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SMEs To Ring In 2017 With Regulation On Their Minds

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Analysts are peering into the minds of small business owners to find out how they plan to enter the new year. The outlook is positive: Researchers find strong optimism for SMEs in 2017 as they plan to grow and expect their businesses to succeed. Regulation is a strong factor behind why SMEs have such a bright outlook for next year, but it’s also the reason many small businesses are forced to keep on their toes. PYMNTS takes a look at how small and medium-sized companies are feeling with only days remaining in 2016.

 

97% of SMEs recognize there is a better way to handle accounts payable, finds travel and expense management firm Concur in a survey published this month. Despite that realization, nearly half of the small businesses surveyed said they have made a mistake in accounts payable. With many small businesses expecting growth in 2017, AP errors are likely to become more common unless processes are updated. Concur found that 47 percent of SMEs have experienced errors in processing vendor invoices, and 42 percent said they’ve had to deal with errors in reconciling invoices as they grow. Other issues include errors in applying invoices to projects and clients and dealing with late fees from their suppliers.

80% of SMEs will borrow funds in 2017 as they look to invest in their own companies, Mercator Advisory Group found in its latest 2016 Small Business Payments and Banking Survey. More than four in five small businesses say they have a positive outlook for the year ahead, and as they plan to grow, they’ll need financing to support their goals. The report found 80 percent of SMEs already have a business credit card, reflecting small businesses’ need for “just in time” funding, according to Mercator’s manager of Primary Data Services and author of the report, Karen Augustine.

A +44-point surge in the NFIB’s SME optimism index demonstrates just how optimistic small businesses in the U.S. are following President-Elect Trump’s win in last month’s election. The National Federation of Independent Businesses reported a reading of -6 for SMEs that expect business conditions to improve — a figure that spiked to +38 following the election. Analysts say small business owners are confident in a unified Republican government, as well as plans to cut corporate taxes. Researchers did find, however, that, for the immediate future, SMEs are pessimistic about their future sales and earnings.

10 regulatory issues are keeping U.S. SMEs on their toes in 2017, finds Paychex in a new survey. They include incoming legislation on tax reform, the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform and initiatives impacting SME government contractors. But there are finance and payments issues that made the top 10 list, too. Changes in payroll card rules, as well as in minimum wage laws, are impacting SMEs across certain states. Faster payments initiatives and support of payments technology innovation also force small business owners to stay ahead of mandated updates to their systems.

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