15th June, 2015
If there can be any winners in a debate with no obvious result, it was probably the 80 or so people who attended the recent MYOB debate held at Hamilton’s Verandah Café. It was held to coincide with the National Agricultural Fieldays taking place down the road at Mystery Creek.
The debate was whether technology can save regional small business, and the debaters – William Durning, Waikato Chamber of Commerce CEO; Jordan Carter, Chief Executive of InternetNZ; Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, Professor of Agribusiness at University of Waikato; and Don Carson, General Manager of Strategic Communications at Federated Farmers – did a fantastic job of entertaining the crowd with their vigorous discussion. However reports from the evening suggest there was no clear winner in the debate.
Prior the debate the participants had been given a sneak preview of findings from the MYOB Business Monitor.
Of interest in the findings is a key stat that 27 percent of all rural SMEs reported revenue was up in the past 12 months, while those with an online presence were well ahead. In fact 33 percent of rural SMEs with a business website, and 38 percent of rural SMEs with a social media site, reported revenue increases. That certainly suggests there are opportunities for those rural businesses willing to develop an online presence.
Of course there are other ways technology can help improve a business’s prospects. In many ways, it’s important for a business’s trusted advisor to pave the way forward. As MYOB General Manager James Scollay thanked all participants and attendees at the end of the technology debate, he noted that accountants and bookkeepers were the key channel in advising SMEs on how technology, and the intelligent use of data, can transform their business.