There have been several launches of programs aimed to boost financial literacy and educate the SME’s, ranging from the World Bank, Barclays Bank, to Co-operative Bank.
What they all aim to achieve is a knowledgeable customer who is aware of running enterprises efficiently and utilizing loans in order to make timely repayments and also come back for bigger betters. The question then remains, with an educated population, many who have taken their Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and holding Degrees, what do such forums cover that add value to the attendees?
Even with owners holding high education credentials, some MSME’s need help in several areas. Some topics that could be given weight during such forums include:
Cash flow management: Managing cash flows is an important part of any business. Most businesses are not run on a cash basis which therefore necessitates skills to dealing with inflows and outflows of cash. Cash flow management training guides the business owners on understanding liquidity, efficiency, profitability and leverage ratios which are all vital skills.
Taxation: Another important topic for entrepreneurs is taxation; they all need to know where they fall on the taxation bracket. Many entrepreneurs find themselves between a rock and a hard place when KRA comes knocking due to taxes not filed and undeclared income. Knowing how to manage and file taxes to avoid penalties.
“This is from my personal experience; unfortunately, I don’t have time to edit this post and work to pay off KRA… Another big scam in Kenya is asking the youth to register companies without any training on how to handle taxes,’ a post from a user on Citizen News Facebook page reads.
Entrepreneurs find that they owe the taxman millions of shillings due to lack of knowledge on how the taxation system works. Receiving basic training on this goes a long way to ensuring the success of businesses.
There is a thin line between tax planning and tax crimes. Tax evasion is a crime while planning to reduce the tax burden, avoid penalties and risks is tax planning. The difference should be clear and understood by all entrepreneurs.
Employee Relations and labor laws: Involves a program that directs on how to better promote employee accountability in the workplace by aligning management initiatives with the organizational goals and culture. This would assist in examining a range of employment laws as they apply to workplace incidents, as well as a performance management process that will align with the organizational strategy. No matter the size of the business, this will help the business owners to be well equipped with good practices that will be instrumental in successfully expanding their businesses.
Marketing and sales: Every business needs to employ good marketing strategies for its survival. The increase in digital advancement involves a shift in how marketing has been previously approached. Digital marketing is now employed alongside traditional marketing. Knowing how to promote your business through media, offering discounts and other methods is a key ingredient in business. This is an area that businesses need constant and new information on a regular basis.
This program should include templates for writing a sales letter, buying facilitation, cold-calling techniques and other techniques proven by research to create profits. This also introduces advertising techniques and market development programs designed to optimize revenue in new markets.
Business Financial Planning – Accounting: Accounting and finance training programs and seminars help to develop the essential financial acumen, so as to make smarter and more profitable decisions. This also trains on the latest financial management strategies and techniques and assists in maintaining sharp skills in budgeting, cost accounting, financial forecasting, fixed asset management, and things like mastering excel.
Government regulations /Legal environment: It is important for businesses to understand their legal and government policy environments. The changes in these areas are enormous, which can be confusing and hard to keep up with. However, a few insights into such environments will help owners to have knowledge of where they can turn to when they need such information.
Financial partners: Teaming up with a financial partner who understands the business needs, as well as the individual business owner needs, can sometimes make a business prosper as opposed to a neglectful partner. Businesses need to hear from their financial partners on what they will be offering them, in regard to financing, how involved they are prepared to be, and also financial advice.
Local and international opportunities: Business forums are an avenue to enlighten business owners of opportunities available both locally and internationally. For the Co-operative Bank MSME forums, presentations by the Bank Economist shed light on such opportunities which some businesses may be interested in pursuing. Several banks have organized trips to international markets like China for businesses to source and learn from the manufacturers and the factories.
Networking: Last but not least, the forums are an avenue of networking and building relationships that will support the businesses. Knowing who to call for an issue in taxes or any other business issue can make the difference between a business prospering or failing.
Business training and forums are very important to the businesses as getting together a team of experts in individual practices could prove to be expensive for an individual business owner.