Most SMEs confident today, but fear failure within next 5 years: Survey

Most SMEs confident today, but fear failure within next 5 years: Survey

The Chief Financial Officers of smaller businesses now have a bigger focus in future-proofing their companies, according to a survey by American Express.

SINGAPORE: A majority of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) feel confident of their businesses, but more than half of them also fear the risk of failure in the near future, according to survey results released by American Express on Tuesday (Sep 29).

In the survey, 83 per cent of SME Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of 151 firms surveyed in Singapore felt that their businesses have a competitive edge today. However, 67 per cent also acknowledged a moderate to significant risk of failure in the next three to five years.

The key concerns which the CFOs named included labour and government regulations, as well as changing economic conditions.

“More of the SMEs we work with are searching for tools, data and insights to help them make strategic and risk management decisions to be future-ready,” said Mr Nigel Fox, Vice President and General Manager of Global Corporate Payments at American Express.

“With the slowing economy, intense competition and tight manpower conditions; innovation is key for the survival of Singapore SMEs. Standing still or looking the other way won’t make the future go away,” he added.

About 65 per cent of the CFOs surveyed said they now have a bigger focus on preparing their firms for the future. However, they also acknowledged that lean resources and outdated organisational structures and systems are factors that hinder the ability to innovate.

Almost half of those surveyed said there was a lack of staff or time dedicated to innovation, and 39 per cent said there was insufficient budget available for innovation.

Source: CNA/sg