Processes, standards compliance and MSMEs’ repositioning
All over the world, expansion is a major challenge for businesses of all sizes, but process management can help maintain growth in sustainable and measurable ways.
It is inevitable that a small business growing at pace will need new systems and processes to keep moving forward, but while scaling up sounds stimulating in theory, in practice it can be a minefield.
Improving cash flow, recruiting staff and automating administrative tasks are just some of the activities that can benefit from being systemised in a fast-growing business.
There is no gainsaying the fact that a well-approached business process management will help MSMEs adjust to the changes that rapid growth brings. Process is the structure and foundation by which small businesses can build and scale a business.
MSMEs remain the backbone of major developed economies and they are important contributors to employment, economic and export growth.
While, MSMEs contribute 48 per cent of national GDP, account for 96 per cent of the private sector and 84 per cent of national employment; they are still faced with challenges hampering their growth.
It is thus important for MSMEs to work towards thriving in this economy by differentiating themselves from the crowd and building processes on systems not on individuals in order to ensure sustainability
To help Nigerian MSMEs become more competitive especially in the global market, the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) in collaboration with ActionAid and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) hosted stakeholders to the unveiling of a Unique Web-based Solution that prepares MSMEs to meet COSO 2013 standards on internal controls and to establish certifiable anti-bribery, anti-corruption standards (ABAC).
The launch, which had in attendance key stakeholders in the MSME landscape especially members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), was an opportunity to learn and voice the experiences and challenges with doing business in Nigeria.
The stakeholders submitted that beyond access to finance, MSMEs are faced with difficulties in relation to access to market, technology, information, and infrastructure and indeed support services and a compliance framework, which the platform helps to address.
Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer of CBi, Soji Apampa, stated that MSMEs in Nigeria are severely challenged by issues of undercapitalisation, lack of records, difficulty in accessing bank credit, high cost of doing business, irregular power supply, inability to separate personal finances from business, corruption, infrastructural inadequacies like bad roads, government lack of interest in the sector’ amongst a host of other challenges.
He pointed out that SMEs can distinguish themselves from other organisations by using compliance with international standards as a competitive edge and subscribing to the COSO 2013 framework.
Also, he added that donor organisations, as well as development banks, have had cause to stop MSMEs from participating in their activities because of integrity issues such as falsification of their year of incorporation, doctoring the value of reference contracts and tampering with the experience of key personnel, in a process called Debarment.
Presenting the business model of the platform (ethicsQED.cbinigeria.com), IT Manager, Integrity Organization Limited (Gte.), Maduka Okafor, explained that the value proposition of the platform is to enable MSMEs understand ethical and anti-corruption standards.
It is also serving as a marketplace of service providers who provide regulatory interface services and also helping MSMEs internally assess themselves and show credible evidence of conformance with standards and regulations.
In addition, Okafor noted that the customer segments expected to make use of the platform are international donor agencies, banks and other financial institutions, venture capital firms, large enterprise companies and most importantly MSMEs.
On the other hand, the key partners supporting this initiative are CIPE, DFID, other international donor agencies, financial institutions and service providers.
He also explained that the platform is secure and compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards on data protection and covers the requirements needed to comply with the COSO 2013 framework including segments such as having a controlled environment, risk assessments, controlled activities and information and communication.
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