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The major purpose of this study was to determine accounting skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises as perceived by accounting officers in Enugu State. Specifically, cash book skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises; ledger account skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises; journal account skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises; bank reconciliation statement skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises; final accounts skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises. Five research questions and five null hypotheses were formulated in line with the objectives to guide the study. Related literature and some empirical studies were reviewed. The study adopted survey research design and was conducted in both tertiary institutions and banks in Enugu State. The sample for the study comprised 71 respondents, made up of 48 accounting lecturers and 23 accountants in commercial banks drawn from both tertiary institutions and banks in Enugu State, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire made up of 48-items was developed from the literature. The structured questionnaire was face validated by three experts. The instrument was pilot tested at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Twenty copies of the validated instrument were administered to 10 accounting lecturers and 10 accountants in commercial banks. Cronbach Alpha method was used to determine the reliability of the items and a coefficient of 0.85 was obtained. The structured questionnaire was administered on 71 respondents by the researcher with the help of two trained research assistants. All the copies of the questionnaire were retrieved and analyzed using the mean and standard deviation, while real limit of highly required, 3.50 – 4.49, required 2.50 – 3.49, slightly required 1.50 – 2.49, not required 0.50 – 1.49, while t-test was used to test the hypotheses. The findings of the study revealed that majority of entrepreneurs require the accounting skills to manage their enterprises effectively. One of the disclosures of the null hypotheses showed that there was no significant difference in the mean responses of the respondents on accounting skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprise in Enugu, State. Therefore, for entrepreneurs to manage their enterprises effectively, they require the following accounting skills: cash book skill, ledger account, journal account, bank reconciliation, and final account skills. It was recommended that [federal and state] both should organize seminars, conferences and workshops to educate both present and intending entrepreneurs on the need to acquire the accounting skill for appropriate management of the business enterprises.
Background of the Study
The current levels of unemployment in Nigeria coupled with the concern of insufficient job vacancies available in the world of work makes engagement in entrepreneurship more appealing opportunity to graduates and other school leavers. Entrepreneurship deals with the process of recognizing a business opportunity as well as operating and maintaining that business. It is the willingness and ability of an individual to seek out investment opportunities, establish and run an enterprise successfully. Osuala (2009) defined entrepreneurship as the ability to set up a business enterprise as different from being employed. Osuala (2009) maintained that entrepreneurship helps to develop a pool of potential entrepreneurs who are well equipped with skills and technical know-how to manage small and medium scale industries. Entrepreneurs are the owners and managers of business enterprises.
Furthermore, According to Merrian-Webster (2012), a small scale business enterprise (SSBE) is usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood by people who operate them. Business enterprises are of different sizes and capacities and are classified as micro, small, medium, or large scale business enterprises. However, this study is interested in small scale business enterprises. There is no single uniformly acceptable definition of small scale business enterprises. This is because businesses differ in their levels of capitalization, sales, and employment (Storey, 1994). However, the first attempt to overcome this definition problem was by the Bolton Committee (1971) when they formulated an “economic” and a “statistical” definition. Under the economic definition, a firm is regarded as small if: it has a relatively small share of their market place, it is managed by owners or part owners in a personalized way, and not through the medium of a formalized management structure, and it is independent, in the sense of not forming part of a large enterprise. Small enterprises have been variously defined, but the most commonly used criterion is the number of employees of the enterprise. In applying this definition, confusion often arises in respect of the arbitrariness and cut off points used by the various official sources. What constitutes small scale business enterprises varies from country to country. For instance, Ekwe and Abuka (2014) noted that the United States and the Europe generally use same threshold of fewer than 10 employees for small businesses, whereas a small business for Canadians is one with fewer than 100 employees or fewer than 50 employees (if the business is service-based). Ekwe and Abuka added that somewhere in Australia and Israel, a business is considered small if it has between three to fifteen workers and not more than 50 employees respectively.
On the other hand, Planhollz and Flamholt (2000) defined small scale business enterprise as a business entity in which one person is the owner. This business, the author continued, may employ few or more people but there is one owner who takes either the profit or loss accruing form the business. Robert (2024) in his definition sees small business as being independently owned and operated with small capitalization which come from an individual or few individuals and cannot command high market share. The author further stated that, small business can hardly be defined based on number of employee, for this will not have universal application, for the number varies from countries to countries. For instance UK is 100 employees, USA is 400 employees, 250 employees in the European Union and fewer than 200 employees in Australia and Nigeria is 50 employees. Osize (2006) see small business enterprise as one which is owned, managed and controlled by one or two persons. According to the author, the family of the owner of the business has influence in the decision making of the business. The business most times has an undifferentiated organizational structure with a relatively small share of the market and employs less than 50 people.
