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INFORMAL SECTOR FINANCIAL
CHALLENGES: A CASE OF
MANUFACTURING INFORMAL SMALL
MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMES), HARARE
Zingwina Moses
Zimbabwe Open University ,(.Faculty of Commerce and Law)
ABSTRACT
The study made an evaluation on the financial challenges in relation to manufacturing informal enterprises
(SMEs) in Harare. The research adopted the mixed research methodology. Primary data collection tools
used were: interviews and surveys. The study’s major finding was that informal small and medium
enterprises were virtually excluded from accessing working capital formal credit from established financial
institutions due to a myriad of challenges, the key challenge being none or inadequate bookkeeping
practices. Furthermore, the study revealed that The informal SMEs contribute significantly over 60% to the
Zimbabwe’s formal economy through various taxes and informal employment. The study recommended
that Ministry of Small and Medium enterprises should provide assistance in form of formal credit basing
on according records kept by informal sector.
KEYWORDS
informal sector ( Smes, financial challenges, formal credit , record keeping
1. INTRODUCTION
Nwabu, Faboyede and Onwuelingo (2015) supported the assertion made by International labour
Organisation (ILO, 2008) that the manufacturing informal SMEs that were used in this study
were those defined as HUEMs (Household Unincorporated Enterprises). The main objectives are
to generate employment and the production of goods and services on a regular basis for a
country’s domestic consumption or exports. A study of SMEs (formal and informal) is therefore
critical given their immense contribution to individual national accounting systems, economic
systems, employment and poverty reduction. Access to formal credit by SMEs is indeed critical,
just like for larger corporate, for capitalization and working capital requirements.
The main purpose of organisations is to maintain proper accounts and a complete set of financial
statements. A comprehensive accounting record keeping system is a key determinant for
sustainable performance of any organisation and enables entrepreneurs to draw up timely
financial reports that reflect sound planning for the future, enhance business performance, aids
access to credit and financial services and invites potential investors (Zotorvie, 2017).
Accounting record keeping practises by SMEs play a vital role is the determination of operational
and financial performance. The informal sector which employs the majority of the economically
active population contributing to the informal economy and informal employment is a serious
challenge to policy makers who lack the requisite data to improve legal, social protection and
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
19
working conditions and productivity in the informal sector activities through regulatory
framework, advocacy, training, access to credit and financial services(Pant and Suwal, 2009).
There is no general or agreed consensus among the academic fraternity regarding the definition
of SMEs that adequately capture all the characteristic facets of SMEs regarding fundamental
issues including size, number of employees, annual turnover, accounting records and business
organisational set up (European Commission, 2008).
According to Howard (2009) failure by small businesses to maintain adequate bookkeeping
records has been the major cause of business failures. Many researchers on SMEs have been
enticed by their immense contribution to the national economies of developed and developing
countries especially in terms of GDP, GNP, employment creation, trade and poverty reduction.
But very few or no researches have focussed on the effects of lack of adequate accounting record
keeping and its impact on formal credit have been made so far . It is therefore upon this and
other previous articulated research gap basis that this study is premised upon.
Argument for the SMEs intrinsic definition is largely perceived as composed of scale of
operation units owned by one or more individuals who do not possess adequate capital, no lines
of credit, lack of access to financial services with lack of cognitive skills who are motivated by
lack of formal alternative employment opportunities(UN, et al 1993).The informal sector
enterprises has been defined by the 15th ICLS in terms of characteristics of production units
(enterprises approach) as opposed to their jobs (labour approach) as private unincorporated
enterprises owned by individuals or household with no accounting systems or procedures that
discloses financial separation of production activities .
Financial records, for example the sales day book (sales journal), purchases day book (purchases
journal), cash receipt book, cheque payments book, petty cash book, general journal, nominal
ledger, debtors’ ledger and creditors’ ledger must be kept and maintained in a sound accounting
system .Bookkeeping is a financial control key tool that makes an accurate reflection of the
financial position and corporate performance displaying decision making information for internal
and external stakeholders (Eric and Gabriel, 2012)
Informal enterprises like formal SMEs and large organisations require access to formal credit for
day to day economic activities (working capital management, purchase of raw materials etc) and
also for investment in machinery and equipment(Floridi et al., 2014). Informal enterprises mainly
rely on personal savings and self financing options which yield marginal benefits (Floridi et al.,
2014), since financial institutions and Development Institutions are reluctant to offer formal
credit to them due to their high degree on informality and also lack of accounting records.
