Kimsophat: Making It Easy, like the name implies, is aimed at facilitating business operations through providing diverse services, especially to foreigners who want to open companies in Cambodia. The main concept is that we have everything that they need once they arrive at our office, especially related to business registration in the country.
KT: What are the main services provided to your target market?
Kimsophat: First of all, we specialise in assisting our clients open legitimate companies. We deal with all types of documents, processing them at all ministries. We also provide maintenance services such as accounting and corporate taxation. Also, because we serve foreign clients, we provide immigration services in order for them to reside and do business legally in Cambodia.
KT: With Cambodia being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the worst economic crises in modern history, many companies are complaining about loss of income. How has business been doing at MIE?
Kimsophat: Certainly, we have been affected. COVID-19 is a global problem. Because we deal with opening new companies and our target clients are foreigners, we have been feeling the struggle. Since Cambodia was hit by the pandemic, almost no new companies [have opened]. Instead, many companies are changing their business model or closing. To make it worse, most of our clients cannot leave their countries for Cambodia [because of] travel restrictions.
KT: What have you been doing to survive in such a situation?
Kimsophat: We have survived until today thanks to other maintenance services that we provide, including accounting documentation and taxation, which our clients need to get done every month. Secondly, we are assisting our clients with changes in their companies such as the changing of addresses and so on. I also earn income from renting small offices in my building to other companies.
KT: Have you been seeing the emergence of local startups during these times?
Kimsophat: In the past several years, we have witnessed great interest in starting businesses among our young people. Before the pandemic, we were seeing the emergence of local companies, yet the trend appears to have slowed down during this time. However, businesses related to information technology and deliveries appear to be thriving amid the pandemic.
KT: Are you thinking about changing your target market since the number of foreigners who come to Cambodia has dramatically declined?
Kimsophat: Strategically, we are not shifting our market, but currently we have to adjust to the pandemic. Now, our marketing content is created in Khmer so that we can attract more local clients. It takes us about half a year to change our pricing to fit this new market so we can compete with other entities already specialised in working with local clients. So far, I believe that our Cambodian clientele has jumped to 30 percent [of our total] while before it was only about 10 percent.
KT: Taxation is the main source of government revenue, but still some local companies do not know how to do it properly and thus face penalties. Who do you think should be responsible for correcting this?
Kimsophat: [Because] the law on taxation is enforced by the General Department of Taxation, it should be the GDT who should educate the people on how to pay their taxes correctly to avoid penalties. The National Tax School is part of the GDT and that is where tax experts are trained. In addition, NTS has organised workshops on the issue. However, the training on tax is not available to everyone so I think it would be great if the institution brought its lectures and documents online, especially on social media.
KT: Between companies doing business registrations themselves or hiring an agency to do it for them, which option do you think is better?
Kimsophat: If they try to do it themselves, it could cost them lots of time while they are still facing the risk of errors. The work is a very complicated process and requires special training for effectiveness and efficiency. To avoid the headache, I believe they should hire experts to do the work for them. Seeking consultation with a specialised company such as Making It Easy is very important. Business registration requires cautious preparation and even if business owners complete the registration process, they still need proper maintenance for business to go smoothly and avoid penalties. These [elements] are what we provide.
KT: Do many businesses provide similar services to yours?
Kimsophat: There were quite [a lot] of them before the pandemic, but the standards are definitely not the same. As a consultation company, we focus on both processing and avoiding all of the potential problems that can happen. Some companies focus only on the process and ignore the penalties business owners could face. We are not one of those. We do not call a job complete until everything is smooth. However, no agency can do it perfectly. The nature of the work depends on other factors related to business owners, such as the information they provide. At our firm, we keep checking with the business owners and start solving any problem immediately when it is in sight.
KT: How do you deal with a problem when it happens?
Kimsophat: We always follow the law first. We try to produce the documents, references and explanations asked for by the GDT and we ask for help from our clients when we need to.