SINGAPORE - A new survey conducted by United Overseas Bank (UOB) Ltd, Accenture plc, and Dun & Bradstreet Corp has found that small businesses across Southeast Asia rely on technology to support operational activities amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the survey, which involved 1,000 small businesses in ASEAN, Thailand had the highest number of responders prioritising technology investments in 2020 at 71%, followed by Indonesia (65%), Vietnam (63%), Singapore (60%), and Malaysia (59%).

According to UOB Head of Group Business Banking Lawrence Loh, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic, business, and social aspects has highlighted the importance of technology to maintain operational sustainability.

"Having had to cope with the disruption to their operations as a result of COVID-19, many of these firms realised quickly that technology can make all the difference to their business," Mr Loh said in an official statement received by, Wednesday (1/7).

"Whether in revising their business models or even transforming their operations, small businesses are responding to the changes brought about by the pandemic by turning to technology to ensure their long-term viability and competitiveness."

Technology, according to the survey, also plays an important role in cash flow management for small businesses in ASEAN, with 81% of the respondents believing that digital solutions are an effective cash flow management method.

"Small businesses that focus on their digital transformation to become more agile and future-proof should see a rapid payback," Accenture Managing Director for Southeast Asia Divyesh Vithlani added.

"These investments in technology will be essential because small businesses are the bedrock for countries in the region and also our growth engine, so the rebound of SMEs post-COVID-19 will be fundamental for a speedy recovery of ASEAN economies." (MS)