Argument for the SMEs intrinsic definition is largely perceived as composed of scale of
operation units owned by one or more individuals who do not possess adequate capital, no lines
of credit, lack of access to financial services with lack of cognitive skills who are motivated by
lack of formal alternative employment opportunities(UN, et al 1993).The informal sector
enterprises has been defined by the 15th ICLS in terms of characteristics of production units
(enterprises approach) as opposed to their jobs (labour approach) as private unincorporated
enterprises owned by individuals or household with no accounting systems or procedures that
discloses financial separation of production activities .
Accounting information and record keeping is vital for determination of profits and taxation
purposes, since they provide management of all organisations regardless of its size with useful
information for decision making and also for outside stakeholders like financial institutions who
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
20
require the information for access to credit and loan facilities and also tax authority for Income
tax purposes (European Commission (EC), 2008).
UYAR(2010) contends that accounting practices are varied depending on the size of the
organisation and management decision framework, composed of : bookkeeping, budgeting,
planning and control, performance measurement and evaluation, strategic planning
.
2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Cases of informal manufacturing small and medium enterprises ( SMEs ) collapsing as a result
of hosts of challenges chief among them being non funding by government and other developing
partners such as banks are on the increase. How can the informal sector operate without
necessary funding? The purpose of the study was to assesss the effects of financial challenges on
the manufacturing informal Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), during the current Zimbabwe’s
economic growth and employment creation.
2.1 Objectives of the Study
To assess the bookkeeping practices including challenges encountered by the various informal
manufacturing SMEs and their usefulness to external financiers, based on a study of sixty (60)
informal enterprises (SMEs)
2.2 Research Question
Are the record keeping records effective enough to consider when making key decisions by
external financiers on informal SMES in Harare?
3. METHODOLOGY
The population of the study consisted of 60(sixty) members from the informal manufacturing
industry. To identify the root cause of reasons for demise of most informal manufacturing
enterprises, the study employed, the mixed method approach. The study took a purposive
approach to select 45( forty –five) members who participated in the study. An in-depth interviews
that allowed respondents to answer certain questions in order to secure desired information and
surveys were the data collection tools.
4. DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
The study wanted to find out challenges facing the informal sector, chief among them being non
recognition in terms of formal funding . The following results were obtained.
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
21
Table 1: SMEs challenges
Challenges:
Agree
N0t
Sure
Disagree
1. Do you encounter operational challenges? 85% 5% 10%
2. Are the challenges momentary? 90% 2% 8%
3. Are there Capital budgeting challenges? 95% -- 5%
4. Operational Budgets are critical? 60% 5% 35%
5. Working capital is critical for performance? 95% 5% --
(Source : Primary data 2019)
Do SMEs encounter logistical challenges?
The study wanted to establish the logistical challenges faced by SMEs. The following results
were obtained:
Fig 1: Do SMEs encounter logistical financial challenges?
(Source : Primary data 2019)
The majority of customers agreed (60%) that SMEs encounter logistical financial challenges,
with a minority in disagreement (30%) and (10%) strong agreement.
Main challenges for the informal sector provided by the respondents included , non funding by
external financiers, poor or no bookkeeping records, poor budgeting, planning and control, poor
performance measurement and evaluation, Interviews data gathered with the informal sector
players indicated that they were aware of no funding by formal financiers, and requirement that
they prepare and present proper books of accounts. Furthermore, data gathered through surveys
concurs with data collected from interviews. Thus, this shows that the informants were aware of
60%
30%
10%
Do the SMEs encounter logistical
challenges?
Agree Disagree Somewhat Disagree
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
22
major challenges facing them of not being funded by formal financiers such as banks, among
other challenges. The study also wanted to find out if the informal sector in Zimbabwe was
willing to obtain formal credit and prepare proper books of accounts. Interview data gathered
with the informants indicated that were willing to get funding so as to expand in their operations,
but were not willing to prepare proper books of accounts as it was too expensive for them .In
addition , data gathered through surveys concurs with data collected from interviews.
5. FINDINGS
The study revealed that formal credit from Banks and other external financiers require proper
financial statements as a precondition for accessing formal credit, thus it complies with the
understanding at the continental level. The informal sector was not able to prepare proper
bookkeeping records because of the costs involved.
CONCLUSIONS
The study concluded that basic bookkeeping practices and pro-forma financial statements must
be drawn and kept by SMEs, and not necessary based on IFRSs accounting standards, which are
mainly relevant for listed companies, and the results were confirmed statistically.
