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Singapore SMEs could do with more to help them go global: accounting body

SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore would like more information and support on global trade opportunities to help them internationalise, said new research from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Suggesting there is room for further growth, the accounting body's research revealed that nearly half of respondents in its latest survey would still like to receive information and support on international trade opportunities, despite a majority already participating in some international business.

Among small Singapore businesses, competition was cited as the biggest barrier to international trade, ACCA's report Growing globally showed. Some 43 per cent of respondents said that the most helpful measures for enabling more SMEs to participate in global trade were providing more information and support on trade opportunities, while the same number said securing new or improved trade agreements was crucial.

"Internationalisation can potentially bring a range of growth benefits for both SMEs and the broader economy, whilst also driving productivity," explained Ben Baruch, head of SME policy at the ACCA.

The local economy and productivity benefit from the expansion of domestic small businesses, so there is a "clear incentive" for policymakers to address these barriers and help businesses with international expansion, noted country head of ACCA Singapore Reuter Chua.

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Small and medium-sized accounting practices (SMPs) are also facing challenges to their core revenue streams, the ACCA noted. The accounting body recommended SMPs to specialise and adopt a "strategic mindset" in their business model to develop their international standing.

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