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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are expressing growing optimism for 2018 following the enactment of new tax reform legislation, as per a recent survey conducted by Right Networks among 365 accounting professionals.

Survey results highlighted that nearly 54% of SMBs are feeling considerably more optimistic about the economy heading into 2018 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, over 70% of these businesses are either “very confident” or “moderately confident” about their business prospects for the upcoming year, compared to the preceding period.

Customer Retention and Acquiring New Business Take Center Stage

For SMBs in 2018, the top priority revolves around customer retention and acquiring new business ventures. Over 44% of respondents considered this as their primary challenge for the year ahead. Prioritizing finding and retaining talent (19%) and managing escalating health care costs (18%) followed closely behind.

Cloud Adoption Driving SMB Expansion

The integration of cloud applications stands out as a pivotal factor driving expected growth among SMBs in 2018. The survey revealed that two-thirds of respondents either already use or plan to roll out a cloud-based accounting application in the forthcoming year. Additionally, 57% of participants indicated their current use or planned adoption of cloud storage this year.

As anticipated, more than half (57%) of the surveyed SMBs stated they work remotely on a daily basis, with an additional 21% working away from their primary office several times a month.

Anticipated Effects of Proposed Tax Reform

Approximately 40% of the sampled SMBs highlighted taxes as the primary regulatory issue significantly impacting their clients’ businesses today. Another 34% identified healthcare regulations as the dominant factor.

Moreover, nearly 37% of respondents anticipated a positive impact on their clients’ businesses due to the new Tax Reform and Jobs Act, while 40% projected no effect. Only 23% foresaw a negative impact resulting from the new tax code.

Encouragingly, when asked about their level of confidence in their prospects for 2018 compared to the previous year, nearly 36% of respondents felt “very confident,” while another 35% expressed being “moderately confident.”

Prioritizing Client Data Security in Technology

Heading into 2018, addressing data security remains a high priority, if not the topmost concern, for small and medium-sized businesses. Nearly 34% regard data security and privacy as their most significant technological challenge from the previous year. Additionally, managing workflow disruption (16%) and staying abreast of evolving technology trends (14%) were key concerns identified among SMBs in 2017 that are expected to persist into 2018.

Source: CPA Advisor

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