RECOMMENDATIONS
This study recommends that the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise should provide
assistance in form of formal credit basing on records kept by informal sector.
REFERENCES
1. Eric E. O. Gabriel D. (2012): Challenges of Book Keeping on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises
(SMEs) in KwaebibiremDistrict:The Case of Appex Global (Ghana) Limited. International Journal of
Business and Management Cases Vol. 1 No. 2 pp 1-12
2. European Commission (Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General) (2008): Final Report of the
Expert Group: Accounting System for small enterprises – Recommendations and good Practices.
November 2008Howard, P. (2009). Good Recording Important for Sucessful Business: Angelo State
University
3. Floridi M, Costantini G and Floridi A (2014): Study on various methods for gaining access to aid
credit and developing informal enterprises in Egypt and the Palestinian Territories. Italian
Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4. Howard, P. (2009). Good Recording Important for Sucessful Business: Angelo State University
http://www.worldbank.org/LSMS retrieved on 2 May 2017
5. International Labour Office (2000):Resolution concerning statistics of employment in the
informalsector, adopted by the Fifteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians
(January1993); in: Current International Recommendations on Labour Statistics, 2000
Edition;International Labour Office, Geneva, 2000Publisher Limited.
6. Nwabu O,Faboyede & Onwuelingo A T (2015) Journal Accounting Business and
Management volume 22no 1 (2015) 55-63
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
23
7. Pant D, B; Suwal, R (2009) : Measuring Informal Sector Economic Activities in Nepal.Paper
Prepared for the Special IARIW-SAIM Conference on Kathmandu, Nepal, September 23-26, 2009.
8. Suwal, R (2009) : Measuring Informal Sector Economic Activities in Nepal. Paper Prepared for the
Special IARIW-SAIM Conference on Kathmandu, Nepal, September 23-26
9. UN, IMF, World Bank, OECD, EU (1993) : “System of National Accounts 1993”, New York,
Brussels/ Luxembourg, Paris, Washington DC.
10. UYAR A (2010) :Cost and Management Accounting Practices: A Survey of Manufacturing
Companies. Eurasian Journal of Business and Economics 2010, 3 (6), 113-125.
11. Zotorvie T S J (2017) international Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Science
2017 volume 7 no 7 Issn: 2222-6990
Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3
24

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INFORMAL SECTOR FINANCIAL CHALLENGES: A CASE OF MANUFACTURING INFORMAL SMALL MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMES), HARARE

  • 1. INFORMAL SECTOR FINANCIAL CHALLENGES: A CASE OF MANUFACTURING INFORMAL SMALL MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMES), HARARE Zingwina Moses Zimbabwe Open University ,(.Faculty of Commerce and Law) ABSTRACT The study made an evaluation on the financial challenges in relation to manufacturing informal enterprises (SMEs) in Harare. The research adopted the mixed research methodology. Primary data collection tools used were: interviews and surveys. The study’s major finding was that informal small and medium enterprises were virtually excluded from accessing working capital formal credit from established financial institutions due to a myriad of challenges, the key challenge being none or inadequate bookkeeping practices. Furthermore, the study revealed that The informal SMEs contribute significantly over 60% to the Zimbabwe’s formal economy through various taxes and informal employment. The study recommended that Ministry of Small and Medium enterprises should provide assistance in form of formal credit basing on according records kept by informal sector. KEYWORDS informal sector ( Smes, financial challenges, formal credit , record keeping 1. INTRODUCTION Nwabu, Faboyede and Onwuelingo (2015) supported the assertion made by International labour Organisation (ILO, 2008) that the manufacturing informal SMEs that were used in this study were those defined as HUEMs (Household Unincorporated Enterprises). The main objectives are to generate employment and the production of goods and services on a regular basis for a country’s domestic consumption or exports. A study of SMEs (formal and informal) is therefore critical given their immense contribution to individual national accounting systems, economic systems, employment and poverty reduction. Access to formal credit by SMEs is indeed critical, just like for larger corporate, for capitalization and working capital requirements. The main purpose of organisations is to maintain proper accounts and a complete set of financial statements. A comprehensive accounting record keeping system is a key determinant for sustainable performance of any organisation and enables entrepreneurs to draw up timely financial reports that reflect sound planning for the future, enhance business performance, aids access to credit and financial services and invites potential investors (Zotorvie, 2017). Accounting record keeping practises by SMEs play a vital role is the determination of operational and financial performance. The informal sector which employs the majority of the economically active population contributing to the informal economy and informal employment is a serious challenge to policy makers who lack the requisite data to improve legal, social protection and Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 19
