New data from Master Builders Australia shows the importance of a digitised industry. Image – Canva.
  • New data shows the need for measures to support increased digital uptake
  • Shows how low levels of digitisation expose small businesses as less resilient
  • In-person invoicing deemed impossible during lockdowns

With lockdowns having an impact on small businesses in the building and construction sector, new data shows the need for measures to support increased digital uptake and capacity building to accelerate recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns.

The research, released by MYOB in its Small Business Health Index, shows lockdowns have immediate impacts on the building and construction sector.

Recent NSW and VIC lockdowns caused gross pay and employees paid in the construction sector decline by 8.2% and 12.9% respectively.

Master Builders Australia (MBA) CEO Denita Wawn said, “these insights are particularly important for our industry as we move forward out of lockdowns.”

The data shows how low levels of digitisation expose businesses, particularly SMEs, as less resilient.

This is especially the case with invoicing, which is down across the board, with in-person invoicing rendered impossible during lockdowns.

Denita Wawn is the CEO of Master Builders Australia. Image – Twitter.

Ms Wawn said, “COVID has been an accelerator of existing trends such as digitisation and has provided tangible evidence of how low levels of digital uptake hurts small businesses in our sector.

“As the Prime Minister highlighted prior to the Federal Budget, ‘one of the biggest challenges and opportunities turns on how we respond to the digital transformation’. We are working government on how they can support our industry to do so.”

Ms Wawn said Master Builders Australia is encouraging the government to up digitisation in the building and construction industry. Image – Canva.

The data found there are nearly 80,000 SMEs in the construction industry alone with no or very low levels of digitisation of their business processes, with those located in regional areas less likely to have access to business and employee support services.

Ms Wawn said, “we know that the greatest current challenge for SMEs in construction is managing cashflows given the stresses caused by supply disruptions, COVID delays and a mini housing boom which has meant SMEs have had to take on more work than usual.

MYOB data shows that one of the greatest benefits of digitisation for SMEs is better cashflow management.

“Digitisation will help small building businesses to better manage their projects so they can more accurately factor in the costs of building products and specialist tradespeople into their quotes.”

Digitally advanced SMEs are 50% more likely to succeed in growing, according to a Deloitte Access Economics study in 2017.

Ms Wawn said, “supporting SMEs to become larger businesses will be increasingly important if the construction industry is to expand and address structural shortages in housing supply and infrastructure.

“With the construction industry home to more SMEs than any other industry, meaningful digital adoption will have perhaps the greatest impact in business recovery and improving business resilience.”

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