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ACCA welcomes the European Parliament’s adoption of the Karas report on “access to finance for SMEs and increasing the diversity of SME funding in a Capital Markets Union”

Date

15 Sep 2016

Sections

Euro & Finance
Trade & Society

The global accountancy body commends MEP Othmar Karas’ balanced own-initiative report. We fully share the view that the diversity of SMEs should be mirrored by more diversity of choices of funding and a tailor –made regulatory approach.

SMEs, start-ups and mid-caps represent over 99% of businesses in the EU. They are the backbone of the EU economy and play a critical role in global economic development. For ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), which membership comprises a great proportion of SMEs advisers and SMPs (Small and Medium size Practices) owners, it is therefore crucial to support them throughout their life cycle.

Rosana Mirkovic, Head of SMES Affairs at ACCA says: “We fully endorse the call from MEPs to support businesses in their start-up, growth and transfer phases, taking into account their size, turnover and financing needs. Businesses are changing and innovating more rapidly than ever. Having the right financial capabilities remains vital throughout the life of a business, whether you are just starting out, have an established business or are looking towards a final exit from a firm”.

“We also welcome the call to make sure that programmes aimed at facilitating access to finance for SMEs do not disfavour women entrepreneurs”, Rosana Mirkovic adds.

ACCA also welcomes the call on the Member States to foster a risk-taking and capital market culture, in particular by improving the financial literacy and access to financial skills and knowledge of SMEs.

Rosana Mirkovic explains: “Bank financing is very likely to remain the preferred funding choice for the large majority of SMEs. But not every demand for finance manifests itself through applications for bank credit, and diversification is needed to allow for a wider range of choices.  We should also all encourage a more entrepreneurial and risk-taking culture. Capital markets will not flourish across Europe unless SMEs and other investors are willing to embrace non-debt finance and be comfortable with the risks in doing so.  We also need the political action and will to achieve this goal.”

For ACCA, the Karas report rightly stresses the “importance of the transparency, standardisation and public availability of SME financing information for banks, investors, supervisors and other stakeholders in order to understand the risk profile, take informed decisions and to reduce financing costs”. Having access to this information is crucial and ACCA is committed to take its share in promoting the recommended holistic approach to the dissemination of information on all EU funding opportunities.

Rosana Mirkovic however warns “Common standards are essential and comparability is very important. Not only for the completion of the Capital Markets Union project, which envisages a comparable financial reporting system for SMEs on alternative markets , as well as a common information base for credit applications, but also for consumer protection purposes. In this regard, the implementation of the Accounting Directive and its numerous options, which can considerably vary from a member state to another, is worrying.”

ACCA also reminds that while much of the discussion on long-term financing rightly focuses on the supply side and its limitations, it is also based on the assumptions that individuals and organisations are fully aware of their financial needs. And also that they can plan these in the long term, are able to navigate a changing landscape of financing opportunities, and are able to make their case convincingly to finance providers. However, many entrepreneurs are not equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to make informed and effective decisions about their financial resources.

Rosana Mirkovic adds “Getting to grips with financial information is also essential to be able to identify the early warning signs of impeding problems. SME advisers and accountants can play a very important role in helping small businesses understand the importance of financial literacy and guide them through the basic elements. In this vein, ACCA recently issued a report called ‘Financial management and business success - a guide for entrepreneurs’.

ACCA also takes note of the adoption of MEP Krasnodębski’s INI report on how best to harness the job creation potential of SMEs.

“ACCA, as a qualification provider, fully shares the European Parliament’s call to member states to collaborate with all stakeholders and adapt their education and training systems with a view to address the disparity between skills/qualifications and the needs of the job market, particularly those of SMEs. Ensuring a better long-term matching between the supply of skills and labour market demands is vital for both Europe's short-term recovery and longer-term growth and competitiveness”, Rosana Mirkovic concludes.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries, contact:

Cecile Bonino, Head of EU Affairs, tel: +32 (0) 2 286 11 37 or cecile.bonino@accaglobal.com

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 95 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

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