  • 2. working conditions and productivity in the informal sector activities through regulatory framework, advocacy, training, access to credit and financial services(Pant and Suwal, 2009). There is no general or agreed consensus among the academic fraternity regarding the definition of SMEs that adequately capture all the characteristic facets of SMEs regarding fundamental issues including size, number of employees, annual turnover, accounting records and business organisational set up (European Commission, 2008). According to Howard (2009) failure by small businesses to maintain adequate bookkeeping records has been the major cause of business failures. Many researchers on SMEs have been enticed by their immense contribution to the national economies of developed and developing countries especially in terms of GDP, GNP, employment creation, trade and poverty reduction. But very few or no researches have focussed on the effects of lack of adequate accounting record keeping and its impact on formal credit have been made so far . It is therefore upon this and other previous articulated research gap basis that this study is premised upon. Argument for the SMEs intrinsic definition is largely perceived as composed of scale of operation units owned by one or more individuals who do not possess adequate capital, no lines of credit, lack of access to financial services with lack of cognitive skills who are motivated by lack of formal alternative employment opportunities(UN, et al 1993).The informal sector enterprises has been defined by the 15th ICLS in terms of characteristics of production units (enterprises approach) as opposed to their jobs (labour approach) as private unincorporated enterprises owned by individuals or household with no accounting systems or procedures that discloses financial separation of production activities . Financial records, for example the sales day book (sales journal), purchases day book (purchases journal), cash receipt book, cheque payments book, petty cash book, general journal, nominal ledger, debtors’ ledger and creditors’ ledger must be kept and maintained in a sound accounting system .Bookkeeping is a financial control key tool that makes an accurate reflection of the financial position and corporate performance displaying decision making information for internal and external stakeholders (Eric and Gabriel, 2012) Informal enterprises like formal SMEs and large organisations require access to formal credit for day to day economic activities (working capital management, purchase of raw materials etc) and also for investment in machinery and equipment(Floridi et al., 2014). Informal enterprises mainly rely on personal savings and self financing options which yield marginal benefits (Floridi et al., 2014), since financial institutions and Development Institutions are reluctant to offer formal credit to them due to their high degree on informality and also lack of accounting records. Argument for the SMEs intrinsic definition is largely perceived as composed of scale of operation units owned by one or more individuals who do not possess adequate capital, no lines of credit, lack of access to financial services with lack of cognitive skills who are motivated by lack of formal alternative employment opportunities(UN, et al 1993).The informal sector enterprises has been defined by the 15th ICLS in terms of characteristics of production units (enterprises approach) as opposed to their jobs (labour approach) as private unincorporated enterprises owned by individuals or household with no accounting systems or procedures that discloses financial separation of production activities . Accounting information and record keeping is vital for determination of profits and taxation purposes, since they provide management of all organisations regardless of its size with useful information for decision making and also for outside stakeholders like financial institutions who Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 20
  • 3. require the information for access to credit and loan facilities and also tax authority for Income tax purposes (European Commission (EC), 2008). UYAR(2010) contends that accounting practices are varied depending on the size of the organisation and management decision framework, composed of : bookkeeping, budgeting, planning and control, performance measurement and evaluation, strategic planning . 2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Cases of informal manufacturing small and medium enterprises ( SMEs ) collapsing as a result of hosts of challenges chief among them being non funding by government and other developing partners such as banks are on the increase. How can the informal sector operate without necessary funding? The purpose of the study was to assesss the effects of financial challenges on the manufacturing informal Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), during the current Zimbabwe’s economic growth and employment creation. 2.1 Objectives of the Study To assess the bookkeeping practices including challenges encountered by the various informal manufacturing SMEs and their usefulness to external financiers, based on a study of sixty (60) informal enterprises (SMEs) 2.2 Research Question Are the record keeping records effective enough to consider when making key decisions by external financiers on informal SMES in Harare? 3. METHODOLOGY The population of the study consisted of 60(sixty) members from the informal manufacturing industry. To identify the root cause of reasons for demise of most informal manufacturing enterprises, the study employed, the mixed method approach. The study took a purposive approach to select 45( forty –five) members who participated in the study. An in-depth interviews that allowed respondents to answer certain questions in order to secure desired information and surveys were the data collection tools. 4. DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION The study wanted to find out challenges facing the informal sector, chief among them being non recognition in terms of formal funding . The following results were obtained. Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 21
