Cambodia’s finance sector – once heavily reliant on cash transactions and dominated by a few big players – is in the midst of an exciting transformation with a shift towards greater financial inclusion, technological adoption and a more diverse business environment.

Despite a gloomy global outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), as The Phnom Penh Post reported earlier this year, have projected the Kingdom’s economic growth for 2024 at 6.1 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

This is being fuelled by recovery in the tourism and manufacturing sectors, while inflation is expected to be at three per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

And the Cambodian economy has many reasons for optimism.

One of the most significant recent developments in the Kingdom is the rise of financial inclusion, with a large portion of Cambodia’s population, particularly in rural areas, previously lacking access to traditional banking services.

Enter mobile banking, which is spearheaded by innovative players like Wing Bank.

Through its nationwide network of some 11,000 agents spread across Cambodia, Wing provides easy access to money transfers and bill payments, and also offers savings options.

This has empowered countless Cambodians to actively participate in the formal financial system, boosting economic activity at the grassroots level.

“Wing Bank remains steadfast in our commitment to serving as a trusted partner for all Cambodians and leading the digital banking revolution in the country.

“With a relentless focus on financial innovation and the provision of inclusive financial services, we are well positioned to shape the future of banking in Cambodia as the ‘Bank of the Future’,” Han Peng Kwang, CEO of Wing Bank, tells The Post.

Technology serves as the backbone of this financial revolution. Mobile network penetration, while not yet ubiquitous, has increased markedly, and coupled with user-friendly mobile apps, this has created a platform for convenient and secure financial transactions.

And the the Kingdom’s central ank, the Nantional Bank of Cambodia (NBC), has also been quick to recognise the possibilities, launching the Bakong digital payment system in October 2020.

“In line with the development of financial technology, the National Bank of Cambodia has seized the opportunity to develop payment systems and digital societies through the development of the KHQR Standard System (KHQR) and the Cambodian Securities System (CSS),” said NBC Governor H.E. Dr. Chea Serey at a press conference in July, 2023.

Fintech companies are actively developing innovative solutions, from digital lending platforms for small businesses to online payment gateways for e-commerce ventures, with this tech-driven approach not only fostering financial inclusion, but also paving the way for a more dynamic and efficient business environment.

H.E. Dr. Serey has emphasised the significance of this shift: “Digital payment services have made a significant contribution to improving the financial environment,” she says. 

And with disruptive new technologies charging Cambodia’s business landscape, this is fuelling the need for fully qualified financial professionals to prudently safeguard the fruits of these exciting developments.

Accountants – by safeguarding financial records, adhering to the strictest standards and ensuring tax compliance – minimise errors and legal risks, fostering accuracy and trust.

Their expertise goes beyond bookkeeping, offering valuable insights for strategic financial decisions on investments, resource allocation and overall financial strategy.

This empowers businesses to make informed choices and build trust with stakeholders who rely on transparent financial information.

And CamEd Business School – which specialises in teaching accounting and finance – is ensuring the Kingdom is supplied with fully qualified accountants to guarantee accuracy, compliance and transparency, as well as guide shrewd financial decision-making.

CamEd holds platinum quality recognition from the international Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) based in the UK.

With its Master of Science in Accounting & Finance + ACCA programme, CamEd is meeting the Kingdom’s need for comprehensive professional development by combining academic excellence with internationally recognised ACCA certification.

“Our mission at CamEd is to provide higher education with a focus on business, leading to qualifications of international quality and recognition, tells The Post.

“At CamEd Business School, our vision is to develop a community of business professionals performing on par with those in international business centres, taking initiatives as leaders and upholding ethical standards.

“We empower our students to enhance their academic journey through our exceptional facilities, which have been tailored to maximise their learning outcomes.”

And the positive impacts of such financial developments spill over into to the business sector. 

Increased access to financial services, such as microloans for business expansion, and the expertise provided by internationally accredited accountants means entrepreneurs – especially those in the informal sector – have greater flexibility and confidence in managing their finances. 

This fuels the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are crucial drivers of job creation and economic growth, as the rise of e-commerce platforms creates new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, facilitating online sales and market access.

Through harnessing the power of technology, promoting financial inclusion and fostering a conducive business environment – all backed by fully qualified, internationally accredited financial professionals – the outlook for Cambodia is rightly optimistic.