??Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, addresses the??3rd SME Conference hosted by the ACCA, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, St. Michael, on Wednesday, while Dean Westcott (right), Incoming President of the ACCA listens. (A. Miller/BGIS)

A call has gone out to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and other accounting bodies, to assist in "closing the economic divide" between Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) clients and commercial banks.

It has come from Minister of Small Business, Denis Kellman, during his address at the ACCA’s 3rd SME Conference which was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre recently.

Minister Kellman alluded to issues which negatively impacted loan negotiations between commercial banks and SMEs, but was adamant that there was a "significant role" to be played by accounting bodies in this regard.

He told members of the organisation: "As an accounting body, you therefore have a responsibility to facilitate transparency by way of assisting your SME-clients in understanding new financial terminology and concepts, organising information sessions on various aspects of the new financial environment…supporting clients in having a better understanding of their own risk profile when negotiating with banks, [and] informing and educating clients on innovative financing tools."

The Minister pointed out that, while it was part of Government’s mandate "to create a stable and friendly ecosystem for entrepreneurs and SMEs to thrive and compete in the global economy", changes would have to be made among private organisations if there was to be significant growth in the SME sector.

Underscoring that financing was an important factor in the development of SMEs, Mr. Kellman stressed that the commercial banking sector would have to take "a quantum leap in their thinking and…assist deserving SMEs with the provision of appropriate levels of working capital when needed to facilitate their viability."

The Small Business Minister also noted that many SMEs were now facing their first economic recession and stressed that "the ACCA must take the lead in forging a strategic working relationship with the various accounting bodies to advance the cause of SMEs in the current circumstances and by extension promote their contribution towards a faster recovery of the region’s economy."


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