SME update

April 2024


  • EU finance ministers call for a voluntary IFRS for SMEs regime
  • IMCO Committee adopts position on Late Payment Regulation
  • Council reaches agreement on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)

European Parliament

IMCO Committee adopts position on Late Payment Regulation

The European Parliament’s (EP) internal market (IMCO) Committee voted on 20 March on its position to the Late Payment Regulation (LPR), prepared by MEP Roza Thun (RE/Poland). The position was adopted by a margin of 33 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions.

LPR notably proposed to introduce a 30 days payment deadline on commercial transactions applicable to companies and public authorities to protect SMEs from late payments. These are some of the key changes adopted by IMCO, resonating with the feedback shared by Accountancy Europe to the leading MEPs:

  • measures shall be put in place to ensure public authorities’ payment practices are improved
  • acknowledgment that e-invoicing is an important element as it enables sellers to have evidence of the date of receipt of the invoice by the customer, thus triggering the 30 day limit period
  • in case of doubt on the exact date of invoice receipt, IMCO stipulates that ‘’the payment period shall not exceed 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the goods or services’’
  • large companies and contracting public authorities must report their payment patterns once a year to the implementing authorities
  • specific deadlines have been added within which the enforcement authority will have to treat a complaint request and initiate, conduct and conclude an investigation
  • complainants may submit claims to the enforcement authority anonymously
  • in cases where the debtor is a micro-undertaking, LPR’s provisions will only apply with a 12 month delay from the Regulation’s standard application period

In terms of next steps, European Parliament Plenary is scheduled to adopt EP’s final position on 22 April. In parallel, Member States in the Council are preparing their own position on LPR.

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MEP questions & replies

European Commission says capping payment periods at 30 days is single most effective measure to tackle late payments

  • Question by MEP Geoffroy Didier (EPP/France)
  • Reply by Commissioner Breton


EU finance ministers call for a voluntary SME IFRS regime

EU finance ministers released a statement on the future of the EU’s Capital Markets Union (CMU). A primary goal of the CMU, echoed in the statement’s recommendations, is to improve SMEs’ access to finance through equity funding.

The finance ministers notably call for enhancing the comparability of company information, and call on the European Commission (EC) to consider taking appropriate measures such as developing a voluntary IFRS regime for SMEs.

The statement does not force EC to take any particular action, but it does send a strong political signal from Member States to EC on what action they expect. Any possible EC follow up will not happen until after the June 2024 EP elections.

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CSDDD agreement reached

EU Member States in the Council reached an agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) on 15 March, following months of negotiations. The agreement contains significant changes to a previous deal reached between the Council and EP back in December 2023, including the following:

  • significantly narrower scope starting from 5000 employees and 1500m turnover and going down to 1000 employees and 450m after 5 years, which is estimated to decrease the total number of EU companies covered by the CSDDD from roughly 16,000 to under 5,500
  • a narrower scope of chain of activities to apply due diligence: downstream chain further decreased by excluding product disposal, dismantling and recycling, as well as composting and landfilling
  • elimination of the requirement for companies to provide financial incentives to their directors to promote the implementation of climate transition plans
  • watered-down civil liability article making it more difficult for victims to go to Courts in case of a corporate violation

EP’s legal affairs (JURI) Committee provisionally approved the amended version of CSDDD on 19 March. MEPs expressed the sentiment that reaching any agreement on the file is preferable to having no CSDDD at all. EP Plenary has  to ratify this decision through a vote during the April session.

While SMEs fall outside the scope of CSDDD, they are anticipated to experience the impact as participants in large companies’ value chains. Accountancy Europe has actively pushed for a stronger and more explicit SME support measures within the  legal framework.


France to propose opening an administrative simplification initiative at EU level

France has reportedly proposed to Germany and Poland an EU-wide administrative simplification initiative. France calls on the EC to introduce a so-called omnibus Directive aimed at reducing administrative burdens across several sectors and EU legislation.

One of the key recommendations is to raise the SME definition threshold from the current 250 employees to 500. This adjustment would exempt companies falling within this expanded scope from several accounting and reporting obligations (both financial and sustainability).

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EUIPO organises workshop for SME advisors on IP enforcement

Titled “IP Enforcement Basics for Business Advisors”, this online workshop offers a unique opportunity to delve into the fundamentals of intellectual property (IP) enforcement, particularly from the viewpoint of business advisers who assist SMEs. Additionally, the workshop will introduce EUIPO’s new SME Fund – IP Scan enforcement, and is scheduled for April 23. Registration is now open via the provided link.

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This curated content was brought to you by Johan Barros, Accountancy Europe Senior Manager, Head of Advocacy & Policy, since 2015. You can send him tips by email, follow him on X and connect with him on LinkedIn.