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Governments urged to support small businesses by new global forum


12 Dec 2011


Euro & Finance

Governments and regulators around the world have been called on by a new global forum to champion and support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which have been struggling for investment and could be vulnerable even after the economy has recovered.

The Global Forum for SMEs of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has said that the role for Governments is clear - they need to understand, champion and support the SME sector, ensuring that policy and regulatory frameworks take into consideration the needs of small firms. It has also called on the need for SMEs to apply forward thinking and keep close attention to market shifts in order to maintain their share of the market. Due to the weakening bank lending environment and higher cost of lending, SMEs have reduced their levels of investment which may make them vulnerable in the future. They will therefore need to look beyond the current recession to ensure future competitiveness.

The new forum, which has representatives from 17 countries around the world, and which looks at SME issues from a global perspective, has outlined a number of key issues which it will be considering in the coming year.

These include: how businesses will cope with globalisation, the challenges of succession planning; changes in technology; and that with many SME owners or managers lack managerial training or experience how accountants can offer services to help address these issues.

Forum chairman Mark Gold, who is immediate past President of ACCA, said: "This is a critical time for SMEs, while many have shown great resilience in tough economic times, they do need a great deal of support from governments and regulators, who all too often overlook their needs and focus on larger listed companies. Given that in the overwhelming number of economies SMEs account for more than 95% of all enterprises and create more than half the employment, they are critical to economic regeneration and must be given priority. The forum, which we believe is unique in focusing on SMEs from a global perspective, will be discussing these issues in detail and calling for further action."

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For further information, please contact:

Colin Davis, ACCA Newsroom

+44 (0)20 7059 5738

+44 (0)7720 347713

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.