As part of its efforts to help start-ups navigate the Nigerian business terrain, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Nigeria), a leading professional services firm, in partnership with The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), held a capacity-building workshop for Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Lagos.
The one-day workshop, which was held at the PwC annex office, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday, focused on three areas critical to the survival and growth of small business viz: record keeping and accounting, addressing financing and taxation.
The Director-General, NBCC, Ms. Joyce Akpata, said the training would provide participants the information needed to profitably manage and expand their businesses in the face of worsening economic climate and a difficult operating environment.
She further explained that her association’s partnership with PwC is in line with their objectives to promote exclusively bilateral business and investment activities between Nigeria’s and Britain’s private sector, through workshops, business luncheons, seminars, trade fairs, trade missions and other activities. These activities are expected to aid trade and investments for small and medium enterprise as well as large scale multinationals.
Taiwo Oyedele, Partner and Head, Tax & Regulatory Services, PwC Nigeria, while speaking on the topic: “Tax Planning and Compliance”, stated that tax matters needed to be approached proactively in order to prevent future problems in any business.
In his words: “Understanding the tax laws and its administration would reduce costs as ‘getting it right the first time’ prevents the imposition of interests and penalties. It is therefore important to approach tax matters proactively and be ready to respond if and when a tax dispute arises. Without a plan of action for resolving potential tax disputes; uncertainty, inefficiency and lost opportunities can result which can impact very negatively on a business.”
Taiwo listed the issues associated with non-compliance to include: reputational issues, going concern, prosecution, penalty and loss of opportunities.
On his part, Cyril Azobu, Partner and Head, Consulting at PwC Nigeria told the participants during his presentation on ‘Record Keeping and Accounting including IFRS for SMEs’ that good financial management begins with keeping accurate records, internal control, budgeting and financial reporting.
Azobu said, “Nigeria has adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as the framework for financial reporting and this includes SMEs. Which means that SMEs are expected to also prepare their accounts according to the standard.”
He listed the key drivers and benefits of IFRS for SMEs to include improved access to capital; standardised and improved comparability and improved quality of reporting. In addition, it focuses on the needs of users of SME financial statements and reduced burden for entities in jurisdictions where full IFRS are now required.
Dr. Musa Olasupo, Head, Research and Development, National Collateral Registry NCR/CBN in a presentation titled, ‘Addressing the SME Finance Gap: The Role of Financial Infrastructure’, said the National Collateral Registry (NCR) and Credit Reporting System are two important financial institutions that will help bridge the SME finance gap.
Olasupo added that the Federal Government is very much concerned with the success of MSMEs in the country which necessitated the recent introduction of the NCR in the country which now allows MSMEs to access loan facilities with their movable assets. He however urged the MSMEs to settle their loans as at when due, as failure to do so would be captured by the Credit Reporting System and subsequently hinder them from accessing loan facilities from financial institutions in the country.