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Finance Tracker to Assist Philippine MSMEs

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A local firm is launching its mobile platform which can be downloaded for free via the mobile app store to empower small businesses, freelancers and people with digital tools to assist them to manage their businesses.

The mobile app has four core functions at launch: real-time recording of sales and expenses with automated total profit calculation accounts payable transaction documentation with regular billing reminders and due dates sent to both customers and suppliers via messaging apps, separate bookkeeping for multiple businesses or branches, and enterprise-grade security for users’ business financial data.

In a survey of 300 microentrepreneurs conducted by the start-up, 64% still use traditional and manual methods to track income, expenses, and customer’s debts, while 26% are unable to track these at all. The app has processed more than P75 million in receivables, tracked debts, recorded transactions, and issued invoices to date.

“Helping Philippine MSMEs was advocacy close to my heart. Growing up, I saw the challenges my family endured in running a sari-sari store. I spent almost a year just talking to various MSMEs in the province and trying different ideas to help them grow. And that’s when I realised that the first thing to do to help them grow is through digitisation and replacing pen and paper with easy-to-use tech,” shared co-founder of the local startup.

Since its September launch, an average of P3,800 has been paid per user. The platform is funded by several investors that acknowledge that financial literacy and inclusion remain a major issue in the Philippines, with the main causes being a lack of appropriate tools and insufficient tracking.

In addition, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is relaunching its SETUP initiative as SETUP 4.0 to include industries in the Department’s priority areas. SETUP 4.0 will not only aid MSMEs in enduring the pandemic’s challenges but will also prepare them and their respective industries for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, which will be marked by the widespread adoption of emerging technologies such as automation, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Under SETUP 4.0, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, underscored “DOST’s interventions will not only benefit the individual firms. We will also be providing industry-level interventions, making sure that each industry under our priority sectors is following a set roadmap that is directed towards transitioning to the fourth industrial revolution.”

OpenGov Asia reported the vast majority of businesses in the Philippines are classified as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). While many people are still trying to find their place in the large market, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have made things more difficult for them. Brick-and-mortar stores are particularly hard hit, as they must now take their operations online to stay afloat.

Going digital and the complexities that come with it are one more problem that many MSMEs do not need. Particularly when they have other aspects of the business to focus on to gain market access and grow, such as funding, production, supply sourcing, and skill training. The Philippine telecommunications provider understands MSMEs’ needs and encourages them to invest in ICT solutions capable of meeting the digital demands of the next normal.

The telecommunications provider is prepared to provide MSMEs in retail, manufacturing, and logistics with cutting-edge ICT by enlisting the assistance of several of its most valuable business partners: a logistics firm that specialises in parcel collection and door-to-door delivery, one of the country’s leading e-commerce platforms, and another firm that assists businesses in exporting to new and exciting markets followed by a one-stop online shop for everything fashionable.

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