• Commission report outlines results of EU funding in supporting SMEs 
  • Commission publishes discussion paper providing an overview of insolvency frameworks across Europe 
  • European Parliament publishes new study looking into SMEs’ tax compliance burdens 
  • EU’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) launches new SME funding window for 2023 

Accountancy Europe continues its ‘Insight from SME accountants’ series with a new article 

The article features Anton Schmidl, Equity Partner, and Thomas Wallner, Audit Director, from Crowe SOT, a 60-employee professional services network in Austria. These professionals explain how to support SMEs with sustainable transition and what are the most pertinent obstacles and challenges in their experience. 

Anton and Thomas reflect on the role of accountants in supporting SMEs’ sustainable transition. They highlight that whilst most accountants are not sustainability engineers or technical experts, they do understand SMEs’ business and have a feeling for the best or most realistic options available for an SME. Anton and Thomas compare the accountant to a “general practitioner” of the SME – one with a comprehensive overview of the business, able to refer it to relevant specific experts when needed. 

Stay tuned for further articles from this series, showcasing the vital role of Accountancy Europe’s SME accountant members in supporting SMEs’ business journeys.

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European Commission

European Structural and Investment Funds supported SMEs – report

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) unleashed a total investment of €731 billion, of which the EU funded €535 billion in 2014-2020. It aimed to foster lasting socio-economic convergence, territorial cohesion, social Europe and a smooth green and digital transition. 

This investment is explained in the 2022 Summary Report on the Implementation of the ESI Funds adopted by the Commission on 31 January. 

The report presents the ESI Funds’ achievements by the end of 2021, including the following: 

  • more than 4 million SMEs were supported 
  • 2.3 million projects supported the agricultural sector and competitiveness of rural SMEs’ and helped create jobs in rural areas 
  • a total of 44,000 jobs were maintained, and over 6,000 new ones were created in the fishing and aquaculture sector 

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Commission proposal on tax enablers (SAFE) further postponed

In the January SME Update, we reported the Commission’s tax enablers proposal is expected for April. However, the Commission has further delayed the proposal to 7 June. Additional delays are possible.

Commission publishes discussion paper on insolvency frameworks across Europe

The paper, published on 28 February, provides an assessment framework for insolvency regimes in the EU to inform economic surveillance. It aims to: 

  • illustrate the main concepts relating to insolvency frameworks and their economic relevance 
  • review the primary characteristics of insolvency regimes across EU countries 
  • evaluate the severity of corporate vulnerabilities stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, considering how insolvencies and non-performing loans have developed in response to the global financial crisis 
  • highlight the remaining challenges for insolvency systems in the EU based on an estimate of the potential increase in insolvencies (insolvency gaps) and existing institutional settings and structural characteristics 

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Commission launches €7.5 million calls to support the integration of Ukrainian SMEs in the Single Market

The Commission announced the launch of two calls for proposals under the joint title “ReadyForEU”, with a total budget of €7.5 million, on 28 February. The calls aim at helping Ukrainian entrepreneurs and businesses to benefit from the Single Market. They are funded under the Single Market Programme and follow the recent agreement for Ukraine to join the Programme.

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European Parliament

FISC Committee publishes study on tax compliance costs for SMEs

The study aims to quantify and compare tax compliance costs burdening private businesses in the EU by reviewing the available empirical literature and data on SMEs. It was published on 23 February. The study discusses data and methodological challenges and attempts to identify European best-practice tax systems. It highlights differences in compliance costs met by firms of differing sizes, engaging or not in cross-border trade and for different tax types. The authors suggest a comprehensive tax reform at the pan-EU level, akin to CCCTB or BEFIT, would be the best way to alleviate compliance burdens.

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EC explains how it assesses cumulative impact of legislation on SMEs

  • Question by MEP Pascal Arimont (EPP/Belgium) 
  • Reply by Commission Vice-President Šefčovič

EUIPO launches SME fund 2023

The Ideas Powered for business SME Fund is a grant scheme to help EU SMEs protect their intellectual property (IP) rights. The SME Fund is a European Commission initiative implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It will run from 23 January 2023 to 8 December 2023. SMEs and those acting on their behalf can apply for funding that covers actions such as IP scans, identifying IPprotectable elements of the business, advice, and more.

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EIF and Danish banks join forces to provide new lending for SMEs to foster sustainability

Danish bank Merkur Andelskasse and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have signed a guarantee agreement backed by the InvestEU programme. With this agreement, Merkur will make up to DKK 160 million (€21.5 million) available in new financing in leasing contracts and loans for Danish SMEs to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and greener economy.

Read more This curated content was brought to you by Johan Barros, Accountancy Europe Senior Manager since 2015. You can send him tips by email, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.