In the case of Nigeria, hardly does one see a clear-cut definition that distinguishes between small and medium scale enterprises. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its monetary policies circular No. 22 of 1988, view small scale industry as those enterprises which have annual turnover not exceeding 500,000 naira (CBN, 1988). The CBN later defined small enterprises in Nigeria, according to their asset base and number of staff employed. The criteria are an asset base between N5 million and N500 million, and a staff strength between 11 and 300 employees. From the foregoing discourse, there is evidence that each nation sets her parameter for the definition of small businesses, according to her economic development indices such as her poverty level, standard of living, or even the unemployment rate. In this research, the CBN’s definition of small businesses will not entirely apply since most entrepreneurs of small businesses may not boast of asset base of between N5 million and N500 million following prevailing economic situations and unemployment rate. Therefore, small businesses in this work are any business outfit with two to fifty workers with asset base of between 500,000 and 1000,0000 naira and that registered with Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Small scale businesses are one of the chief drivers of any economy. Ekwe and Abuka (2014) noted that small scale businesses are believed to be the engine room for the development of any economy because they form the bulk of business activities in a growing economy like Nigeria. According to Mukaila (2011), small scale enterprises contribute to improved living standards, bring about substantial local capital formation, achieve high level of productivity, and the creation of jobs at relatively low capital cost, especially in the fast growing service sector. Belal (2013) recorded that SSBE are vehicles for the reduction of income disparities thus developing a pool of skilled or semi-skilled workers as a basis for the future industrial expansion, improve forward and backward linkages between economically, socially and geographically diverse sectors of the economy. SSBE offer excellent breeding ground for entrepreneurial and managerial talent to thrive. However, no matter the scale of any business, its success or failure depends on its operators’ management capabilities.
Management is a term used in describing the activities which involve organizing of human and material resources in other to achieve the organizational goal. According to Microsoft Encarta (2009), management in business means the techniques and expertise of efficient organization, planning, direction, and control of the operations of a business. Osuala (1995) defined management as the organizing, planning and controlling of business activities and the leading of people so that the use of materials, men and equipment result in the efficient achievement of planned objectives. It is the process of achieving an organization goal through the coordinated performance of specific functions which Osuala (1995) referred to as the classic management functions. The classic management functions include: Planning and deriving both short-range and long-range plans for the organizations and setting goals to help achieve the plan, Organizing or deciding how to use resources such as people and materials, Staffing, or hiring and training workers, Directing, or guiding employees perform their work in a way that support the organizations goals, Controlling or motivating the organization progress towards reaching its goals. In the same vein, Osuala (2006) identified management incompetence as one of the specific reasons for small business failure this is due to managers’ inability to have the perquisite management skills needed in running small business enterprises.
Management skills are skills required by entrepreneurs for starting, developing and managing an enterprise. They include skills in decision making, control and negotiation, which are essential in creating and growing a new business venture Anyakoha (1995) identified some important management skills required by the entrepreneurs to successfully establish and manage a business enterprise to include ability to: set appropriate business goal, plan effectively for good attainment, organize resources (human and materials) for goal attainment, implement plans for goal attainment evaluate all activities/operations on the process of goal attainment and make appointment use of feedback.
Osuala (2006) emphasized that the management skills of small business can be learnt as manages are not born but made. The author further maintained that the valuable skills of management errors can be eliminated by education. In this work, management skills are the skills for utilizing available resources (time, money, and people) so as to achieve the business project aims (profits). These management skills include: proper plan, adequate decision making, good staffing and quality control among others. The management skills which can be interchangeably refer to entrepreneurial skills is essential for the success of any business venture (small, medium or large).
Skill is the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience. It is the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in execution or performance of learned task (Oladipo, 2005). Business organizations do not operate in isolation because there are still other similar businesses and as a result, the business faces market competition (Oladipo A. 2005). It can only stand the competitions through its human resources. The entrepreneur will need interpersonal and managerial skills to enable him survive and progress in the business. Entrepreneurial skills are simply business skills which individuals acquire to enable them effectively function in the turbulent business environment as an entrepreneur or self-employed (Ademiluyi, 2007). Erhurum (2007) also noted that most entrepreneurial skills come by learning and practicing. Akinola (2001) pointed out that it takes special skills to succeed as an entrepreneur. These special skills include accounting skills. Of all the entrepreneurial skills, accounting skill seems to be one of the most pivotal.
