The use of budgets by small and medium enterprises in Cape Metropolis, South Africa

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Failure to budget has been identified as one of the main causes of failure of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This study seeks to determine the extent to which SMEs in the Cape Metropolis use budgets. Specifically, the study aims to determine the types of budgets used, methods of budgeting employed, purpose for which budgets are used, perceived effectiveness of budgets used and factors that may inhibit SMEs from using budgets.
Data were collected using a questionnaire and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of this study revealed that most of the SMEs sampled used budgets. The three most frequently used budgets were sales budgets, purchases budgets and cash budgets, while the most frequently used budgeting method was fixed budgeting. The findings also revealed that budgets were mostly used for monitoring, measuring business performance, future planning and control purposes. The findings further revealed that budgets were perceived to be effective but the lack of top management support and qualified personnel were the main factors that inhibit SMEs from using budgets.
This study not only fills the gap in the literature on the use of budgets, but also provides invaluable insights on their use by SMEs. These insights could inform future endeavours of the Government when developing interventions meant to avert the high failure rates of these entities. The findings may also assist SMEs to gauge and review their own use of budgets with a view to optimising the benefits derived from these tools, as well as to overcome the factors that could inhibit them from using the budgets in the first place

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