2 August 2021, Warsaw – The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), the unified voice of AICPA & CIMA, is calling on the Polish Government to take further steps in supporting economic recovery by introducing schemes to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with digitalisation, strengthening Poland’s critical assets such as skilled talent pool, and helping businesses with addressing environmental, social and governance issues to meet sustainability challenges.
Supporting SMEs with digitisation and technology adaptation
According to the “Smart Industry in Poland 2020” study, SMEs in Poland have become more aware of the benefits of digitisation, especially during the pandemic. Also, a report by the European Leasing Fund showed that SMEs use of technology in Poland increased by 65% and that 69% of these SMEs plan to maintain this technological adaptation in the future.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA, commented: “Many of our members have described how the businesses that have adapted and thrived best during the pandemic are those that already had or were able to adapt quickly to new technology platforms.
“As more and more consumers and businesses take advantage of new technologies, SMEs will also need to do that to remain competitive. We believe the government could do more to help SMEs adapt to digitisation and that this would help support wider economic recovery in Poland.”
Support with upskilling and reskilling of the talent pool
A 2018 report commissioned by the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy showed that half of the companies surveyed by Work Service in the third quarter of 2018 declared having trouble filling vacancies in recent months. Also, a survey by the Manpower Group in Quarter 3 of 2021 showed that 81% of Polish employers are having difficulties filling vacancies due to skills shortages. Meanwhile, a report by the German Economic Institute on Poland found that only 21.2% of employed 55-64-year olds were taking part in any workplace training.
Jakub Bejnarowicz, Regional Director for Europe, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA, commented: “In Poland support is needed for both new entrants to the job market and older employees.
“There are two ways we believe the Polish Government could help with upskilling both the current and future workforce – an apprenticeship scheme which would be an attractive proposition for both new employees and employers alike, and a scheme for older workers to retrain and remain relevant to their businesses and the wider economy.”
Supporting businesses with moves towards sustainability
The introduction of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and its transposition into Polish law in 2017 has increased companies’ awareness, and an increasing number of companies are defining their business case for ESG reporting. The demand for ESG-related information and assurance on that information will continue to accelerate as more and more companies commit to ESG initiatives (partly driven by changing shareholder demands, a broader shift among capital providers, regulation, societal debates and reputational concerns, but also by new business opportunities).
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, commented: “Being still at the beginning of an ESG journey here in Poland creates a big opportunity for the Polish business.
“The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has responded to the Consultation on EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), suggesting that it is essential that all market participants work towards a comprehensive global reporting solution that provides transparency into how an enterprise leverages its array of resources to create value over the long term. We’ve also stressed the crucial role of the CGMA designation holders.
“We would welcome an opportunity to engage in and contribute to the discussion on this important issue on a national level.”
The Association’s key proposals to the Government include:
- Introducing a scheme where SMEs can get free impartial advice on how technology can boost their performance and eligible businesses can get support with the cost of the software.
- Introducing a Growth Accelerator scheme where proven business experts would work with SMEs to identify their barriers to growth and ways to overcome them and funding would be provided towards seeking this professional help.
- Addressing the shortage of adequately skilled talent by looking to the countries like the UK, Switzerland and the USA which have developed apprenticeship schemes as new ways to enter the workforce both in traditional trades but also the professions too.
- Introducing a scheme to help workers over the age of 40 access training and upskill particularly in areas of skills shortages such as technology, management and finance.
- Supporting businesses’ efforts to meet sustainability challenges by encouraging businesses to adopt integrated reporting, thinking and best practices and acknowledging the crucial role of management accountants in supporting wider disclosures on climate change and sustainability reporting within organisations.
- Enabling to perform Supervisory Roles at State-owned Enterprises by CGMA designation holders to help improve the performance of state-owned enterprises and public finance in Poland as a whole.
Read the Association’s proposals for recovery in full here.