63% of SMEs fear losing business if they reject corruption, report says

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fear that rejecting bribery and corruption will cost them business, new research from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has revealed.

(FMT) – “Many small businesses don’t have the bargaining power to refuse when bribes are demanded of them.

“Entrepreneurs have to choose between paying up or losing the business – and often that is no choice at all for someone trying to support a family,” ACCA head of tax and business law Jason Piper said.

ACCA said its “Bribery and Corruption: The Hidden Social Evil On Your Doorstep” report showed how bribery and corruption have an effect on SMEs globally, and called for transparency and ethical conduct.

However, it admitted that despite the acknowledged fears, the survey showed a strong understanding of the benefits of standing up to bribery and corruption, with 68% of respondents saying a robust anti-bribery policy increases customer confidence in their business.

Meanwhile, 83% of respondents said such a policy would increase their chances of getting lucrative contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

“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,” ACCA Maritime Southeast Asia portfolio head Andrew Lim said.