by Divina Paredes

Compliance and robots enter election fray

Sep 14, 2017
APIsArtificial IntelligenceBig Data

The challenge is making automation work for them with many companies needing support through this transition or risk being left behind and unable to competeGrant Linton, Reckon

A new survey on business sentiment has found the cost and complexity of compliance is a key issue for businesses in the lead up to the election.

The What Do You Reckon Election Survey, conducted by Reckon NZ, also found majority of businesses had embraced the change automation and artificial intelligence was bringing.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said technological advancements and the “rise of the robots” was impacting on their business and the roles their staff will play now and in the future.

“It was clear the majority of businesses were moving with the times, and embracing the concept of automation,” says Grant Linton, general manager Reckon Accountant Group.

“The challenge is making it work for them with many companies needing support through this transition or risk being left behind and unable to compete.”

The survey aimed to find key issues impacting businesses on the lead up to election.

Reckon says it surveyed 1500 of its clients across a number of different industries.

While the majority (75 per cent) said it was easy to run a business in New Zealand, when asked if the current government had done enough to reduce the cost and complexity of compliance, a third of respondents believed it had not done enough.

Almost half said the government had done “somewhat” enough, and a further 22 per cent believed the government had done “enough” or “a lot” to reduce cost and complexity around compliance.

Linton says a quarter of the respondents believed it was not easy to run a business in New Zealand.

“The most common reason was the cost of compliance and how it takes focus away from core business. One respondent gave the example of ‘health and safety overkill’ as being a compliance cost which hit companies particularly hard,” he says.

Other factors included the challenge of finding qualified staff, and difficulty when needing to dismiss staff.

The single most important election issue affecting businesses was varied – and ranged from compliance issues, tax, and attracting the right staff, through to transport issues, the cost of living, and refocusing on the regions,” says Catie Cotcher, general manager, Reckon Business Group.

“A number of respondents said there needed to be a shift of investment back into the regions to take the pressure off Auckland infrastructure and drive regional economies.”

The respondents said the general state of business in New Zealand was positive, however it could do better in fostering innovation.

“There was a healthy awareness about the need to diversify and invest in research and development for future growth, rather than just continuing to grow incrementally in traditionally strong industries, and by pushing commodity products,” says Cotcher.

She says some respondents were concerned that while many businesses were thriving, others were not growing and adapting as they needed to and there is “a core” that were struggling.

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