20 Oct 2020

Boosting SME growth and cross-border trade through a Europe-wide e-Administration Portal

  • By 2025, 75 per cent of EU citizens should be using eGovernment services, compared to the current 56 per cent.
  • By 2025, 30 per cent of SMEs should trade across one than one European border – at the moment only 8,4 per cent do so.

Excessive paperwork is a huge problem for smaller and medium-sized companies. Manually entering receipts into the accounts system, filling out invoices and reporting to authorities are arduous and time-consuming tasks and stop smaller businesses from being more productive. 

Only 8 per cent of the European SMEs trade across one European borders, which shows that the Single Market is still underdeveloped. The majority of administrative tasks in the logistics sector are still done on paper. This is because national administrations are not equipped for digital transactions and the different systems that do exist are not interoperable. 

Europe already has a standard for electronic invoice. The next logical step is to launch a project for a wholly digital economy for business data. This would allow real-time information about cashflow and could automatise reporting to authorities and creditors. 

We propose a Europe-wide e-administration portal to ensure that smaller businesses can take advantage of new technologies and free up resources to drive their businesses forward. 

This can be done by defining a standard for electronic receipts and by investing into structures for conveying structural economic information. This information forms a basis for automated collection of taxes and dramatically reduce the administrative burden both on the public sector and on companies. Datasets gathered from electronic receipts are also very valuable and could form the basis for new kinds of economic services. 

A similar initiative is already being piloted in the Nordic Countries under the Nordic Smart Government (NSG) project. Upgrading this to cover the whole continent would strengthen the European Single Market and help companies gain millions in productivity. 

Standardised structured financial information and the relevant sharing infrastructure will especially help cross-border trade and operations of SME companies. According to the NSG evaluation, two million Nordic SMEs could save €500 million by 2025, by switching to completely digitalised business information and administration.

Download the full investment paper
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