Seeking Growth through Diversification
The SMP Productivity Showcase series aims to share the productivity stories of our small and medium practitioners (SMPs) as they seek growth amidst a challenging business and economic climate.
In this final instalment, ISCA is pleased to share with you the story of Mr Eric Eio, Partner of Paul Hype page & Co and Mr Helmi Talib, Managing Partner of Helmi Talib & Co. They will respectively share with you their individual journeys in branching out into advisory services and leveraging marketing and branding solutions to grow their businesses.
First up, we tapped Mr Eric Eio’s thoughts to bring you these insights.
1) Understand your firm is an approved service provider for SPRING Singapore's Innovation & Capability Voucher - Financial Management (ICV-FM) scheme. A pre-requisite to become an approved service provider for ICV-FM is to be certified as a Practising Management Consultant (PMC) accredited by the Singapore Business Advisors and Consultants Council (SBACC).
Could you kindly share:
1.1) How was the journey like for you to become PMC certified?
It was a new experience for me during the process to become PMC certified, which would then enable my firm to tap on the ICV-FM scheme. There were a host of requirements to meet, classes to take, exams to study for, and documentation to gather on my past work experiences as well.
allenging to run a firm and study at the same time, I would do it all over again as not only did I learn a lot about myself, but I acquired the know-how and the opportunity to enable my firm to branch out into a new area of business in management consultancy.
1.2) How did you find out about ICV's call for service provider?
In April 2012, ISCA sent out the news about the call for service providers for the ICV programme and invited practitioners to apply to become service providers for the financial management area. I became interested and found out that I needed to become PMC certified to qualify for the application and hence I embarked on my journey to become a PMC. In March 2013 when the second call for ICV service providers was announced, I submitted my application.
1.3) How has ISCA aided your firm in becoming an ICV-FM approved service provider?
ISCA provides assistance by working with SPRING Singapore and providing updates on the latest developments and requirements to the SMPs.
2) What were some of the challenges/issues faced by your firm in becoming an approved service provider and how were they overcame?
To qualify as a PMC, the consultant has to fulfil 1,000 hours of management consultancy hours in the past three years. After being shortlisted for the interview by the SPRING Singapore panel, the consultant also needed to provide five project references over the same period of time. There was a need to have good documentation of the consulting hours, and this practice is not common among SMPs, as they typically do not break down and keep track of the consulting hours for each consulting engagement. We are lucky to have that structure in place, as we maintain detailed time sheets and records for each engagement.
3) What do you do as a PMC? Can you share an example of a company that has benefited from your firms' expert advice?
For Paul Hype Page & Co, we assist many companies in their planning and budgeting process and analysis of their working capital.
For example, we worked with a cleaning company advising them on their financial capability to invest in some cleaning machinery. We analysed their financial standing, developed budgeting templates for them and went through with the company how their upcoming yearly budget will be impacted by their new investment.
Ultimately, as a financial consultant, our goal is to try to help the owners realise their expansion plans, but from a financially realistic and sustainable point of view. To do so, we make an effort to understand the nature of our client’s business on top of conducting our own analysis of their financial standing before making a recommendation.
So while there is a big drive to improve productivity through automation and there is a suite of government schemes to support this, we did not recommend that the cleaning company purchase the cleaning machinery in the end as our analysis found that the cost of investment may outweigh the potential benefits gained.
Our client agreed with our recommendation and was happy that we provided an honest opinion based on an evaluation of their needs. The client also shared that it helped them save money, time and effort which were eventually reinvested in improving their human resource infrastructure to boost productivity.
4) How has being a PMC improved your firm’s growth and expansion plans?
Two of the biggest returns that have helped in our firm’s growth and expansion plans are the,
- invaluable industry knowledge that my firm has gained via working with a variety of clients and
- wonderful network we have fostered with SPRING Singapore, ISCA and with our clients.
You see, being an approved practice management consultant exposes my firm to a wide range of issues and opportunities faced by our clients who hail from differing industries. This invaluable, on-the-ground knowledge we have build up over time will enable us to continually provide quality advice to our clients. The increase in the scope of services provided and visibility gained had enabled us to attract a senior manager and senior auditor from the Big 4 to partner us in delivering the ICV projects.
Furthermore, it is also very satisfying to see that our proposed recommendations are able to help our clients meet their goals. Our firm’s revenue has increased by around 25% compared to prior year‘s financial period.
5) Would you consider joining and encouraging other SMPs to sign up for other ISCA initiatives to boost their productivity?
Certainly, my firm has benefited from adopting ISCA’s initiatives and I would encourage other SMPs to take a look at their suite of productivity projects to see if there is one that suit their needs.
Thank you Mr Eio for taking the time to share your story with us!
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