Small business cops Y2K warning

Small business cops Y2K warning

With less than four months to complete Y2K preparations, small businesses must check their supply chains and prepare contingency plans, according to the latest Y2K survey released last week.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics survey polled 13,000 businesses from different industry sectors, sizes and regions to gauge Y2K preparedness.

Around 74 per cent of those surveyed returned a response, which is extraordinarily high for a government survey, explained Senator Ian Campbell, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Communications.

"It indicates there is a high level of understanding in business about theY2K issue," he said.

The survey found the major utility companies - gas, water and electricity - are well prepared for Y2K, but 44 per cent of micro and small businesses are not planning do any Y2K work.

Graeme Inchley, CEO of the Federal Government's Y2K Industry Program, said many of these businesses who employ only a few people have one or two PCs and are not relying on that technology to run their business.

However, Senator Campbell offered his own warning: "No business is an island. Look at your dependencies, check your suppliers," he said, explaining that they might be at risk and therefore a contingency plan will be needed.

The ABS survey found that 81 per cent of major utility companies and 41 per cent of businesses in the wholesale trade sector had contingency plans underway with many plans Y2K-ready by the end of September.

In the utility sector, more than 70 per cent rely on technology and in the wholesale trade sector more than 50 per cent rely on technology to run their businesses.

Of those businesses who responded, polling highest for readiness was the finance and insurance sector at 62 per cent, with almost 60 per cent of those reliant on technology.

In the mining industry, 48 per cent are Y2K ready, with more than 45 per cent reliant on technology to run their businesses. In the property and business service sector 46 per cent are Y2K- ready with around 65 per cent reliant on technology.

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