The coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on European small and medium size businesses. One of the many things we have learned this past year is how significant SMEs are to Europe’s economy. We learned the hard way that having sustainable business models and strong risk management is key for SMEs to thrive in the long run.
Why SMEs count on their accountants
Accountants are SMEs’ trusted advisors. They are the first person SME owners turn to for advice. Accountants understand their clients’ underlying business. Their knowledge, skill set and ethical code of conduct enable them to provide strategic support and help SMEs thrive.
Each European accountant serves about 120 SMEs and gains extensive experience through their diverse SME client base. This is why SMEs can count on their accountants to help them create and run successful and resilient businesses.
We have identified 3 vital matters where accountants can provide crucial support in SMEs’ development. They can help SMEs make the transition cost efficient and worthy long-term investments.
1. Become key participants in the sustainable transition
SMEs are ready to play their part! But everyone (accountants, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders in the SME ecosystem) needs to help them get there; because SMEs count on us all.
In the current environment, it is no longer a luxury for SMEs to move to sustainable business models. Society expects businesses to do better on matters such as environment and human rights. Investing in the sustainable transition is necessary to remain an attractive and resilient partner in the supply chain.
The sustainable transition needs SMEs to step up, and long-term resilient SME success cannot be achieved without the integration of sustainability considerations into their business strategies.
Accountants can help SMEs:
- become part of a sustainable supply chain
- improve their sustainability impact and mitigate risks
- access sustainability related subsidies, tax grants and liquidity advantages
- report and communicate on sustainability matters
2. Get access to finance to achieve resilient post-COVID recovery
Dialogue between all SME ecosystem actors is crucial to find effective and holistic solutions to support SME through COVID.
Adequate financing is the number 1 need for EU SMEs to grow and innovate. The pandemic has reinforced the idea that SMEs should have better access to financing and diversify their funding sources which are key elements for their sustainability. Accountants have the knowledge and expertise to help SMEs:
- develop financial plans and ensure a strong financial structure for SMEs
- diversify their funding sources adapted to their needs
- identify the best financing opportunities available
- navigate through funding application requirements and processes
3. Go digital
Rely on the experience and expertise of SME ecosystem actors to support the digital transition of small businesses!
The digital transition is essential for SMEs to remain competitive and grow. Along with all other actors of the ecosystem, accountants play a key role in SMEs’ digital transition and can:
- help introduce automated and digitalised accounting systems
- identify the best ways to digitalise a particular business model, and trigger them to action on big data and IoT adoption
- advise on basic cybersecurity steps
- refer SMEs to relevant digitalisation experts within their network