ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is celebrating this year’s Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day by paying tribute to small businesses globally.
Small businesses have taken a massive hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but still have a crucial role to play in the economic recovery. SMEs represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.
To continue playing this essential role in creating jobs opportunities as well as enhancing livelihoods, small businesses rely heavily on support for access to finance, information, and environments conducive to growth.
Accountants have increasingly become trusted advisors to small businesses during such turbulent times. The Covid-19 crisis has reconfirmed this vital role and it has also accelerated other smaller accountancy firms to transform further. ACCA has almost 50,000 members working in public practice with a majority of those working in small and medium sized practices (SMPs). As such, it’s a core part of our strategy to ensure we use the power of our connections to offer support, guidance and advice for accountants working as SMPs, and their SME clients.
ACCA’s head of SME - Professional Insights, Aleksandra Zaronina-Kirillova, says:
‘At ACCA, we are proud to be supporting such a special day appreciating our global small businesses. This pandemic has highlighted even more the fragility of small businesses that are a lifeline to global economies. And that’s where our global SMP community comes in.
‘SMPs can help businesses develop new revenue streams, transform their business models , support growth and share best practices.
‘We have created various global, practical initiatives and resources to support the SMP community in their transformational journey that is so crucial in supporting sustainable recovery of the small business sector.’
‘ACCA recently launched two global initiatives: Practice Connect– an online hub with insights, resources and innovative tools to help small practitioners stay relevant in a fast-changing business landscape; and The Practice Room – is a virtual SMP community where 15 international practitioner members host a series of discussions weekly. Within these sessions, SMPs exchange ideas to ensure that as a community they provide the best support to SMEs worldwide. The SMPs are often joined by experts from the SME support ecosystem and we welcome participation of non-ACCA members as well.’
To also mark this occasion, ACCA has spoken to several hosts from Practice Room on why MSME Day is an important date in the diary for the SMP community.
Rosanna Choi, Co-founding Partner of CW CPA, Hong Kong, Chair of ACCA Global Forum for SMEs
‘The celebration of the International SME Day is important to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development and the global economy. This is especially so when SMEs are struggling because of the pandemic that has exposed their vulnerabilities such as supply chain and operations, client experience and employee engagement. They need to recreate themselves to overcome this difficult period, and SMPs have become emergency support services to them: cashflow management, planning business resilience, navigating them through government support schemes, and transforming their businesses.’
‘During the crisis, ACCA has rolled out the Practice Room and Practice Connect on a timely basis. Practice Room is the dedicated space designed to connect SMPs all over the world. Together, SMEs and SMPs are stronger and sustainable, for the betterment of the global economy. Happy international SME Day!’
Bright Amisi, Avant Advisory Services Ltd, South Africa
‘I commemorate and support the International SME Day because of their contribution to employment creation, economic prosperity and the improvement of living conditions. SMEs are the backbone of most economies especially the emerging and developing economies as they are owned by locals, with limited risk of capital flight when compared to investments by multinationals.
‘I am very passionate about developing and supporting SMEs to become sustainable businesses which is why I serve as one of the hosts of the ACCA Practice Room sessions. Not only are we promoting the development of SMEs by supporting SMPs, they also happen to be key advisors to fellow SMEs. The Practice Room enables SMPs to connect with global peers, share ideas and create new alliances across geographical boundaries.’
Sarah Whale FCCA, founder of Profit Impact Ltd, UK
‘As small and medium sized businesses start to come through a prolonged tough period, they face a situation where they have three distinct priorities; the first is financial recovery to rebuild their reserves and invest in their growth, the second being supporting many of their people as they recover from uncertainty, mental strains, illness and grief. The third priority is designing and integrating a robust environmental strategy to support the combating of the climate crisis and reduce their own business risk. It's clear the future recovery needs to be a sustainable one which will need brave leadership which takes the long-term view. Business leaders will be reliant on informed counsel from their support network, including their accountants. Through the Practice Room we have had the opportunity to discuss as a group practical actions that we can take to provide this support. Some have shared their experiences of what has worked well that others can take away to try out. The Practice Room has benefited from bringing in experts outside of finance to share their thoughts and it is exactly this holistic thinking which will help the finance community support their clients through this recovery phase and beyond.’
Anastasia Chalkidou, co-founder of Quantum, Greece
‘Today we proudly celebrate UN International SME Day, paying a tribute to the entities forming the backbone of the world’s economy and the leverage of sustainable development. The previous unprecedent months have brought to the forefront the crucial role of SMEs in creating jobs, in promoting innovation and in maintaining social interconnections. As an ACCA member, I am proud to say that SMEs and the fundamental role of SMPs in their development have always been at the heart of the ACCA strategy. Now more than ever, via initiatives such as the Practice Room and Practice Connect, ACCA empowers accountants across the world and provides them with the proper skillset and mindset to support SMEs in the multi-faceted challenges they are dealing with, as they steer their way through the Covid-19 pandemic.’
Stacy-Ann Golding, founder of S N Golding Financial Services Ltd, Trinidad & Tobago.
‘Throughout my career in accounting and especially now as the owner of a SME, the opportunities for sharing my knowledge and experience has been abundant.
‘The Practice Room affords me the avenue, to be open and honest in discussions about issues that are core to a SME practitioner’s ability to manage and grow the business. The insights shared and received then serve to sharpen skills and buoy the spirits. As we prepare for life after the pandemic, the conversations in the Practice Room, while a welcome distraction during the pandemic, now enable us to be ready for the recovery ahead.
‘Our resolve to 'winning the internal battle with yourself' and renewed confidence in ‘the art of the negotiation’ will ensure 'Tomorrow’s Accountant’ will continue to play a crucial role in the business sector.’
This work also demonstrates ACCA’s global commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goals eight and 17 respectively. ACCA’s global SMP community is promoting economic growth by helping small businesses recover and we are also facilitating connections and partnerships to support sustainable growth of small business sector.
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