  • 4. Table 1: SMEs challenges Challenges: Agree N0t Sure Disagree 1. Do you encounter operational challenges? 85% 5% 10% 2. Are the challenges momentary? 90% 2% 8% 3. Are there Capital budgeting challenges? 95% -- 5% 4. Operational Budgets are critical? 60% 5% 35% 5. Working capital is critical for performance? 95% 5% -- (Source : Primary data 2019) Do SMEs encounter logistical challenges? The study wanted to establish the logistical challenges faced by SMEs. The following results were obtained: Fig 1: Do SMEs encounter logistical financial challenges? (Source : Primary data 2019) The majority of customers agreed (60%) that SMEs encounter logistical financial challenges, with a minority in disagreement (30%) and (10%) strong agreement. Main challenges for the informal sector provided by the respondents included , non funding by external financiers, poor or no bookkeeping records, poor budgeting, planning and control, poor performance measurement and evaluation, Interviews data gathered with the informal sector players indicated that they were aware of no funding by formal financiers, and requirement that they prepare and present proper books of accounts. Furthermore, data gathered through surveys concurs with data collected from interviews. Thus, this shows that the informants were aware of 60% 30% 10% Do the SMEs encounter logistical challenges? Agree Disagree Somewhat Disagree Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 22
  • 5. major challenges facing them of not being funded by formal financiers such as banks, among other challenges. The study also wanted to find out if the informal sector in Zimbabwe was willing to obtain formal credit and prepare proper books of accounts. Interview data gathered with the informants indicated that were willing to get funding so as to expand in their operations, but were not willing to prepare proper books of accounts as it was too expensive for them .In addition , data gathered through surveys concurs with data collected from interviews. 5. FINDINGS The study revealed that formal credit from Banks and other external financiers require proper financial statements as a precondition for accessing formal credit, thus it complies with the understanding at the continental level. The informal sector was not able to prepare proper bookkeeping records because of the costs involved. CONCLUSIONS The study concluded that basic bookkeeping practices and pro-forma financial statements must be drawn and kept by SMEs, and not necessary based on IFRSs accounting standards, which are mainly relevant for listed companies, and the results were confirmed statistically. RECOMMENDATIONS This study recommends that the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise should provide assistance in form of formal credit basing on records kept by informal sector. REFERENCES 1. Eric E. O. Gabriel D. (2012): Challenges of Book Keeping on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in KwaebibiremDistrict:The Case of Appex Global (Ghana) Limited. International Journal of Business and Management Cases Vol. 1 No. 2 pp 1-12 2. European Commission (Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General) (2008): Final Report of the Expert Group: Accounting System for small enterprises – Recommendations and good Practices. November 2008Howard, P. (2009). Good Recording Important for Sucessful Business: Angelo State University 3. Floridi M, Costantini G and Floridi A (2014): Study on various methods for gaining access to aid credit and developing informal enterprises in Egypt and the Palestinian Territories. Italian Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 4. Howard, P. (2009). Good Recording Important for Sucessful Business: Angelo State University http://www.worldbank.org/LSMS retrieved on 2 May 2017 5. International Labour Office (2000):Resolution concerning statistics of employment in the informalsector, adopted by the Fifteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (January1993); in: Current International Recommendations on Labour Statistics, 2000 Edition;International Labour Office, Geneva, 2000Publisher Limited. 6. Nwabu O,Faboyede & Onwuelingo A T (2015) Journal Accounting Business and Management volume 22no 1 (2015) 55-63 Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 23
  • 6. 7. Pant D, B; Suwal, R (2009) : Measuring Informal Sector Economic Activities in Nepal.Paper Prepared for the Special IARIW-SAIM Conference on Kathmandu, Nepal, September 23-26, 2009. 8. Suwal, R (2009) : Measuring Informal Sector Economic Activities in Nepal. Paper Prepared for the Special IARIW-SAIM Conference on Kathmandu, Nepal, September 23-26 9. UN, IMF, World Bank, OECD, EU (1993) : “System of National Accounts 1993”, New York, Brussels/ Luxembourg, Paris, Washington DC. 10. UYAR A (2010) :Cost and Management Accounting Practices: A Survey of Manufacturing Companies. Eurasian Journal of Business and Economics 2010, 3 (6), 113-125. 11. Zotorvie T S J (2017) international Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Science 2017 volume 7 no 7 Issn: 2222-6990 Economics, Commerce and Trade Management: An International Journal (ECTIJ) Vol. 3 24