Financing Preferences and Capital Structure Among Successful Malaysian SMEs
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The increasing importance of economic contributions of small and medium-sized sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world, especially in developing countries, motivated a better understanding of financial practices among SMEs. Financial support is among the factors affecting the success of SMEs. However, studies on the financial practices among successful SMEs in Malaysia are still limited. An understanding of the financial practices of this particular group of SMEs is essential in developing a supportive financial framework to achieve national agenda for improving SMEs sustainability and increasing the overall SMEs’ contributions to the Malaysian economy.
This research investigates the financial practices among successful SMEs in Malaysia based on the list of Enterprise 50 award winners from 1998 to 2010. This specific database was chosen to serve the objective of this study. Investigations into SME managers’ level of preferences for various sources of financing, and their firms’ capital structure, are the main scope of financial practices under study. Electronic surveys among 444 SMEs were conducted with 120 responses, yielding a response rate of 29.6%.
The results of analyses revealed that retained earnings and banking institutions were the most preferred sources of internal and external financing among SMEs managers. Generally, successful SMEs depend more on debt over equity-sources of financing with Debt-to-Equity ratio (DER) of 57 to 43. Furthermore, managers’ ownership status, highest level of education and level of experience are found to have a statistically significant association with their level of financing preferences. On the other hand, non-debt tax shields, tangibility and liquidity were found to have a statistically significant relationship with a firm’s capital structure. Managers’ levels of financing preferences were also found to be significantly associated with the proportion of their firm’s capital structure. Multivariate analyses revealed that managers’ levels of financing preferences were explained by their ownership status, highest level of education and level of experience, while the proportions of a firm’s capital structure are significantly explained by the manager’s levels of financing preferences. Finally, firms’ capital structures were found to be influenced by non-debt tax shields, tangibility and liquidity.
This research enhances the existing body of knowledge of the financial practices of successful SME in Malaysia, by providing information on managers’ level of financing preferences and firms’ capital structure. This is the first study to focus on investigating the level of financing preferences among managers of SMEs in Malaysia. In addition, the firm’s capital structure was also investigated. This new knowledge will improve understanding and will enable further enhancement of knowledge in this area of financial practices among successful small businesses, in general, and particularly in the case of Malaysian SMEs.
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