Cambodia’s economy has been growing steadily over the last decade. With 2019 recording the highest ever foreign direct investment (FDI) of $3.7 billion, this growth looks set to continue in the coming years and this is reflected in increasing innovation and the adoption of new technologies across the nation.
“Data taken from VisaNet reveals that we are already seeing increased electronic payment acceptance among Cambodian consumers and merchants, with 45 percent year-on-year growth in active cards,” said a press release by Visa.
According to the same source, one area that is primed for modernisation is the B2B sector, where we have seen incredible growth, and rising demand for digitalisation of payments. Despite these driving forces, wire transfers and cheques remain dominant in the B2B payment channel.
However, some online services are seeing a rise in digital payments—especially as the Central Bank began supporting farmers via online platforms to relieve some of the sizable difficulties faced by the agricultural sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of transactions still use traditional methods.
This disparity between demand for digital payments and adoption rates among enterprises is due in part to a lack of market awareness surrounding commercial credit cards, with many individuals continuing to use their personal cards for business uses. So, what financial and practical benefits can commercial credit cards offer merchants in Cambodia, and how can they best be utilised?
Streamlined Operations & Business Planning
As businesses in Cambodia continue to grow, many SMEs will be under pressure to streamline operations to realize cost savings and facilitate expansion. As part of this, businesses need to begin integrating payment solutions into their value chain.
Digitalisation through the use of business cards can help businesses to quickly itemise and categorise expenses, allowing them to easily identify areas of the business that are costly or inefficient. As such, business credit cards can act as a highly effective business planning and operational budgeting tool.
Looking at the neighbouring economy of Singapore, a survey conducted in 2019 revealed that 54 percent of employees use personal means to pay for business expenses at least once a month, a behavior pattern closely shared with the Cambodian market.
With enhanced reporting, businesses can also safeguard against misuse or poor management of employee expenses that arise when individuals continue to use personal cards. Digitalising company expenditure can enable employers to look at existing expense divisions, such as travel and entertainment or daily procurement and identify potential areas for streamlining or cost saving within the company’s operations.
Attractive Financial Incentives and Cost Savings
One key factor currently inhibiting the modernisation of B2B payment methods is a misconception that switching to commercial cards will mean missing out on cashback or reward points associated with traditional methods. As a result, some businesses remain unaware of, or may be underestimating, the significant cost savings or attractive financial incentives attributable to commercial cards.
For example, while some businesses are concerned that wire transfer or traditional payment methods will present better buffer periods and cash flow flexibility, in many cases the cash flow benefits of business cards, including Visa Business Card, can be even more favorable.
Through the use of business card incentives like interest free days and installment payments, SMEs can access and expand working capital, and this in turn can expedite a company’s growth. Business cards can also improve cash-flow forecasting and enable optimisation of working capital, which can save money for businesses in the long run.
In addition to improved cash flow, there are sizable cashback, promotional and non-financial incentives to digitalising B2B payments. Visa is cooperating with a number of Business Payment Solution Provider to launch initiatives that make business cards more available to customers, and bring meaningful benefits to Visa business card holders in Cambodia. By issuing discounts through key service providers, businesses may be encouraged to take advantage of new technologies and services that can help the company to achieve further growth.
Better Accounting Processes and Reduced Administration
Business cards also optimise time and labour in enterprises. A survey conducted by Visa in the Asia Pacific in 2019 discovered that the average SME spends 60 hours per month on administrative tasks such as invoicing, reconciliation and expenses.
One of the major setbacks of relying on wire transfer is that processing times for transfer and reconciliation can be cumbersome, time consuming and leave room for errors. Through business cards, SMEs can save a significant amount of their accounting and finance team’s time, due to fast processing and automatic itemisation that is inherent in digital payments. By making divisions more efficient, companies can unlock time and resource to focus on growing their business.
Business cards pave the way for a modernised economy
The seamless and secure nature of digital payments is already empowering businesses with better business planning, sizable cost savings and optimized financial resource. Ms. Chum Monika, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia, said: “With SMEs accounting for 99.8 percent of the enterprises in Cambodia, this sector is primed to take advantage of modernised payments.
By introducing business cards to Cambodian enterprises, Visa are responding to the present-day needs of the industry and enabling SMEs to develop their business operations in a way that reflects modern advances in technology.
And with SMEs contributing approximately 58 percent in GDP and responsible for 70 percent of employment, improved processes and capital in this landscape will mean faster growth for Cambodia as a whole”. C. Nika – AKP
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.