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  • Writer's pictureSkyward Financial

Business Finance Update - May 24

Being a business owner can be tough.

Most of my clients are self-employed, they run their own business, they are entrepreneurs. Just like myself.

Being a business owner can be a bit lonely, most of my clients number 1 advisor is their accountant, and usually for good reason as accountants provide especially valuable advice.

The trouble is most business owners do not have a number 2 or number 3 advisor, and they should.

Or, they might not know where to turn when something comes up. A network is very important for this.

Personally, I always try to make my clients aware, and position myself as a trusted advisor to them. I help a business owner optimise their business for finance, and always happy to take calls even about random money things like credit cards. But on top of that, I love giving some strategic advice, dusting off my old MBA certificate from UTS and giving a few nuggets of value.

You are a valued client and contact for me, so if you ever want to bounce ideas around, get a second opinion, or ask for advice, let's talk.

On top of that, I have a very dynamic and large network of other professionals that I consistently introduce to my clients as they might need specialised advice.

Take a look at the list below, if you want an introduction to another trusted person I work with that has helped my other clients just let me know.



Insurance Broker


Builder (residential or commercial)





Web Developer

Financial Advisor

And more and more.....

Me and my network of trusted advisors are here to help.

In other news, I’ve got some important stories about the economy, banking system and population trends:

  • Population grows 2.52%

  • Unemployment remains low

  • Banks in good shape

  • Retail sales climb 1.6%

Read more below.

Population growth remains at historically high levels, after the population expanded by another 2.52% in the September 2023 quarter, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

By contrast, population growth has averaged 1.51% over the past two decades.

Part of the reason the population is surging right now is because of the ‘catch-up effect’, after population growth dropped to almost zero during the pandemic when the international border was closed.

Australia is currently running a high migration program: 83% of the population increase in the year to September 2023 was due to net overseas migration, while 17% was caused by natural increase.

Under the federal government's Migration Strategy, which was unveiled in December 2023, the government committed itself to “returning migration levels back to normal”, in part by tightening visa requirements.

That’s why the Centre for Population forecast that net overseas migration would “return to pre‑pandemic levels from 2024-25, as pandemic‑related factors wane and policy directions identified in the Migration Strategy take effect.”

After drifting higher for several months, Australia’s unemployment rate has recorded a significant decline.

The national unemployment rate fell from 4.1% in January to 3.7% in February, before ticking up to 3.8% in March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The state-by-state unemployment rates in March were:

  • ACT = 2.9%

  • Western Australia = 3.4%

  • New South Wales = 3.8%

  • Tasmania = 3.8%

  • Northern Territory = 3.8%

  • South Australia = 3.9%

  • Victoria = 4.1%

  • Queensland = 4.1%

Even though economic growth has fallen in the past four quarters, to just 0.2% in December 2023, companies have been reluctant to shed staff and the labour market has remained extremely tight.

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO Andrew McKellar said Australia was suffering from a skills shortage.

“Job vacancies remain at almost double their pre-COVID levels, with employers continuing their struggle to find people with the right skills to fill unfilled positions,” Mr McKellar said.

“The return to work … highlights the continuing need to address skills shortages and ensure that employers have access to employees with the necessary training and experience to fill vacant positions.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) believes more borrowers are likely to default on their loans in the near future, but that risks to the financial system are limited.

“Australian banks are well prepared to handle an expected increase in loan losses in the period ahead. This expected increase in loan losses would be coming from a very low base,” the RBA said in its most recent Financial Stability Review.

“Banks’ overall capital levels are high, profits are healthy and the very low percentage of borrowers in negative equity on their loans further protects banks against credit losses. The recent stress test conducted by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority concluded that large banks could continue to make credit available to borrowers even in a severe (but plausible) economic downturn. Banks also have strong liquidity positions, which should assist them if there were to be temporary funding market disruptions.”

Meanwhile, risks to financial stability from non-bank financial institutions are “relatively contained”, according to the RBA, with about half the non-bank sector comprising “prudentially regulated superannuation funds, which have low leverage and the ability to pass on investment risks to their members”.

The retail sector is experiencing a real decline in revenue, based on the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Retail sales rose 1.6% in the year to February. However, inflation data show that prices throughout the economy rose 3.4% during the same period. So retailers' incomes are not growing as fast as their costs.

The only retail category that recorded above-inflation sales growth was clothing footwear & personal accessories, where sales revenue grew 4.0% in the year to February.

Several categories experienced below-inflation growth – cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services (2.9%), other retailing (2.7%), department stores (2.1%) and food (1.7%).

Revenue actually declined in the household goods category, by 2.2%.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said the pattern of low growth was concerning for retailers as they battled the increased cost of doing business.

“Australians are still cutting back on spending as the lag effect of interest rate rises continues to take hold. While food spending remained constant, there has been a shift towards more affordable and value-oriented products in recent months,” he said.


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