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KUALA LUMPUR: The first Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2022 LAB kicked off with the pertinent question on how to build business resilience via new technology, partnerships and effective cash management.
Moderated by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) small and medium enterprises (SMEs) committee national treasurer and chairman Koong Lin Loong with panel speakers like PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief financial officer Pang Kong Chek, RHB Bank Bhd and SME Engagement head Sim Ee Chiew and Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd’s (CGC) Branch Sales Management vice-president Sharifah Attashah Syed Ali.
Koong opened the discussion with the observation that after two and a half years since Covid-19 the business community gears up for a recovery, the transition has been a rocky path, as the world faces headwinds from the Ukraine-Russia War, inflationary pressure, supply chain disruptions and issues with the labour market.
He also said that according to ACCCIM’s survey, business communities are still facing cash flow-related issues such as the decrease in the profit, rising costs and more and questions the role of cash flow in ensuring business continuity.
Pang agreed that cash flow is important for the survival of businesses.
He said that the control on cash collections or cash conversion for both receivables and inventory should be kept within control or be improved upon.,
He mentioned that receivables are tied to credit control depends on a good credit control policy to manage or reduce the risk of defaulting.
For inventories he said an ideal level of inventory keeping should be monitored to ensure the business operates at an optimum level.
Sim pointed out that SMEs may also find it difficult to optimise their inventory level due to the volatility of raw material prices and fluctuating currency.
He said banks offer many facilities including SMEs loans to enable them to stock up and cater to their increasing business activity post-recovery.
Sharifah stressed that it is important for businesses – big and small – to ensure they have a healthy cash flow and that business owners need to prepare a cash flow statement and conduct regular cash flow analysis.
She noted that the biggest issue that business owners face is in tackling late payments and she suggested offering lead payment bonuses or incentives.
She also brought up invoice financing, which can get some cash flowing in by getting advances on unpaid invoices as well as cash flow forecasting to help entrepreneurs make plans in advance.
On digital transformation, Koong highlighted the necessity of digital transformation for building business resilience and more importantly how to start the journey.