THE SME Association of Malaysia has called for an organisation to be formed to appraise the qualifications of industry consultants as well as to develop certification standards and industry norms.
“At present there is no agency or body that conducts certification and appraisal of consultants in the country, ” pointed out SME Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang.
“Last year, SME Malaysia had a discussion with the Government to appraise consultants in various industries. Already, Singapore, Europe and the United States have certification for consultants, ” he said.
He hopes that next year the Government could pass a bill to set certification standards for consultants. The consultants could apply for accreditation with the organisation, which in turn could set fee rates to prevent businesses from being deceived by unscrupulous consultants who do not fulfil their responsibilities after charging their clients.
Kang said this at the recent discourse titled Malaysia SME Compass broadcast live on Facebook, in which he analysed the new normal for businesses, the development and steady growth of enterprises, while answering questions from online audiences.
He was among four entrepreneurs who were invited to share their thoughts on a post-pandemic navigation route for businesses.
The other speakers were AmLeisure Group Berhad and Space Hotel founder Ada Poon; SBH Advisory Firm founder and financial advisor Sam Tsen; and business succession planner Teh Gaik Cheong, who is chief executive officer of G Life Group Sdn Bhd.
The speakers touched on topics such as how SMEs can receive government support, how to create and stabilise cash flow, and business succession plans.
Poon, who was appointed chairman of SME Malaysia’s Women Entrepreneurs and Young Entrepreneurs division this year, said the series of SME Malaysia live broadcasts on Facebook invited corporate professionals from various fields to share information on different topics and lead innovative thinking.
Poon, who is the project chairman and host of the events, said the sessions featured six market leaders. Aside from the aforementioned Kang and Tsen, the others were businessmen Datuk Dr Calvin Khiu and Datuk Eric Chong, lawyer Gan Pin Shou, and physician Dr Kris See.
The sessions were organised by Go Traz and Angel CEO Partner, and supported by SME Malaysia to raise funds for Covid-19 frontliners. The recent broadcast garnered 178,000 views and raised RM130,688, while MK Curtain came in with a sponsorship of 10,000 masks.
With the funds raised at the sessions, SME Malaysia procured supplies and donated them to the frontliners via its We Care, We Share initiative.
According to Kang, the Government provides various incentives and financial assistance to SMEs to alleviate their difficulties and achieve transformation, including enterprise automation and digitisation, and human resource development.
Those who meet the qualifications only need to log on to the official website and submit an application to receive financial assistance, he said.
Due to the pandemic, companies may face the problem of cash cutoff, so he suggested that business owners negotiate directly with the bank to extend their loan repayment period after October.
He urged more businesses to join SME Malaysia (formerly SMI Association of Malaysia) which was established in 1995 to promote and provide support, services and solutions towards the best interest of small and medium industries, enterprises and businesses.
SME Malaysia creates dynamic and competitive enterprises, and assists the business community to convey opinions to the Government, as SMEs are seen as the engine that drives the nation’s economy.
Bank on banks
Tsen stressed on the importance of making good use of banking leverage to operate businesses.
Although bank lending conditions have become more stringent since the pandemic, as long as businesses have the correct information, they can quickly obtain various financial assistance packages provided by the Government and banks.
He reminded that it is necessary to keep good accounting records, complete bank records of income and expenditure, have zero record of deferred payments, and no credit card usage exceeding 80% of the limit – all of which can help businesses obtain loans or funding approval more easily.
Tsen also said the Government would also provide a three-year incentive for new companies with an annual income tax rebate of RM20,000.
Have a plan
Teh emphasised that it is important for businesses to have a business succession plan to avoid cash flow traps and other pitfalls.
“If handled properly, it will be beneficial to the continuance and development of the company and establish effective communication solutions to prevent the risk of corporate collapse, ” he said.
As the pandemic has hit businesses hard, “in order to bail out, businesses can get financial aid through insurance financial management tools.
“They can use the cash dividends of traditional insurance policies or the investment value of joint insurance policies to get financial aid within seven days.
“But one needs to seek professional advice from insurance agents for proper planning, ” he advised.
For more information, contact SME Malaysia 03-8024 5737 or go to www.smemalaysia.org
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