Access to credit still easy in South Africa

Woman in small shop Ghana

According to the World Bank‘s 2013 Doing Business Report, South Africa has been joint-ranked, along with Malaysia and the United Kingdom, as the easiest country in the world for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access credit.

Gerrie van Biljon, executive director of Business Partners Limited, says that this will be the third year in a row that South Africa has achieved the ranking and that that it is a very encouraging sign for small business owners locally.

He says that there is however evidence that a lack of SME financing still exists, despite the reported easy credit access. “Access to finance remains the number one hindrance for SMEs, regardless of this high rating. This is most likely due to the fact that SMEs are unsure of how to apply for finance, or that they do not qualify for the type of financing that is available. It is therefore of utmost importance that SMEs understand the stringent credit conditions that need to be fulfilled to obtain financing.”

via Access to credit still easy in South Africa – World Bank report.

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Hope for small business

Anna Phosa's workers

Port Elizabeth small business owners were given a boost on Wednesday following a gathering where up and coming local entrepreneurs got the opportunity to grow their firms.

The Hope Factory, a hub for entrepreneurs in the city, hosted two events at North End in a bid to strengthen entrepreneurs’ capacity in growing and sustaining their enterprises.

Sipho Ntlangu, one of The Hope Hub entrepreneurs, said the programme had made a positive impact in terms of business growth.

The Hope Factory launched The Hope Hub a year ago with the purpose of helping small business owners to showcase their products.

“It also provided me with more exposure for business, as many people are now aware of the whereabouts of my business. There is a great potential to increase sales and to make profits,” said Ntlangu.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study, there are few South Africans who try their hand at entrepreneurship and only 2.6% survive through the three-and-a-half year mark.

“Some of the reasons for this failure rate include a lack of skills, limited access to markets, no seed capital, a lack of work experience and a lack of confidence.

via Hope for small business | The New Age Online.

Small business owners innovate to stay ahead

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22:  Junior Minister for ...

Small business owners are increasingly diversifying and innovating as they look to capitalise on the busy summer of events in the UK and improve their bottom line, according to Avivas bi-annual SME Pulse.

The numbers of SMEs putting on sales and discounts, diversifying into new areas or reducing overall prices have all increased in the last six months, with the desire to capitalise on the busy summer of sporting and other events likely to be one reason for this.

via Small business owners innovate to stay ahead in tough environment | Easier.

SA business owners look and learn.

How to cover your small business

Glass: damage to shop fronts and sign writing at your premises could be costly to repair. Accidental damage to the glass would be covered;

Fidelity guarantee: this is where the business insures itself against losses as a result of employee fraud;

Accounts receivable: a business can insure possible losses if, for example, the business is destroyed in a fire, no records of accounts have remained and the business is unable to establish the amount due to them;

Goods in transit: many businesses transport and deliver goods produced or sold. Make sure that you are covered in the eventuality of accidents or hijackings that could damage or destroy the goods being transported.

via How to cover your small business – Business LIVE

DAFZ promotes e-services

iTunes_Store

Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ) is showcasing its latest e-services for potential and existing companies at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK. The Free Zone is showing off its new iPhone application, available for download now from the iTunes store, which provides companies interested in locating their premises at DAFZ with information on the zone, plus application forms to register online. The service is also available for existing DAFZ resident companies, to deliver a range of online services through the mobile platform.

The new app is part of DAFZ’s continuous programme of development of e-services for its customers, under the overall strategic vision for eGovernment in Dubai. DAFZ offers over 200 e-services for resident companies and others, with no manual transactions.

“All of the services that DAFZ provides to our established companies are online, we don’t really have manual applications forms or procedures, all the services are online for all the clients,” says Buthaina Hamad Bin Fahad, Director, Information and Communication Technology, Dubai Airport Free Zone.

DAFZ is also showing an interactive 360 degree online photo of the Free Zone on its web site, to give prospective residents a more in depth understanding of its facilities and locations.

The Free Zone is also promoting its Business Enabled Offices service at GITEX. The Business Enabled Office is intended to give SMEs, or larger companies looking to establish a regional presence, the ability to set up a complete office in DAFZ, for just AED 7000 per month.

via DAFZ promotes e-services – GITEX 2011 – ITP.net

Business welcomes audit exemption plan

Annual balance sheet of a State-owned farm, dr...

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Ministers will on Thursday unveil plans to save more than 100,000 businesses at least £600m a year in accountancy and administration costs by relaxing the requirement to conduct a financial audit.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will launch a consultation on proposals to allow more small companies and subsidiaries to decide for themselves whether or not to have an audit.

Business groups welcomed the move, but warned ministers needed to deliver such steps regularly for companies to gain confidence in the government’s deregulation drive.

At present, European Union rules mean that to classify as “small” for accounting purposes, a company must comply with two out of three criteria: having no more than 50 employees, a balance sheet of no more than £3.26m and turnover of no more than £6.5m.

However, to obtain an audit exemption in the UK, small companies must fulfil both the balance sheet and turnover criteria. Under the new proposals, UK SMEs would be eligible for audit exemption by meeting any two of the three criteria, saving an estimated £206m a year. An average audit for a small company costs £9,500.

via Business welcomes audit exemption plan

Good accounting improves business competitiveness

Salford Business School

Image by University of Salford via Flickr

BY PHILLIP CHICHONI

The managing director of Swiss bank, UBS,  is in trouble. The board wants to fire him for allowing over US$2 billion to be lost through the hands of  rogue trader Kweku Abodoli. One of the largest financial institutions in the world, UBS’s financial control systems failed to detect fraudulent activities and suffered a huge loss as a result.

I asked a number of small business owners if they knew how much money they were making each year. Frighteningly, the majority did not know exactly. As long as there was cash in the bank, they did not bother themselves with much else as regards the financials of the company. So if an employee finds a way of defrauding them, they would have no way of detecting it.

Lack of accounting and financial control systems is a big problem among SMEs. They cannot measure their success, growth and efficiency. With no budgets and cash flow management systems, business decisions are made in the dark and on an ad-hoc basis. An accounting system helps in managing finances, maximising returns on investments while improving the competitiveness of businesses.

Your accounting system should provide an accurate picture of your business and how it is performing. Setting up a good accounting system and understanding the numbers produced can make a major difference in how your business fares in the long run. The financial statements produced from your accounting system will help you in several ways.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE REALLY MAKING MONEY

A good accounting system should tell you how much money you are making in terms of total sales, the cost of the goods sold, expenses and net profit. Success in business is measured in financial terms. The financial results at the end of a period will reflect how successful the business was in the given period. Comparing the financial results over time will show if the company is growing and improving in efficiency.

via SME Chat:Good accounting improves business competitiveness.