Document Type

Thesis

Publication details

Nguyen, KM 2001, 'Financial management and profitability of small and medium enterprises', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright KM Nguyen 2001

Abstract

After a decade of reforming policy, building and developing the multi-sector market economy, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam have developed strongly and contributed to creating employment, increasing GDP, and raising the nation’s volume of exports. However, SMEs have found difficulties on the way to development due to lack of management experience and financial resources, and due to uncertainty within the business environment. As a result, SMEs often faced obstacles during their operations. This thesis examines the relationship between financial management and profitability of SMEs to determine whether financial management practices and financial characteristics impact on SME profitability.

Objectives of the thesis are (1) to investigate and describe features of financial management practices and financial characteristics of SMEs in Vietnam, (2) to develop and test a model of SME profitability, and (3) to contribute knowledge of the relationships between financial management and characteristics to improve SME profitability by using tools of efficient financial management.

In terms of structure, the thesis has six chapters. The thesis begins by defining the research problem and questions, and providing a justification for the research study. Chapter one also reviews the research background, and presents definitions of terms, significance and scope of the study. Chapter two examines the economic background, business structure and the development of SMEs in Vietnam. This chapter also reviews previous research related to financial management for SMEs in Vietnam to identify gaps between financial management for SMEs in Vietnam and financial management for SMEs worldwide.

Chapter three reviews financial management including financial management practices, financial characteristics and profitability of SMEs around the world, especially in the developed economies such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia and Canada. This review emphasizes profitability and the impact of financial management practices and financial characteristics on SME profitability. Objectives of this chapter are to review previous research related to the areas of financial management practices, financial characteristics, and profitability of SMEs and to build a model of the impact of financial management practices and financial characteristics on SME profitability.

Chapter four discusses aspects of the research methodology including research design, data collection and data analysis methods, and hypothesis testing to support the model. Objectives of this chapter are: (1) to justify the research methodology of this study, (2) to explain research methodology used in the study, and (3) to demonstrate how research design, and data collection and analysis can be utilized in this study to answer the research questions outlined in the chapter 1.

Data analysis and findings are presented in chapter five. This chapter presents descriptive findings of financial management practices, financial characteristics and SME profitability and findings of the research study related to testing the model of SME profitability. Objectives of this chapter are (1) to systematically present the descriptive findings of the research study, (2) to interpret significance of these findings based on data analysis, (3) to present the results of testing the model of SME profitability, and (4) to explain how the model, developed from a literature review, was supported by data analysis. Finally, the thesis ends with chapter six where conclusions are summarized and applications of the research findings are indicated for the financial management practitioners.

The thesis provides descriptive findings of financial management practices and financial characteristics and demonstrates the simultaneous impact of financial management practices and financial characteristics on SME profitability. In addition, the research study provides a model of SME profitability, in which profitability was found to be related to financial management practices and financial characteristics. With the exception of debt ratios, all other variables including current ratio, total asset turnover, working capital management and short-term planning practices, fixed asset management and long-term planning practices, and financial and accounting information systems were found to be significantly related to SME profitability.

With the findings as presented above, this research study provides many implications for financial management practices and contributes to knowledge of financial management of SMEs. The model of SME profitability can be used as guidance for actions to improve the profitability of SMEs in Vietnam.

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