The global economy has faced some turbulent times over recent years, and in many respects, the Australian financial system has mirrored these trends. Businesses up and down the country have dealt with the threat of uncertainty, which in turn has taken its toll on their confidence and overall outlook.
However, the situation has apparently started to improve, with key indicators pointing to some signs of growth. The Australian economy has expanded over the past 12 months, noted Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Glenn Stevens, albeit at a below-average rate.
Research suggests that it could be some time before markets fully recover and businesses are once again confident enough to make investments and big-ticket purchases. But are there any areas where spending hasn't suffered?
Current conditions and their impact on businesses
CommSec recently offered its analysis of the Australian economy, suggesting it has posted below-average growth of 2.5 per cent in the 2014-15 financial year. However, this is expected to be reversed over the coming 12 months with growth of approximately 3 per cent.
"Overall, the outlook for the economy is encouraging, notwithstanding global challenges. Interest rates are super low and business does appear to be responding to a stimulatory Federal Budget," noted CommSec Chief Economist Craig James.
Of course, it's not just the national economy that will bring cause for concern. With companies becoming even more globalised in their approach to business, conditions further afield will also start to have an impact.
The direction of IT spending
IT remains a core component of any business, regardless of which sector it operates within. Gartner revealed that spending is forecast to be down 5.5 per cent on 2014 levels this year, which is largely a result of the rise in the US dollar.
John-David Lovelock, research vice-president at Gartner, was keen to point out that these results should not be taken out of context.
"IT activity is stronger than the growth in spending indicates. Price declines in major markets like communications and IT services, and switching to 'as a service' delivery, mask the increase in activity," he commented.
This follows a survey released earlier in the year, which showed that many chief information officers (CIOs) have their sights set on increasing IT budgets in the near future. Carried out worldwide, the poll found that female CIOs are more inclined than their male counterparts to invest in IT, which may include card printing technology.