Accounting is a central factor in the survival of any business because it informs the owners/managers and other stakeholder of the business about what is happening in the business. This may be why Ekwe and Abuka (2014) asserted that accounting is the language of business. The authors indicated that accounting provides information to a wide range of interest groups and ultimately shows how a business has been managed for a period, whether successfully managed or otherwise. According to Osuala (2009), the knowledge of fundamental accounting is very imperative for sustainable business. Accounting is the effective recording and reporting of financial resources in business organization. It is the activity, practice or profession of maintaining business records of a person or an organization, and preparing reports of financial transactions (Meyer, 2009). One of the primary functions of accounting is to measure and communicate the financial results and positions of the business (Sowden Service, 2007). The traditional function of financial reporting is to provide business owners with information about the businesses that they own and operate. There are three all-important documents for financial reporting in accounting: (i) the balance sheet which provides information about the organization’s assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity as of a particular date such as the last day of the accounting or fiscal period; (ii) the income statement (prepared for a well-defined time interval, such as three months or one year) summarizes the enterprise’s revenues, expenses, gains, and losses; and (iii) other financial statements which provide information not otherwise available in either an income statement or a balance sheet (Meyer, 2009).
The Nigerian Small Business Practitioners Association (NSPA) (2007) enumerated the objectives of accounting information and statement to include the following: to provide information useful for making decisions, to yield an accurate and true picture of operating results, to supply information useful in judging management’s ability to utilize enterprise goals, to provide information useful to investigate and evaluating potentials cash flow to them in terms of amount, timing and related uncertainty, to provide users with information for predicting comparing and evaluating enterprise earning power, to permit prompt filing or report to tax collecting agencies and to reveal all possible employee frauds, wastes thefts and record keeping errors. With basic accounting knowledge and skills an entrepreneur should be able to prepare and interpret his/her financial statement. He should be able to keep and maintain records of receipt and payment (cash book) income and expenditure and a balance sheet for the business.
Agbonifoh (1999) advised that the need of modern business makes it essential for all managers (entrepreneurs) to have sound appreciation of financial implications for their plans and actions. The author went further to explain that in the competitive world, the key factors are costs, prices, turnover and profits. These are accounting factors, which no manger can ignore. Therefore, it is very important for every entrepreneur to possess the basic or fundamental knowledge and skills of accounting. It is expected that managers should be able to appreciate and interpret simple accounting statements. This can be very possible and effective when an entrepreneur possesses the required accounting skills.
Accounting skills are skills that are necessary for keeping the financial update of a business whether in gains or in losses. According to Onoh (2011), accounting skills are those competencies required by a person to function competently, confidently and successfully in the process of carrying out one’s function of recording daily business transactions. These accounting skills include: skills in book-keeping, purchasing and supply, bargaining, determining labour costs, simple budgeting, keeping of accurate receipts, reliable sales record keeping skills, sourcing for market outlets, work in progress records, credit purchases, invoices, cheque payments, keeping customers’ records, skills in good credit facility practices, operating the cash payment receipts, cash sales, prudent financial and working capital management and goods inventory (Onoh, 2011; Ekwe & Abuka, (2014). Igbo (1995) as quoted by Akpotowoh (2005) identified some of the accounting and financial skills required by entrepreneur in business to include: knowledge of account, knowledge of cost, ability to interpret financial statements, ability to acquire the skill of preparing financial statement, ability to understand patrol and various deductions, ability to know gross and net profit, Ability to know sources of funds, ability to know how to obtain loans, a knowledge of federal, state and local government levies, taxes and regulation and acknowledge of factors involved in decision to grant by financial houses. In this work, these skills can be conveniently grouped or classified as cash book skills, ledger skills, journal skills, bank reconciliation statement skills and final account skills which are the focus of this study for the successful operation of small scale business by entrepreneurs.
Cash book is an important book of original entry which a business entrepreneur requires to operate his business effectively. Lorge and Lazeem (2012) defined cash book as the book for recording detailed particulars of all money received and paid. It is regarded as a book of original entry because all items of transaction carried out in cash basis pass through the cask book first before they are transferred to other books of account. In this work, cash book may be defined as the book for recording receipt, payment and transactions with cheques in a business organization. It contains the name of the operator or entrepreneur, date, particular, folio, and amount in both debit and credit sides just like ledger. Any transaction on credit must not appear in cask book.
