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Barriers need to come down for small businesses across Europe, says ACCA


01 Mar 2012


Euro & Finance

- Encouraging internationalisation of SMEs should be a clear policy goal for governments and the European Commission

The full trading potential of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is not being realised, especially when it comes to working internationally, findings in a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) reveal today.

The report - SME internationalisation in central and eastern Europe - collects the views of SME experts who attended ACCA events in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria in late 2011. The report also offers a number of recommendations for policy makers and governments to help SMEs trade across borders, overcome obstacles and become truly international.

Rosana Mirkovic, author of the report and head of SME policy at ACCA, says: “This report is a clear message for SMEs and for governments to think beyond borders. There are practical steps that can be taken, from helping SMEs to access networks and overseas partners, to breaking down trade barriers.”

ACCA says that encouraging the internationalisation of SMEs is an important policy goal for governments and the European Commission. It urges governments to explore ways of helping SMEs overcome various obstacles to trading, and recommends that this can be done by:

- Providing access to networks and overseas partners

- Encouraging access to multinational supply chains

- Strengthening capabilities of SMEs by creating clusters which bring together companies, universities, research and development and local public authorities

-  Enabling access to information and support

-  Supporting e-commerce


- Breaking down trade barriers.

Rosana Mirkovic concludes: “The limitations SMEs face are universal, and range from problems accessing finance to not being informed about new opportunities. Local red tape and intellectual proper issues can also stifle ambitions. But a major barrier is often the lack of connections to networks and local partners.  Identifying and accessing these local partners, who understand the realities and complexities of the market, is a major challenge for SMEs seeking to expand abroad. Clearly, the accountancy profession in partnership with SMEs, governments and the European Commission have a part to play in removing these barriers.”

- Ends -

For more information, please contact:

Helen Thompson

ACCA Newsroom

+44 (0)20 7059 5759

+44 (0)7725 498654

Notes to Editors

1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) 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.

2. We support our 147,000 members and 424,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe 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. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.