The need to keep up with digital innovation has led to significant investments by SMEs, however, one crucial area is still overlooked by almost 4 out of 5 businesses.

MYOB’s latest Business Monitor Survey of 1,000 SMEs revealed that while 76% of businesses have invested in technological innovation over the last 12 months, only 22% have a social media presence.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said that although this is an improvement from last year’s survey results, businesses should continue to invest in developing a social media presence, no matter their size.

“27 per cent of micro businesses have a business page of some kind, ahead of small, medium and sole traders.

“Creating a social media presence and using it to interact with customers is a simple, innovative step that can help your business succeed,” he said.

Fifty-four percent of SMEs said social media allowed for more interaction with customers and 50% said it made doing business easier.

On the expenditure side, the most common investments were computer hardware or software, new machinery, and the up-skilling of employees.

According to Reed, businesses making even minor changes in line with digital disruption demands were rewarded with improved efficiency, and a reduction in time spent managing outdated technology.

“One simple business innovation MYOB has seen first-hand is the migration from desktop accounting, and embrace of online accounting solutions.

“SMEs understand the technology evolution underway, and the need to incorporate innovation as a core component of their business, not just an added extra to address when cash-flow allows,” he said.

Results of the survey also showed that 78% of SMEs believe advancements in technology will have an impact on their businesses over the next decade; 40% of these believed the impact would be significant.

However, despite the positive results, barriers persist in SMEs investing in innovation.

Twenty-nine percent said the biggest block was the cost of introducing and developing innovation, followed closely by excess government regulation (26%) and a lack of government support (25%).

Reed said government support was crucial in creating an innovation-friendly environment.

“The government needs to do as much as it can to encourage achievable innovation as it will lead to a vibrant small business community.

“These insights outline the importance of removing these barriers to business growth,” said Reed.

The full survey results are expected to be released by December.