Ledger book is one of the essential books of account an entrepreneur needs for effective running of his business. Ledger is a book which contains in classified and summarized form, a permanent record of all transactions (Longe and Kazeem, 2002). Agboh (2007) pointed out that ledger is the chief and most important; hence known as the principal book of account. The ledger is the final destination of all transactions in the subsidiary books. In this work, ledger can be defined as a principal book of account where all items of transactions in business organization are recorded permanently in a summarized form. The ledger is divided into two major classes; which are personal ledger for transaction of individual or that of other businesses and impersonal ledger accounts for recording of income and expenses. Different types of ledger most business entrepreneurs use are: sales ledger, for customers’ personal accounts, purchases ledger for suppliers’ personal accounts, and general ledger for expenses, non-current assets, and capital (Frank Wood and Sangser, 2012). The ledgers are the major accounting books prepared in such a way as to serve for checking fraud and for other control purposes.
Journal book is another book of account an entrepreneur requires in the business operation. The journal is a book of original entries or prime entries which recorded transactions in chronological order (i.e. the day to day recording of transactions arranged according to when something happened) (Longe and Kazeem, 2012). In this work, journal can be referred to as a daily record into which transactions on credit are entered before they are posted to ledgers in a business organization. Journal has columns for date, particulars, folio, debit and credit. The entries are recorded and explained to show the nature of the transactions.
Bank Statement is the book the bank prepares showing the transactions between it and the customer (Lorge and Kazeem, 2012). The issue of bank statement arises when the balance of the cash book does not agree with the balance on bank statement due to certain reasons. When there is a difference between the balances, then there is need for reconciliation. So, bank reconciliation statement can be defined as a statement that is prepared to reconcile the disagreement of the cask book and that of bank statement (Longe and Kazeem, 2012). In this book, bank reconciliation statement can be defined as a statement prepared to correct the differences between the balance in cash book and the balance in bank statement. The reconciliation is necessary in order to test the accuracy of the postings in the cask book by reconciling the balance of the cask book with that of the bank statement. Information differences which can cause disagreement in the balances are: unpresented cheque, uncredited cheque, dishonoured cheque, bank charges and interest, dividend, errors by bank etc. So, the entrepreneur requires skills in bank reconciliation statement to enable him to reconcile the differences with the bank and records of his cask book whenever the need arises.
Final account is a term used to refer to statements produced at the end of accounting periods, such as the income statement and statement of financial position (Frank wood and Alan Songster, 2012). Longe and Kazeem (2012) stated that final account consists of: (a) trading account, (b) profit and loss accounts (c) balance sheet.
- Trading account looks at the difference between the sales and the cost of goods sold. It is prepared to show the gross profit or gross loss for the period. Trading account is also prepared to conform to the rules of double entry. Since it contains the result of operation of a business over a period, the heading should be trading, profit and loss for the year ending.
- The profit and loss account is the account that shows the net profit or net loss of a business organization.
Agboh (2007) opined that, it is the determination of the actual profit or loss of the business that qualifies the result in term of either net profit or net loss. In the preparation of the profit and loss account, the gross profit or loss is brought down; after the deduction of administrative, office, selling and distribution expenses are charged against the gross profit. This is followed by balancing of account to arrive at the real profit or net loss, as the case may be by the transactions of the entrepreneur.
- Balance sheet is the final aspect of the final account. Balance sheet can be defined as the statement that shows the preparation of the summary of assets and liabilities in a well arranged form, so that the financial position may be clearly ascertained. Balance sheet is not an account; it is a statement showing the balance remaining in the books.
The benefits of accounting skills to entrepreneurs are enormous. Accounting skills will enable the entrepreneurs to keep appropriate books of accounts in the course of the business. The knowledge of accounting skills will help the entrepreneurs to prepare these books of accounts correctly as at when due in transaction of his business. Account skills will enable him to transact business on credit bases without stress or loss. The knowledge of accounting skills will help the entrepreneurs to treat the business as a separate entity from the owner. Accounting skills enable the entrepreneurs to determine the profit or loss in their business transactions. The knowledge of account skills will enable the entrepreneurs to prepare and present his financial statement of account at end of the year.
Given the above benefits and importance of accounting skills, it becomes imperative that the small business mangers look for a way of acquiring accounting skills especially from the experts in tertiary institutions (accounting lecturers) and professional accountants in commercial banks who are the major players in accounting system. Accounting lecturers and professional accountants constitute the experts in this discourse. The lecturers are drawn from Public Universities in Enugu State which includes University of Nigeria Nsukka, and Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Enugu. The accounting lecturers in these institutions are experienced academics and professionals while the accountants are professional in commercial banks. These experts are the resource persons and respondents of the present research.
