technologies and bringing their products and services online.

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