The Ministry of Economy and Finance says it is preparing simplified and standardised accounting procedures, targeted specifically at strengthening the books of small- and medium-size Cambodian businesses, although the release date has not been specified.
The ministry is developing new forms that are intended to make bookkeeping more stream-lined for small businesses, improve tax collection efforts for the government and make it easier for lending institutions to evaluate loans.
Ngy Tayi, secretary of state at the ministry and head of the National Accounting Council, said that while Cambodia has had accounting standards for about a decade, few small businesses actually fill out the current forms.
Tayi said that owners will only need up to six months informal training to be able to fill out the new reports.
“It is a key part of developing the Cambodian economy, because small and medium enterprises share a large percentage of the country’s accelerating economic growth,” he said, adding that SMEs will be able to save money on accounting services.
“It will be easier for them to declare their taxes to the government and access loans from any banks.”
According to the 2011 Cambodian Economic Census, Cambodia has more than 500,000 SMEs operating in the country, a figure that represents 99 per cent of all businesses and an estimated 1.67 million jobs.
Many Cambodian SME owners still record their income and expenses in handwritten notebooks making it difficult for them to accurately gauge the competition, said Ly Visal, office manager of Federation of the Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (FASMEC).
“We welcome this simpler form and I hope it will help our SME sector develop faster,” he said.
CEO of Acleda Bank In Channy concurred, saying the simpler forms would make it easier for Cambodia to reach international accounting standards.
“Once they have clear reports, it will be easier for businesses to find investment partners or shareholders and also create easier access to loans from banks or other financial institutions.”
Nevertheless, the proposed streamlined forms have no clear release date, with the ministry’s Ngy Tayi stating that they may be available sometime next year. Like the previous forms, they will not be compulsory.
Piseth Kunnavuth, the marketing manager for a small noodle company in Phnom Penh, said his enterprise currently had their own way of doing accounting.
“I’ve heard of the accounting standards but have not really looked into it,” he said.
“But if the ministry sets up these new forms, I welcome it, and we will use them if is compulsory for every SME in Cambodia.”
Additional Reporting by Chan Muyhong