Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Access to finance for the small and medium-sized enterprise sector

I attended the launch of the report on access to finance for SMEs and a round table discussion on the issue, jointly organised by CPA Australia and ACCA in Kuala Lumpur today. The Chief Executive of the newly restructured SME Corp, Dato' Hafsah Hashim was also present.

The report was based on the research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of ACCA, CGA Canada and CPA Australia. Among the findings of the research are:

  • SMEs are continuing to grow in spite of the economic downturn
  • Access to finance has been squeezed due to rationing of finance mostly by banks
  • SMEs have mostly turned to their banks for advice during these difficult times – an interesting finding given the amount of animosity the crisis created between small businesses and banks
  • SMEs are cutting cost and improving cost management although small number of them have formal cost cutting plan
  • To preserve cash, SMEs are postponing investment, a strategy which could affect their future growth potentials
  • Some firms are poised for new growth phase
Issue of difficulties in obtaining financial facilities from banks was raised during the panel discussion. Another issue that was discussed was the alternative financing modes such as through private equite or venture capital to complement the banking system.

The reports could be downloaded here:

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