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ASSESSING BOOKKEEPING PRACTICES OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES
Nigeria’s economy is characterized by a large number of micro enterprises, and in between lie small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The unique feature of most SMEs is that, they can be easily established since their requirement in terms of capital, technology; management and even utilities are not as demanding as it is the case of large enterprises. Consequently, small enterprise sector is one of the leading employers (next only to peasant agriculture) in Nigeria and has been recognized as significant sector in employment creation, income generation, poverty alleviation and a base for industrial development. It is estimated that there are over 30 million enterprises in the sector employing between 15 to 16 million people. Despite the enormous potential of the private sector, poor record keeping is identified as a constraint hampering its growth in Nigeria. Businesses are unable to keep track of daily activities and banks are unwilling to lend to SMEs all due to lack of financial information. Hence, this study seeks to investigate whether SMEs practice bookkeeping or not, and the contributions of bookkeeping to the growth of SMEs in the Uyo in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The study considered a total population of 450 comprising SMEs, 15 Banks as well as SMEDAN office in the Local Government Area. Out of this figure, a simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 136 for the study. Analysis was carried out with the SPSS and E-views software using the chi-square test at 0.05 level of significance. From the findings of the study, it was revealed that, 80.8% SMEs were practicing bookkeeping and the manual system was predominantly used. The recommendations however were that, SMEDAN must be strengthen and well resourced by government to offer support services in the area of organizing effective training programmes for SMEs operators. Another finding from the study revealed that bookkeeping practices helps to improve SMEs. There must also be an intensive publicity in the local dialect through the mass media to sensitize SME operators on the need to maintain proper books of records.