Insurance, Taxes, Top Cost Concerns for Small Business: CFIB

Though small and mid-sized business owners in Canada are keeping a confident outlook, they continue to rank insurance and taxes among their top cost concerns.

Over half of respondents to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest Business Barometer survey listed insurance costs (52%) as one of their major cost concerns, making it the second-most important cost issue behind tax and regulatory costs (56%). Occupancy costs, capital equipment and product and input costs rounded out the top five cost issues, according to the CFIB’s November Business Barometer.

And many are keeping the purse strings tightened in the coming months. Planned capital spending on land (14%), buildings, renovations, machinery (16%) and vehicles (14%) remains “modest,” according to Ted Mallett, the CFIB’s vice president and chief economist and the report’s author, with more business owners (36%) planning investment in computer, communications and office equipment.

The report, released December 2, reflects a positive mood among business owners, despite fiscal concerns. The survey responses put the Business Barometer Index at 68 (out of 100), indicating economic growth.

“Business owners in the finance, business services, information and retail sectors are more optimistic than the average,” the report states.  “While those involved in transportation. agriculture and hospitality continue to be considerably less upbeat.” The barometer for those business owners involved in finance, insurance and realty was slightly higher than the overall average at 71.1.

Those in British Columbia showed the most optimism. The barometer for all business owners there reached 72.9.

Overall, the respondents point to limited space (20%), production distribution (9%) constraints and shortage of input products (4%) as their top three business constraints.

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