Priceless lessons in money management

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Lay manages a successful rice export business in Battambang. Photo supplied

Learning to make financially responsible decisions from a young age helped Andy Lay, Group president and CEO of City Rice Import Co., LTD, to be a better businessperson.

Speaking to The Post, Lay said that he learnt about managing finances from his parents who were noodle hawkers and later, rice traders.

“I first learnt about managing my finances from my parents. Being born in a family that is involved in business, we were taught about finance and managing money at a basic level.

However, the young Lay felt that he wanted to develop his financial skills a little further after learning rudimentary skills at home.

“I was taught financial literacy at business school during my undergrad and post grad classes,” said Lay,who has a MBA from California State University, Long Beach with finance as a major.

He said that financial literacy helped him to create and build every stage of his business.

“It is an extremely important part of ensuring businesses success. Financial literacy played an important role in creating my first business in rice trading and I think any business needs it to succeed and be sustainable,” Lay added.

As the business grew and expanded, financial literacy continued to play an important role in growth.

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Lay: My parents taught me to manage money.

“We grew from a nobody in 2011 when City Rice was first established and now, we have become the second largest factory and exporter in 2018 by sales. Knowledge in in this area helped us to come up with a financial plan that avoided any shocks in our cash flow and creates a sustainable growth for the short and long terms,” said Lay.

When starting a new business, or expanding an existing one, most of the time, the partners or individual will probably take a loan.

Lay said financial literacy could help people understand the importance and the discipline of paying a loan back on time and in full.

He said he learnt from his family the important philosophy when borrowing money.

“We were taught since young, that a loan isn’t our money. It is an obligation and a commitment. Understanding money management such as spending within a budget, managing accounts receivable and accounts payable are all important for the business owner. Cash flow is the vein of the business. We need to always manage the cash flow well in order to pay the loan on time”.

Lay said that while financial literacy is increasing in Cambodia, the number of literate people is still relatively small. He said that while it may be possible to earn money and live one’s life while being financially illiterate, Lay said that without an understanding of such matters, it would not have been possible to create and grow his business.

“We can always make money, but to grow a business to a certain level, we need to be financially literate,” Lay said.

“You have to be financially literate regardless what business you want to do in the future. For youths, there are many ways to learn. Either take a short course or even read books on finance. It is one skill set that you need to equip yourself if you want to grow in whatever you want to do in the future.”