Hawke's Bay businesses recorded the country's highest level of optimism for revenue growth according to MYOB's latest Business Monitor survey.
More than half of the small businesses surveyed in the region were optimistic about revenue growth, with 42 per cent reporting an increase since this time last year.
MYOB general manager James Scollay said business in Hawke's Bay looked to improve even further, with 58 per cent saying revenue would increase in the next 12 months.
"It has improved significantly and the outlook is for it to get even better," he said. "When we look at the survey data there is a big increase in the pipeline of work people are seeing in the current quarter - that's 51 per cent up on the current quarter than was typical for this time of year. It is a sign of how strong Hawke's Bay is and how strong the horticulture sector is."
Last month the March Westpac McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey showed a regional 14 per cent lift in confidence for the December quarter - the sixth quarterly increase in a row. The MYOB survey of more than 1000 small-to-medium businesses that used its accounting software was conducted by Colmar Brunton. It found increased national confidence and revenue growth in the small-to-medium business sector, up from negative 30 per cent in September 2015, to positive 5 per cent.
Businesses in the logistics sector (net positive 21 per cent), retail and hospitality, and the trades (both net positive 10 per cent) were confident about the 2016 economy.
Falling dairy prices saw those in the primary sector down 23 per cent, with Christchurch-based business operators falling 7 per cent as the earthquake rebuild starts to plateau. In September MYOB bought Hawke's Bay company IMS Payroll for $9.7 million. Mr Scollay said IMS continued to grow.
"It is beating its targets and doing really well. IMS is just a great company - a great bunch of guys and customers love them. We are delighted with our acquisition. It seems to be enjoying being part of the MYOB family and the reception from customers has been very good.
"They are doing a great job and we have left them to carry on doing a great job for customers," he said.