Banking on the Small Business Ecosystem

This article originally appeared on Bangkok Post.

It’s not easy for small companies to grind through the basic operations of running a business. Owners and employees spend a lot of time navigating separate platforms for banking, enterprise resource planning, human resources and payments.

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Banks can help contain the sprawl by devising a simple, easy-to-use package that would integrate these functions. Such packages could hold great appeal for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), allowing banks to strengthen and expand their role with these companies.

Small firms also look for advice and support at transitional moments such as making acquisitions or starting to export. By offering services that address SMEs’ broader needs, banks can position themselves at the centre of a valuable ecosystem.

Some banks have made a promising start. For example, ANZ in New Zealand targets start-ups, using monthly subscription fees for its revenue model. It partners with Honcho for setting up businesses, and with other companies such as Xero for accounting. DBS is working with Singtel, the largest telecommunications provider in Singapore, to help SMEs go cashless and build e-commerce businesses.

Read the full article at Bangkok Post.

Martin Tornes, Seow-Chien Chew and Derek Keswakaroon are partners with the Financial Services practice of Bain & Company. They are based, respectively, in Copenhagen, Singapore and Bangkok.