SINGAPORE – Mr Kelvin Leong used to spend up to five days a month manually processing payroll records for his employees.

It takes him only an hour now.

The director of Chicken Pie Kitchen and Don Signature Crab, a restaurant specialising in freshly baked chicken pies and seafood dishes, adopted a digital solution for human resources management and payroll.

Using an online platform helps the company manage its payroll, employee attendance, Central Provident Fund records, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore tax compliance and scheduling.

The company started digitalising under the Start Digital initiative last year.

Start Digital, under the SMEs Go Digital programme, provides newly incorporated small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or those that have yet to digitalise with foundational digital solutions to help them start their digitalisation journeys.

Start Digital was launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore in January 2019, and has benefitted more than 37,000 companies since.

The initiative will be extended for three years to 2025, and eligible SMEs will get a fee waiver for the first six months.

“We used to do accounting using Excel spreadsheets but it was painful in the long run, as we had lots of technical challenges – especially because we have a lot of small money transactions as a restaurant,” Mr Leong, 33, told The Straits Times earlier this week.

The company has since switched to a finance and accounting digital solution, which helps the business to compile invoices, purchase receipts, orders and other documents into one single platform, which can be accessed online and even via a mobile application.

“We save 70 to 80 per cent more time compared with when we were doing our business accounting manually,” Mr Leong said.

“As we spend less time on these manual tasks, we can focus more on improving staff welfare, such as getting our staff more health and dental benefits,” he added.

As part of the extended Start Digital initiative, SMEs can choose either one or two foundational digital solutions from among the following categories: sales generation, business efficiency and cyber security. They can also choose to adopt these solutions either concurrently or separately, depending on their business needs.

The solutions are currently offered by five bank and telco partners – DBS Bank, Maybank, OCBC Bank, UOB and Singtel.