Auditing and the Challenge of Adapting

David Eu, RSM’s Partner & Deputy Industry Lead for F&B, Retail and Consumer Products, a practising member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and a judge at the upcoming Retail Asia Awards 2022 trades insights on what food and beverage retailers have to do to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID- 19 pandemic in this special interview with Retail Asia.

Can you tell us about your experiences as an audit leader for food & beverage and retail & consumer products? What are the most important experiences that have shaped your career?

Food & beverage entrepreneurs are passionate about their businesses, often too focused on improving food quality and increasing sales.  They tend to overlook the importance of timely financial information.  Without timely and accurate financials, business owners and operators will face challenges in managing their working capital and cash flows.  

I have seen companies struggle to produce updated financial information and management accounts for annual audits.  This struggle is often compounded by the high staff turnover in the finance/accounts department.  Through my experience, timely financials will enable owners and operators to adjust their business strategies quickly and effectively.

What advice can you give food and beverage firms that are looking to improve their product range and quality?

F&B firms can improve their product range and quality by using more fresh ingredients, versus frozen or processed foods.  To maintain the freshness of ingredients delivered, proper handling and storage are critical.  This can be achieved by adequate staff training and quality control procedures.  

What trends, products, or technologies do you see as making a big impact on the food and beverage retail industry today? How will they fare in the future?

Plant-based milk and meats, sustainable foods, and health products are trends we are seeing in recent years.  Food trends cover everything from eating right to maintaining mental health and immunity, and minimising food wastage, to technology and food delivery.  At the same time, there is an increase in demand for food transparency and sustainability.

How has the pandemic changed consumer behaviour?

Over the past 2 years, more consumers have gone digital or online for their purchases.  You can buy almost everything with just a few clicks.  Consumers are overloaded with data from social media to advertisements.  Consumers are looking for the best deals with the least hassle.  Hence, to keep customers coming back, vendors need to ensure that the delivery of goods or services creates a memorable experience.    

David is one of the judges at the upcoming Retail Asia Awards 2022 and this feature article is republished with permission from Retail Asia.

Feel free to reach out to us and find out more and how our F&B, retail and consumer products team can assist you.

Yang Li Lian
Director & Industry Lead, F&B, retail and consumer products
+65 6594 7897
[email protected]

David Eu
Partner and Deputy Industry Lead, F&B, retail and consumer products
+65 6715 1338
[email protected]