Singapore

MORE options have emerged to make the transition from manual processes to digital ones easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

One solution rolled out in Singapore on Monday was ABSS Click to Pay, an e-invoicing and payments solution designed so that SMEs can manage their invoices and pay their bills more efficiently. The solution is a collaboration between business-software provider Asia Business Software Solutions (ABSS), Australian payments-processing technology provider Mint Payments and Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS).

With ABSS Click to Pay, SMEs can click through directly from an e-invoice and submit their payments online. This supports the movement towards electronic payments, replacing the use of cash and cheques.

Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon had noted this month the economic cost of using cash and cheques was no small sum, amounting to 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) - about S$2 billion per year.

ABSS Click to Pay aims to help SMEs move away from these payment methods. It enables transactions to be processed in real-time, and automates accounts receivable, collection and payments in one interface. This saves SMEs time and money, in that it removes the need for manual handling of invoices and reduces invoice-processing costs.

It also improves SMEs' cashflow management because they get paid immediately and minimise outstanding invoices.

Alex Teo, the chief executive of Mint Payments, said: "With this collaboration, we are delivering a comprehensive omni-channel payment solution to SMEs in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region. ABSS Click to Pay marks the first of a full suite of products that will be made available."

The full suite of ABSS payments products will be launched soon; this includes the virtual point of sale (VPOS) system, an online option for processing card transactions for orders received via phone or fax.

Separately, SMEs in Singapore stand to benefit from the inaugural Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.

Two memoranda of understanding (MOU) were signed at the Germany-Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) 2016 on Monday, with these agreements aimed at facilitating partnerships between enterprises from the two countries.

The first MOU set up the Germany-Singapore SME Funding Programme, which provides funding support for joint research and development (R&D) projects. It also serves to encourage collaboration between German and Singaporean SMEs, with a focus on the medical technology, clean technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The MOU was signed between AiF Projeckt GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, and Spring Singapore.

The second MOU aims to benefit enterprises in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Signed by the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association, it is aimed at fostering partnerships between German and Singaporean companies.

Spring Singapore chairman Philip Yeo, who co-chairs GSBF, said: "The world is shifting its interest to Asia, especially the emerging markets, for the business opportunities they offer. Singapore SMEs are in a good position to be key partners to German mittelstands looking to expand into the region in this mutually beneficial collaboration."