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Not GST ready but still making money

MORE than three quarters of the companies questioned in the latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey admit they are not GST-ready.

However, the number of firms reporting an actual increase in profits, and expecting profits to grow even further, is the highest for five years.

Growth in new orders and employment expectations are also at a five-year high.

Dun & Bradstreet Australia and New Zealand managing director Christine Christian said business optimism in Australia for the last three months of 1999 had remained “very strong”, despite GST preparations being somewhat lethargic.

She said, of the almost 1,000 executives interviewed for the D&B survey, 60 per cent expected net profits to grow, 33 per cent expected to employ more staff, 69 per cent expected sales to increase and 34 per cent expected to increase capital investment.

However, only 22 per cent of those surveyed said they were “very” prepared for the new tax.

Ms Christian said 52 per cent claimed to be “moderately” prepared and had begun to put plans into action with the remaining 26 per cent still in the early planning stages.

“On a positive note, more than 80 per cent of executives indicated the introduction of the GST had not delayed their business plans,” she said.

Ms Christian said the survey showed businesses had been more intent on surviving Y2K than contemplating GST in 1999.

“The sharp drop in the last quarter in expected capital investment spending was apparently due to companies reaching the completion of massive investments in Y2K-compliant computing equipment,” she said.

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