Canadian small business credit card spending up 18% amidst inflation and funding challenges: QuickBooks

Today Intuit QuickBooks launched the 2023 Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Annual Report developed in collaboration with Professor Ufuk Akcigit, Arnold C. Harberger Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. The annual report reveals how macroeconomic policies like inflation and higher interest rates are affecting small businesses’ ability to create jobs and get the funding they need to grow. The findings are based on anonymized data from more than 3.4 million Intuit QuickBooks customers and surveys of more than 5,000 small businesses in the US, Canada, and the UK. 

Top Canadian findings:

  • Inflation and interest rates are creating unique challenges for small businesses
    • Monthly small business credit card expenditure is currently 18% higher, on average, than before the pandemic, equivalent to $2,652 CAD per business while monthly repayments against credit card account balances are up by 22% on average, again equivalent to $2,652 CAD per business.
  • Funding is a persistent challenge for small businesses, limiting growth
    • While 51% of small business owners surveyed have used their own savings to fund their business, only 27% report ever getting funding from a commercial lender. New small businesses (0-5 years old) are more than twice as likely to say “getting funding” is their number one challenge compared to older small businesses (21+ years).
  • Higher use of digital tools and technology correlates with higher growth
    • Among small businesses using digital tools to manage 8 or more different areas of their business, 63% report revenue growth and 22% report workforce growth, but among those only managing 1 or 2 areas, this drops to 31% and 6%.

Intuit has also drafted robust recommendations based on these insights for policymakersentrepreneurs, and accountants to help key stakeholders strive towards creating an environment that is conducive to small business success. 

For a more in-depth look at the insights from the inaugural report, check out the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index Annual Report here. You can also stay up to date on the latest monthly Index releases, by visiting the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index interactive hub.


The report’s findings are based on a new analysis by Ufuk Akcigit, Raman Singh Chhina, Seyit M. Cilasun, Javier Miranda, Eren Ocakverdi, and Nicolas Serrano-Velarde of four data sources, in partnership with Intuit QuickBooks data analysts: 

  1. Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index: recent employment and hiring trends among small businesses in the US, Canada, and the UK. Methodology details available here.
  2. Intuit QuickBooks customer data: anonymized, aggregated and reweighted/adjusted to reflect the wider population of small businesses in the US, Canada, and UK, not Intuit’s business, to provide new insight into small business access to credit, credit card expenditure, and payments against credit card balances during the recent inflationary period. Sample: 3.4 million small businesses; 2,795,000 in US; 305,000 in Canada; 313,000 in UK.
  3. Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Insights: regular online surveys of small businesses with up to 100 employees, commissioned by Intuit QuickBooks in the US, Canada, and UK every three to four months. Total sample size for April 2023 wave of surveys: 5,175 (comprising 2,805 small businesses in the US; 1,210 small businesses in the UK; and 1,160 small businesses in the UK).
  4. Official statistics and other external sources, including publicly available data from: the U.S. Census Bureau; Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Bank Holding Company (US); National Federation of Independent Businesses (US); Statistics Canada; Office for National Statistics (UK), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (UK); 

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