These are of particular interest to both policymakers and the accounting profession owing to their potential for significant efficiency gains as well as innovative solutions for accessing funding.
The increasing emphasis placed on the role of digital capability for the European recovery raises the question of how the digital agenda can effectively engage the SME sector, which accounts for over 99.8 per cent of the European business population. The potential for information and communication technologies (ICT) to deliver efficiency gains is widely accepted. While large firms are often at the forefront in recognising and investing in IT advancements, small firms can be slower to catch up and appreciate the benefits that these can deliver. Addressing SMEs’ lower levels of productivity through deeper engagement with the European digital agenda can provide increasing benefits for the sector, ensure wider adoption of the digital solutions, and thereby make an important contribution towards the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Independent evidence consistently demonstrates that accountants are the most commonly used professional advisers of SMEs, often ahead of free resources and in areas not traditionally understood to form the core of the profession’s offering, from regulation to marketing. For this reason, accountants can be pivotal in engaging SMEs in the digital agenda, from raising awareness to facilitating its uptake.