Release of SME Conference book From left: S. Renganathan, Rajendra Theagarajah, Asoka Hettigoda, Adrian Perera, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Dr. In-Ki Joo, Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala, Manil Jayasinghe, H.M. Hennayake Bandara, Ramya Weerakoon and Sujeewa Rajapakse
At the inaugural panel discussion From left: S. Renganathan, Rajendra Theagarajah, Asoka Hettigoda, Adrian Perera, Dr. In-Ki Joo, Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala, Manil Jayasinghe and Ramya Weerakoon
The ‘Financial and Cost & Management Accounting for Development of SMEs’ conference was hosted by the Institute of Certified Management of Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA – Sri Lanka) on Friday, 24 January at Taj Samudra from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The conference was inaugurated by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) President Dr. In-Ki Joo on his visit to Sri Lanka and he delivered the keynote address on the theme ‘Financial and Cost & Management Accounting for Development of SMEs’. Dr. In-Ki Joo mentioned about the importance of the SMEs and the IFAC Global SMP Survey carried out in 2018 which included 150 countries.
He continued further by stating that the Small and Medium Practitioners are an integral part of the development of the SMEs and they assist in many different areas such as providing management consultancy, advisory services, taxation, preparation of accounts, development of IT skills and other areas of project preparation and assisting in obtaining funding.
The Special Guest of Honour Ajith Nivard Cabraal Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor on Economic Affairs and former Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka delivered the address on ‘The Role of Government in Promoting SME Development’. He mentioned about the special moratorium granted by the government and was happy that the banks had cooperated and are implementing this scheme and that this would enable the SME sector to make a revival and play an important role in the development of the economy.
He also stated that the application of Financial Cost & Management Accounting will enable companies to progress especially during the moratorium period.
CMA – Sri Lanka President Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala in his address spoke of the importance of the management accounting profession in the development of the SME sector especially in the costing area and making businesses competitive both in the domestic and export markets. He also stated that they are training management accountants who could assist the SME sector and today will launch the CMA Management Accounting Consultancy Services for qualified members to commence this task immediately.
He also thanked IFAC President Dr. In-Ki Joo for delivering the keynote address and projecting the important role that management accountants play in the SME development and for Ajith Nivard Cabral for assisting the SMEs from the Government side. He also appreciated the support received from all organisations to make this event a success.
The inaugural panel discussion was moderated by CMA Sri Lanka Governing Council member Adrian Perera who introduced the topic and posed questions to the panellists. Commercial Bank MD Renganathan welcomed the Government’s new economic revival plan and emphasised the importance of the SME sector using the moratorium granted for the revival of the companies and monitoring them in order that they could be revived and get back to normal business.
Cargills Bank MD and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Past Chairman Theagarajah emphasised that Ceylon Chamber has developed a comprehensive SME development plan and it is a collective document with regional chambers input and the Government should make use of it to develop the SME sector. Sujeewa Rajapakse the newly appointed Chairman of People’s Bank mentioned that as public sector banks they have always been helping the SME sector and would support the Government initiatives to grant the moratorium to revive the SME sector. In his personal capacity he had taken the initiative under the Eth Pawura entrepreneur development program to develop and assist young entrepreneurs which had an impact on the youth venturing into new projects.
CA Sri Lanka President and CMA Sri Lanka Council Member Manil Jayssinghe brought up the point of one of the main issues faced when SMEs go for funding is the inability to present a set of credible financial statements which hinders the ability of the company to raise the required finances. His suggestion was to get a qualified accountant or consultant to prepare the financial statements increasing the chances of the company to source the finances. Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala emphasised the fact that institutions should look at the cost efficiency enabling the products to be competitively priced and that CMA Sri Lanka has taken an initiative to set up the Management Consultancy Services arm to enable approved consultants to service the SME sector. IFAC President Dr. In-Ki Joo brought the point that IFAC is keen to develop the SMP and SME sector and the survey done in by IFAC in 150 countries has shown the prominent role that Accountants can play in the development of the SME sector and he was happy that CMA has set up the Management Consultancy Services to promote SME sector. On succession planning for family companies Siddhalepha Group MD and National Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka Former Chairman Asoka Hettigoda said that family succession planning is very crucial and children should not assume that they will be the only persons to manage the company, but should commence their training from the bottom and go up and they should understand that there are other outside management who are instrumental in developing family companies and they must be recognised.
Chamber of Exporters Chairperson Ramya Weerakoon brought the point that when she started her company in the garment industry with a few machines and it was her own money she invested since the bankers were not willing to take the risk but once she established herself the banks were behind her and she was able to expand to six factories with over 5,000 employees and contributing to the exports in Sri Lanka.
Supporting partners for the conference included the IFAC members Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA), Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka (AAT) and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants-UK (ACCA), Commercial banks, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank and Chambers of Commerce, the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), Sri Lanka International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and National Chamber of Exporters (NCE).