In Portugal, small and medium-sized Enterprises (SME) have to be certified to be fully recognised as such. The Online Certification of SME is the electronic service that certifies that Portuguese enterprises meet micro, small or medium-sized condition.
This certification is given according to the criteria defined in Portuguese legislation which, in turn, follows the EU recommendation concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, so that harmonisation of criteria across the member states is guaranteed.
The certification procedures are centralised. A unique public organisation – IAPMEI, the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation – evaluates whether an enterprise is a SME or not and, if it is, it evaluates specifically if it is a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise. This result is accepted nationwide and followed by all other Portuguese public entities involved in administrative procedures targeting SME. Hence, the desired harmonisation at national level is accomplished.
The online certification of SME truly simplified the process of SME proof in Portugal. It has eliminated the need for enterprises to submit the same information to different public authorities (in order to make proof of SME individually, near each entity). And it has eliminated the need for other public services involved in administrative procedures to verify documents and make calculations in order to classify each enterprise as a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise or as a “no SME”.
The certification process occurs entirely online, being paper-free. The enterprises obtain their certificates exclusively by electronic means. Any file or printed version of this certificate is valid for legal purposes. The public services involved in administrative procedures targeting SME check online if the enterprise is a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise. No other form of verification is legally recognised.
Portugal innovated absolutely in this field, by associating a calculation device to the declarative logic. This is a trust-based service, although it is not a self-classification system. The enterprises do not have to make any calculations to classify themselves, but rather they have to deliver a set of information/data, by filling in the certification form fields. The data/information interpretation and the necessary calculation are made by the system automatisms.
In order to obtain a certificate of SME, enterprises only have to fill in the electronic form, accept the declaration that all the information is accurate, and submit it. If the enterprise meets all the requests, an electronic certificate is automatically generated, certifying that it is a micro, small or a medium-sized enterprise.
The certificate that is generated can be immediately visualised by the SME. It can also be immediately accessed online by any entity that is obliged to request the SME proof on behalf of administrative procedures targeting SME, namely Public Authorities and private entities engaged in administrative procedures targeting SME.
In order to guarantee the maximum reliability of data collected, the certification forms have strict validation rules that inhibit “blanks” and inconsistencies. Additionally, there are legally defined auditing procedures. Each enterprise is aware that at any moment of time it could be requested to present proof of everything that has been declared in the certification forms. If false information is detected, the certification may be revoked, retroactively. And if any benefit was granted to the enterprise, it may be lost.
|Award category:||the public sector as partner for a better society - european, national and regional level|
|Sector:||Economic affairs, competition, SME|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||Certification, online certification, SME, microenterprise, small enterprise, medium-sized enterprise, administrative simplification|
|Short English description:||In Portugal, small and medium-sized Enterprises (SME) have to be certified to be fully recognised as such. The Online Certification of SME is the electronic service that certifies that Portuguese enterprises meet micro, small or medium-sized condition.|
|Organisation:||Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI)|
|Level of government:||national level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:||6-10|
|EU membership:||EU member|