It has been worrisome that despite the emphasis placed on the small scale businesses by all the three level of government, many of the small business operators still seems to be performing below expectation or even closing shops within five years of inception. This might be as a result of poor financial management practices which can arise from lack of accounting skills. It is against this backdrop that the researcher decided to determine the accounting skills required by entrepreneur for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Statement of the Problem
It is the belief all over the world that whether small, medium or large business will help government in job creation to reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty. It is also expected that businesses especially small scale business will contribute to the gross domestic product of any country through their product. Every year, Nigeria government at the federal, state and local levels through their budgetary allocations, policies and pronouncements have signified interest and acknowledgement of the crucial role of small business enterprises in the economy of the country or the state. Similarly the government equally organizes seminars, conferences, and workshops on the relevance of small scale business in the job creation, poverty alleviation and general development of the country.
However, Small scale business enterprises in Nigeria and Enugu state in particular, have not in any way performed effectively these global notions about business. Hence, these small businesses have not played the expected vital role in the economic growth and development of the state. These situations have been of great concern to the government, citizenry, operators, practitioners and the organized private sector. The situation is more disturbing and worrisome due to the fact that able-bodied youth, men and women who would have become young entrepreneurs fail in their businesses not because of not having adequate capital and machine to remain in the business but may be as a result of not having the requisite accounting skills to grow and remain in the business. Hence, they have resorted to menial jobs like “Okada, “Keke Napep” and criminal activities to earn a living. Such prevailing criminal activities include: Kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy among others.
Finally, it has been over the media that small scale businesses collapse as a result of the operators in ability to make profit which is the main aim of any business. Of course, the belief that accounting is the language of a business implies that the failure and success of any business should depend on the level of accounting skills possessed by the operator. The incessant collapse of small scale business in Nigeria, in general and Enugu State in particular may not be unconnected with the level of accounting skills possessed or not possessed by the small scale business entrepreneurs. There is, therefore, the need to find out the requisite accounting skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State so as to ensure continuity.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to determine the accounting skills required by entrepreneurs for the management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State. Specifically, the study sought to determine the accounting skills required by entrepreneurs:
- cash book skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises;
- ledger account skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises;
- journal account skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises;
- bank reconciliation statement skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises;
- final accounts skills for effective management of small scale business enterprises.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of great benefit to the following: entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers and students of business education, centers for entrepreneurial development and curriculum planners.
The findings of the study would help small scale business entrepreneurs to improve on the method of record keeping based on cash book, journals, posting ledger, reconciling of bank statement and preparation of final accounts for effective management of business enterprises to enhance profits making.
The findings of the study would also assist teachers of business education at all levels to improve on the teaching and learning of topics that relate to business management. This will improve their knowledge, skills, and attitude in book keeping and accounting.
The students of business educations in the various institutions in Enugu state will understand the importance of accounting principles and prerequisite advantage for establishing of a successful venture. Through the effective teaching and learning of their accounting skills, the student would acquire the basic accounting skills that will assist them in managing their own business or as employees
Researchers will find the findings of this study important since the findings if published will provide qualitative reference materials for the related researches. The findings will help the researchers in the literature review and in discussion of their own findings. The findings will be of immense benefits to curriculum planners in their regular curriculum review and update. It will help them to include the necessary accounting skills that will enable one to establish he/her own business upon graduating from school. The curriculum planners would also includes in their curriculum the necessary methods and techniques for teaching the accounting students skills.
Finally, the findings of this study if published would stimulate the centres for entrepreneurial development to add or stress about accounting skills in their programmes. It will enable them to emphasize on their activities the importance of having skills especially by young entrepreneurs.
The following research questions are posed to guide the study:
- What are the cash book skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State?
- What are the ledger account skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State?
- What are the journal account skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State?
- What are the bank reconciliation statement skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State?
- What are the final accounts skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State?
The following null hypotheses formulated to guide this study were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
Ho1: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of accounting lecturers and accountants in commercial banks on cash book skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of accounting lecturers and accountants in commercial banks on the ledger account skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of accounting lecturers and accountants in commercial banks on the journal account skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Ho4: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of accounting lecturers and accountants in commercial banks on the bank reconciliation statement skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Ho5: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of accounting lecturers and accountants in the commercial banks on final account skills required by entrepreneurs for effective management of small scale business enterprises in Enugu State.
Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to identification of accounting skills required by entrepreneurs of small business enterprises in Enugu State. The study will focus on the cash book skills, journal skills, bank reconciliation statement skills, final accounts, and ledger skills, required by the entrepreneurs of small business enterprises. The study solicits the opinion of accounting lecturers and accountants in commercial banks to accomplish the objectives of the study.