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Revised SBA: stronger governance needed for the uptake of SME friendlier set of actions


23 Feb 2011


Euro & Finance
EU Priorities 2020

- ACCA ( the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) welcomes the new set of new actions proposed in the revised Small Business Act published today by the European Commission, while warning that proper implementation of the measures is key to their success-

The global accountancy body shares the Commission’s view that urgent action is needed to enhance SMEs’ ability to access finance and markets - both internally and outside the EU - for smarter regulation, the promotion of entrepreneurship, creating jobs and to promote sustainable growth.

On financing SMEs needs, ACCA is looking forward to the proposed measures aimed at simplifying SMEs access to EU financial instruments - from strengthened loan guarantee schemes to facilitated access to structural funds and public procurements - as well as ensuring both better access to venture capital markets and functioning of venture capital funds.

Professor Robin Jarvis, head of Small Businesses Affairs at ACCA says: "Access to finance is still a critical issue for growing businesses. Accountants, the most trusted advisers of small businesses, are uniquely placed to help SMEs navigate and access the finance supply chain. ACCA therefore sees positively the proposed simpler and broader new generation of support schemes, which should help ensuring a level playing field for all".

On the smart regulation issue, ACCA welcomes the EU’s commitment to systematically assess the impact of legislation on small businesses through an ‘SME test’, and echoes the Commission in urging the member states to "think small first" and avoid gold plating.

"It is quite alarming that only 9 Member States (ie Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have integrated an SME Test into their national decision making approach" observed Robin Jarvis. " Any new initiatives and reforms to existing rules must incorporate thorough impact assessments able to take into account the diversity of small businesses, which would weigh up the value of stakeholder protections against the desired deregulatory benefits for individual businesses", he added.

ACCA supports real measures that reduce administrative burdens for SMEs and which make compliance easier and cheaper. "We fully support the EU's aim to conduct a root and branch examination of the Fourth and Seventh Company Law Directives - based on a clear evidence of how small businesses survive and flourish and how this can be improved in the future - but warn against potential adverse effects of a total exemption to publish annual accounts on the shareholders and creditors of micro companies. It is also unlikely that any net financial advantage will accrue to micro-companies if they are exempted from producing financial information for company law purposes but continue to have to produce much the same information for other purposes". Professor Jarvis indicated

SMEs are major drivers of job creation and it is highly desirable to encourage measures aimed at creating the economic and regulatory conditions which will facilitate growth by SMEs.

"ACCA supports measures such as the upcoming legislative proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) – providing that it remains voluntary regime for member states does not replace their existing Corporate Tax regimes- , a new VAT strategy, and the revision of the Directive on electronic signatures. In the same vein, proposals to link-up national business registers, the promised review of the European Company Statute, and the long awaited adoption of the European Private Company would offer new scope for encouraging business activity on a cross-border basis", Robin Jarvis added.

"Improvement in the uptake and implementation of concrete actions to improve the business environment requires deeper involvement of all stakeholders, with further commitment at national level - especially with regard access to finance, largely in the hands of Member States, and a clearer role for business organisations and their advisers. Stronger SME governance is urgently needed", Robin Jarvis concluded

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For further information, please contact:

Cecile Bonino
tel:+32 (0) 2 286 11 37
mob: +44 (0) 7809595008

Notes to Editors

   1. ACCA is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer 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. We have 404,000 students and 140,000 members in 170 countries worldwide.

   2. ACCA has worked with governments, national organisations and development agencies in emerging economies- for over 20 years- promoting the accounting profession, to create value for the communities, businesses and individuals it serves.

   3. ACCA believes that globalisation of business means that one set of reporting standards is essential. We favour the principles-based IFRS.

   4. ACCA understands the real issues facing small businesses as 63,000 of our members work in SMEs or small partnerships worldwide.