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How SMEs can utilise existing grants to advance their digital innovation efforts

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are under constant pressure to ensure long-term growth and profitability to guarantee business continuity.

One way that this can be achieved is through unlocking the potential of digital technologies like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, a category of business software that combines and provides an overview of different business task modules such as accounting, payroll and inventory management.

ERP systems serve as a common data repository that allows managers to compare and evaluate the performance of different business sectors, helping them to identify opportunities for improvement and better resource reallocation.

SMEs that depend on manual data entry and staff training to upkeep their ERP systems reduce their productivity in the long run. Digitally automating these processes thus eliminates redundant tasks and human errors, enhancing efficiency. With ERP systems integral to business functions, it is important that they operate at optimal levels. And with software that is congruent to the latest advances in technology.

However, SMEs may not have the necessary budgets to ensure full automation of their ERP systems. This is where monetary support in the form of the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) serve as useful solutions for enterprises seeking to reach their innovation goals faster.

In addition, SMEs seeking to increase their efficiency and productivity can consider management systems such as InvoiceNow, which provide users with more streamlined workflow options across platforms that lead to quicker processing of invoice and payments.

Productivity Solutions Grant

A joint initiative by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore, PSG supports SMEs keen on adopting IT solutions to enhance their business processes through digitalisation and productivity upgrading efforts. The grant supports pre-scoped business solutions in the areas of customer management, data analysis, finance and inventory tracking, providing funding support of up to 80% of total qualifiable costs.

Enterprise Development Grant

EDG supports SMEs by strengthening their business foundations and exploring new growth opportunities that enhance efficiency through three broad pillars: Core Capabilities, Innovation and Productivity, and Market Access. SMEs keen on improving their ERP systems can tap upon the Innovation and Productivity scheme that encourages businesses to redesign their workflow and take advantage of automation processes. Compared to PSG, which requires pre-approved and clearly outlined requirement specifications, EDG is more suitable for SMEs who are looking at customisable solutions and help with payment of third-party consultancy fees. As with PSG, funding support goes up to 80% of total qualifiable costs.

InvoiceNow

InvoiceNow is an e-invoicing method that allows direct transmission of invoices in a digital format across finance systems. Operating on the open standard Peppol network, SMEs who adopt InvoiceNow experience smoother invoicing, thus reducing the incidence of error and time spent on manual processing. The sharing of digital invoices across finance systems also results in faster transmission of information and shorter payment processing time. With InvoiceNow reducing paper waste, SMEs who incorporate it in their workflow systems also help to strengthen their corporate social responsibility efforts.

As the economy gradually opens in phases, a new normal has already emerged. One with a stronger focus on remote working, virtual interaction and digital workspaces. With technology transforming every sector of Singapore’s economy, it is essential for SMEs to embrace this in order to sustain their operations and increase revenue generation.

For more information on how SMEs can improve their workflow and utilise PSG, EDG and InvoiceNow, please refer to attached e-book or visit Sage 300 | Sage Singapore