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Research: 63% Of SMEs In Asia Pacific Believe They’ll Lose Biz Opportunities If They Go Against Bribery & Corruption

Research: 63% Of SMEs In Asia Pacific Believe They’ll Lose Biz Opportunities If They Go Against Bribery & Corruption

New research from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) reveals the extent of concern over impact of bribery and corruption on SMEs.

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A new ACCA report, Bribery and corruption: The hidden social evil on your doorstep, delves into the true extent of how bribery and corruption impact SMEs across the world, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced transparency and robust regulatory frameworks.

The research shows a high prevalence and deep concerns about the damaging impact of bribery and corruption on SMEs, with 63% of SMEs and their advisers believing that standing up to bribery and corruption will cost them business trade or opportunities.

But the survey also reveals a strong understanding of the benefits of standing up to bribery and corruption. 68% agree that having a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence in their business, and 83% say it increases their chances of getting lucrative contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

Jason Piper, ACCA’s Head of Tax and Business Law said, “Corruption is a poison; it distorts markets, stunts economic growth, and deters investment.”

“Many very small businesses don’t have the bargaining power to refuse when small bribes are demanded of them. Entrepreneurs have to choose between paying the bribe or losing the business – and often that is no choice at all for someone trying to support a family.”

“Our report aims to arm businesses and regulators with the necessary insights and tools to root out corruption and foster an environment of transparency and trust. This could include the use of the latest digital tools. Just as technology is being used by criminals, so regulators and enforcement agencies should embrace it in the battle to detect, prevent and respond to them.”

Andrew Lim, Portfolio Head, ACCA Maritime Southeast Asia said, “Bribery and corruption continue to pose significant challenges for SMEs in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. It is crucial for businesses to uphold their integrity while thriving in a competitive market. By fostering a culture of transparency and ethical conduct, SMEs can navigate these challenges and build a more robust and fair business environment.”

Drawing from a broad spectrum of global data, expert opinions, and real-world case studies, the report explores the multifaceted impacts of corrupt practices on SMEs and economic development. It highlights the severe consequences that businesses can face, including legal penalties and severe damage to their reputations.

The report also considers the effectiveness of current anti-corruption laws and policies across different countries, suggesting that while some progress has been made, much remains to be done to align international efforts.

Piper added, “As global markets become increasingly interconnected, the imperative for accountability and ethical business practices becomes more pronounced.”

ACCA hopes this report will serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging entities across all sectors to evaluate their practices and align with the best standards of business conduct.

The report is recommended for business leaders, policymakers, and regulatory bodies worldwide committed to uprooting corruption and fostering a fairer business environment.

Read the full report here.

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