The accounts payable management practices of small, medium and micro enterprises in the Cape Metropolis, South Africa

  • Published March 4, 2016
  • Author(s)
  • DOI
    http://dx.doi.org/10.21511/imfi.13(1).2016.07
  • Article Info
    Volume 13 2016, Issue #1, pp. 77-83
  • TO CITE
  • Cited by
    1 articles
  • 1020 Views
  • 834 Downloads

The purpose of this article is to investigate the accounts payable management practices of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the Cape Metropolis. The study is motivated by a lack of research on payable management practices of SMMEs in South Africa. Data are collected from a sample of 200 SMMEs by means of a closed-ended questionnaire and analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
The findings of the study indicate that 70% of the sampled SMMEs purchase only on cash basis. Of the sampled SMMEs, 22% purchase on both cash and credit, while 8% purchase only on credit basis. Of those that purchase on credit, 72% pay their creditors promptly to take advantage of discount facilities. To manage their accounts payable, 52% of the SMMEs use computers. Only 43% settled accounts payable on the last day that the payment is due. The results further indicate that a lack of personnel and time are the main factors that inhibit the SMMEs from managing their accounts payable effectively. The above results suggest that SMMEs are inclined towards purchasing on cash or paying promptly when they purchase on credit, which could indicate that they had a lower bargaining power relative to that of suppliers who may have viewed these entities as risky ventures to which they were reluctant to extend credit terms.
Based on the above findings, this study recommends that the SMMEs decision-makers be educated on the competitive advantages gained by buying on credit, most important of which are improving cash flow and building supplier relationship. In addition, the decision-makers may be trained, perhaps through Government intervention, on how to overcome the factors that inhibit them from managing their accounts payable effectively, by using computers. The Government may also provide guarantees to SMMEs’ suppliers to relax the credit terms extended to these entities.
This study makes several original contributions to literature. It is the first study to investigate the accounts payable management practices of SMMEs in the Cape Metropolis. Entities whose management of accounts payable had up till now been neglected appeared in the prior research to their peril. Secondly, this study provides a unique insight into SMMEs management of their liquidity by focusing on their management of most immediate obligations (accounts payable), which are critical for these entities’ survival given their limited access to finance. The proposed study thus fills the gap in research on the accounts payable management practices employed by SMMEs in South Africa. Although various studies have been published on the accounts payable management practices on SMMEs in other countries, no study was found within the South African context. This study therefore contributes to the debate on the accounts payable management practices of SMMEs in a unique context of South Africa and inspires other researchers to investigate the same in other Metropolis in the country

view full abstract hide full abstract