The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) zone is home to an uncountable number of SMEs. Said SMEs play a pivotal role on the Pacific region as engines for growth and innovation. By the end of 2019, up to 97 percent of all businesses and employed workers across the APEC economies consisted of SMEs. Their worth is undisputable as SMEs contribute 20- 50 percent of GDP in most APEC economies.
Singapore in particular is widely regarded as an SME paradise. Through the implementation of innovative policies, significant government subsidies, and geographical location, the city-state has developed into fertile ground for the healthy growth of SMEs.
However, views on business and the economy have been rather mixed going into 2020. A survey conducted by United Overseas Bank (UOB) revealed that 46 percent of 615 SMEs surveyed held an optimistic outlook of the coming year. 31 percent were more pessimistic; while the remainder were neutral.
In an attempt to remain profitable in the coming decade, SMEs in Singapore are now shifting their focus onto productivity improvements for better performance in the current uncertain global economic environment.
According to UOB MD and Country Head of Business Banking, Singapore Mervyn Koh, “One of the ways SMEs are planning to achieve their productivity goals is by increasing their investments in technology, which not only helps increase efficiency but also enhances their competitiveness in the long term.”
Digital transformation technology adoption are not new concepts for Singaporean SMEs. In fact, Singapore has been on top of the digitisation game for quite some time now.
65 percent have already digitised at least one area of their business, with the most common one being accounting (46 percent), payroll (45 percent), and marketing (38 percent).
As digitisation becomes even more widespread, SMEs are looking to implement digital solutions in new areas such as expense management, customer relationship management, and sales.
Koh commended the forward-thinking abilities of these SMEs and suggested that they consider increasing the use of electronic payments.
“By doing so, businesses will not only become more efficient but also benefit from the ability to invoice their customers more quickly for better cash flow.”
Already we can see around 88 percent of SMEs planning to increase e-payment usage this year. This move will not only be beneficial for the SMEs, but also consumers as well.
E-payments are generally much more flexible and cost-effective for businesses and customers thanks to their agility, user-friendliness, and reliability.
The mindset of Singapore’s SMEs has helped them to stay ahead of the competition. This exact same mindset has allowed Singapore to be a dominant player in the global economy despite its lack of land and natural resources. The city-state serves as an excellent example of how leveraging the right technology and innovations efficiently leads to rampant success.