Financial Literacy for Entrepreneurs

Monday, March 22, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka


Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs) role in the broader economic environment should not be underestimated. The results concerning employment, industry value-added, innovation, and the entrepreneurship culture provided by MSMEs are well-documented worldwide. It is crucial to emphasise that the entrepreneurs and owner-manager of every MSME need to identify, assess and implement fundamental financial decisions for their business. Typically, daily financial decision-making processes in a smaller enterprise are done by owner-managers. Lack of time, resources, and expertise regarding legislative, tax, and financing requirements could hamper their external funding access.

Access to funding is fundamental for every business. MSME owner-managers who are better equipped with knowledge and understanding of external financing options do have an advantage. Every owner-manager needs to identify the mix of debt and equity financing that leads to the lower cost of funding for business operations, with the ultimate goal of maximising the business’s overall value. The future of MSMEs’ funding is based on rapid developments in technology. Entrepreneurs need to take on board the importance of financial and non-financial data, which investors and lenders increasingly use for assessing business-specific risk and overall exposure to the market risk.

Thus, financial, tax, accounting, and business digital footprints data give access to more in-depth information to work with when analyzing MSMEs’ risk exposures. Therefore, owner-managers who are better equipped with knowledge and understanding of investors’ financial arrangements, traditional banks, and alternative finance providers such as FinTechs, NeoBanks, and BigTechs, will have an advantage. Younger generations of future entrepreneurs, who are attending primary and high schools, need to be introduced to basic financial literacy and tax education, making them better prepared to make well-informed and effective decisions when starting their business. This is especially important when the younger generation is exposed to new employment and business opportunities in the so-called “sharing economy,” with numerous online platforms, financial products, and services. This necessitates entrepreneurs to comprehend elementary/basic financial/economic terms, assessable income, tax implications, and minimize their chances of being the victims of tax and financial hoaxes and frauds.

Close collaboration between higher education, K-12, and MSMEs could access the latest ground-breaking research studies, which could potentially prop up owner-managers financial literacy, business growth, and innovation. It could mean bringing new business ideas to life for start-up businesses, as any business venture’s success depends, to a large extent, on how owner-managers source and allocate funds. The K-12 and higher education sectors have to adapt to the ever-changing environment, primarily driven by rapid technological change, age demographics of students, and preferences for study modes. The labour force participation is expected to grow considerably, which means that people will have a career that lasts for 50-60 years. Further, many current job responsibilities will be fully automated in the future. As a result, the future workforce will require a different skill-set.

As a result, government policies worldwide should be aligned in promoting an economic environment in which MSME, higher education, and K-12 sectors foster improved collaboration and engagement in promoting the importance of the finance-structured discovery process and the overall financial literacy entrepreneurs, start-ups, and MSMEs.


Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Senior Lecturer in Finance at the Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce

Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD, serves as the Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is a Senior Lecturer in Finance at the Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She won teaching awards at the University of Sydney Business School and Top Education Institute and was recognised as TOP 20 at the University of Technology Sydney (Business School). She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is Treasurer and Board Member of The Housing Connection, not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain.

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