Seven out of 10 small business owners have no interest in growing their firms, but 83 per cent of them want to increase efficiency.

That's according to accounting software provider Xero's new Signals data series, which launched this afternoon.

The research aggregates anonymous Xero data from almost 10,000 small New Zealand businesses and combines it with surveys of 500 local companies and 1300 clients of the software provider.

Xero managing director Anna Curzon said the information could help business owners understand how they were faring compared with larger firms.


"For too long big-data has been the domain of big businesses and today's release democratises data for small businesses in New Zealand," Curzon said.

"It's our responsibility to provide the technology tools to small businesses to help them thrive. These insights will enable New Zealand's small businesses to assess their own business using comparative insight from thousands of other similar-sized businesses."

The data released today showed 87 per cent of invoices were overdue - 40 per cent of them by more than a month.

"The relaxed attitude to paying invoices in New Zealand is having a real impact on our economy and small businesses can change their invoicing practice to combat this," Curzon said.

Xero said companies should consider increasing their online presence, as 78 per cent of Kiwis aged over 18 shopped on the web but the data suggested only 15 per cent of small businesses had an online store.

The research also revealed only one in 10 small businesses had an accountant, while only one in three had a business plan.

"The data shows how much opportunity there is for small business owners to tighten their operations, become more efficient and grow," Curzon said.

Xero said the Signals data would be updated regularly and published online at