Building digitally-savvy SMEs

Becoming digitally savvy is not a difficult process, and the benefits are aplenty. The Singapore government has paved the path to digitisation for the nation through the smart nation initiative, and we have already reached the stage whereby robots are deployed to perform mundane tasks such as bank reconciliation and three-way matching. SMEs should, therefore, seriously consider looking into areas that can be digitised, such as accounting, marketing and payroll, for expedience.

If SMEs still do not embrace digitisation, they are bound to fail in the long run. Even industry giants such as HMV, Toys R’ Us and Kodak went bankrupt for their insistence to remain analogue.

Statistics show that SMEs in Singapore still have a lot to catch up as compared to MNCs in the area of digitisation. The government has rolled out initiatives, such as the Industry Transformation Roadmaps (“ITM”), to further encourage and help local SMEs to go digital.   

In today’s competitive market, a digitally-savvy firm has a higher chance of winning over tech-savvy customers than their competitors that still remain analogue. Digitisation can also bring about operational efficiency, increase interconnectivity, improves talent retention, enhances workforce productivity, and projects an image of a progressive and dynamic organisation.

According to a survey conducted by the Association of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (“ASME”), companies that embrace digitisation yield an average of 26 per cent increase in revenue, and a 22 per cent increase in cost savings. In terms of the nominal value add per headcount per worker, the average figure for SMEs is S$84,800 compared to the S$233,000 for non-SMEs based on the findings from the Singapore Department of Statistics (“DOS”). Digitisation can help to close this disparity.

In conclusion, digitisation is an effective springboard that catapults SMEs to the next level of growth in the evolving business arena.  

Note: This article contains excerpts from featured speaker, Mr Dennis Lee, Partner for Business Consulting, RSM, at the “Building Digitally Savvy SMEs: CPA Congress 2019”.