How UOB SmartBusiness Assisted SMEs At The Peak Of COVID-19
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In the wake of the pandemic, there was a surge of new technological advancements that were adopted by businesses to stay afloat. Due to the new normal of working from home, small businesses invested in new digital tools to digitise their existing manual operations while operating on limited mobility during the lockdowns. 

Getting the right digital solutions with UOB SmartBusiness

As a Beyond Banking initiative, UOB Malaysia introduced SmartBusiness in 2018 to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to adopt the right digital solutions. UOB SmartBusiness enables SME business owners to initiate the digital transition without the manual hassle of managing complicated operational tasks, thus empowering them to focus on their core business models and drive business outcomes efficiently. 

UOB SmartBusiness enables businesses to streamline and digitise specific processes such as accounting, payroll, and business management through a secure and integrated digital solution, as SMEs previously highlighted that making their accounting and HR payroll systems more efficient was a high priority on their digitalisation journey, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Digitising business operations during the pandemic

During the pandemic, most SMEs realised that businesses could resume operations online, thus pushing the need for online sales channels and payment collection mediums. But to develop and enhance their digital capabilities, the cost was a concern for SMEs, as they felt that their existing funds were better used to ensure the survival of their business. Despite government assistance, about 50% of SMEs in Malaysia cited funding as a key hindrance to their digitalisation journey, while 60% were unaware of their financing options. Apart from providing their SmartBusiness platform, UOB Malaysia also linked SMEs to government agencies for much-needed digital grants to help them restructure their loans and provide the necessary capital. 

The SmartBusiness programme then shifted its focus to supporting the digital requirements of SMEs. For example, customers who needed front-end solutions to facilitate contactless transactions and payments were directed to e-commerce platforms that provided them access to point-of-service (POS) terminals and were introduced to online payment systems, pushing SMEs to adapt and alter their business models to adjust to the new business environment brought about by the pandemic. 

Uniting with market-leading digital partners 

SmartBusiness also onboarded five new digital partners that included cloud accounting, e-commerce, POS, and food commerce. These additional platform partners were all market leaders in their respective fields and ensured better reach and availability to all users, no matter where the SMEs were located in Malaysia. These partners also ensured SMEs who chose to adopt new digital solutions were eligible for government grants. 

As of today, the SmartBusiness platform currently has nine partners and is in the process of onboarding additional partners to better serve the SMEs’ digital transformation needs. 

Access to comprehensive digital tools

Additionally, the SmartBusiness platform also provides users with access to a comprehensive complement of digital tools that will allow them to perform operational tasks such as managing purchases, scheduling payments, receiving and organising incoming payments, transaction tracking, inventory overview, and even tax computations. Furthermore, the platform includes a comprehensive Human Resources suite that will centralise employee-related tasks, as well as an automated payroll management system and simple tax filing.


In 2021, the SmartBusiness team launched digital campaigns via social media and webinars to help educate businesses on how to apply for a digital grant from various government agencies, as well as to demonstrate how digitalising their businesses can improve efficiency and generate more revenue. Statistics show how SMEs that choose to undergo the process of digitalisation are likely to see a 30% improvement in productivity and a 30% reduction in time spent on manual administration processes. Through these insights, the campaign generated significant interest in the form of enquiries and usage of the platform in the years 2020-2021. 

The platform is readily available to business owners with a UOB Business Current Account and a subscription to Direct Bank Feed, with paid versions, and is also available for businesses who are looking to access more advanced features. 30-day complimentary trials for various packages are available as well and can be accessed here! Terms and conditions apply. 

UOB SmartBusiness offers all the necessary solutions you need to automate core business processes. To discover more about how their comprehensive range of services can help you forge ahead in your digital transformation efforts, head to their website. 

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