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30 September 2015

ACCA welcomes the publication of the CMU Action Plan but warns against hasty design or poor implementation

The priority actions proposed in the Action Plan on Building a CMU generally go in the right direction, but we need to make sure that they are correctly translated into law, says ACCA.

ACCA shares the European Commission’s view that there is no single measure to deliver a well-functioning CMU, but a range of steps to remove obstacles and bridge the gap between investors and businesses, especially the small ones, both locally and globally.  We thus need to make sure that the measures aimed to bring them to life will be designed –and at a later stage implemented- in such a way that they will  bring the expected benefits.  

For instance on the priority area 'Providing more funding choices for EU businesses and SMEs , ACCA recalls that small businesses will need guidance. While much of the discussion on long-term financing rightly focuses on the supply side and its limitations, it is also based on the assumptions that individuals and organisations are fully aware of their financial needs and can plan these in the long term, are able to navigate a changing landscape of financing opportunities, and are able to make their case convincingly to finance providers.'

Rosana Mirkovic, head of SMEs Affairs at ACCA says: 'The role of other stakeholders, such as SME advisers, should have a stronger emphasis in the Commission’s plans. Not all demand for finance manifests itself through applications for bank credit, and this should be carefully considered in future proposals.'

ACCA shares the European Commission’s cautious approach to regulating the crowd funding market and acknowledging the need for careful balance between the need to facilitate innovation and competition, without restricting access to such platforms on either the supply or the demand side. The experience in other Member States such as the UK, where alternative finance market is most advanced in Europe, we see that, barring few exceptions, the alternative funders’ efforts are still broadly focused on serving essentially mainstream SME customers with mainstream needs. Moreover, they are not yet making serious inroads into the financing gap for UK SMEs. While a pan European development of alternative finance platforms needs to be supported, the majority of SME financing is still likely to depend on the mainstream finance providers and greater acknowledgment of this fact is needed.

Rosana Mirkovic explains: 'Alternative products may be as important to the cause of financing SMEs as alternative lenders and further consideration of this could enhance the Commission’s efforts of improving access to finance for SMEs. But support for access to finance needs to emphasise the strengthening of in-house financial capability among SMEs to ensure that the Commission’s long-term ambition of providing more funding choices for Europe’s SMEs is fully realised.'

On the action 'Making it easier for companies to enter and raise capital on public markets', ACCA strongly commends the Commission proposal to work with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) on an accounting solution for companies on SME Growth Markets. 

Richard Martin, head of Corporate Reporting at ACCA says: 'a global solution developed by the IASB with its experience, resources and due process has to make sense. We note that the proposed work is aiming at those markets specifically designated SME Growth markets, but we continue to believe that there is a case for harmonised financial information across all of Europe’s secondary capital markets, in the same way as for the ‘regulated’ markets.'

Full statement

© ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

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