Government abolishes accountant requirement

The Swedish government has decided to end the requirement for around 250,000 small businesses to employ an accountant in a move intended to cut red tape.

Government abolishes accountant requirement

The new regulations will come into force on November 1st 2010.

“This is an important step to simplify regulations for companies,” enterprise minister Maud Olofsson said to journalists on Thursday.

According to Olofsson, the changes will mean a saving of 2.5 billion kronor ($346 million) in costs for affected companies. It will also mean increased costs to the state of 1.3 billion kronor which will be financed by increasing property tax on hydroelectric power and higher stamp duty.

The move was welcomed by the Swedish Federation of Business Owners (Företagarna) who recognised that Maud Olofsson had won a tough battle with the finance ministry to push through the changes.

“This is a hard-won victory for the enterprise minister Maud Olofsson. She has had to toil away like a northern Swedish cart-horse while the finance minister, Anders Borg, has worked against her,” the federation’s CEO Anna-Stina Nordmark said in a statement on Thursday.

The federation welcomed the reduction in administration that the new regulations bring although they would have liked to see the threshold set higher to include more firms.

Firms with an annual turnover of over three million kronor or total assets of over 1.5 million kronor will continue to be obliged to hire an accountant.

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Olofsson happy with Geely Volvo assurances

Sweden's enterprise minister Maud Olofsson has discussed the Volvo-Geely deal with senior Chinese management and received confirmation that the firm plans to retain its Swedish connection and maintain production in the country.

Olofsson happy with Geely Volvo assurances

Olofsson is in China with a high level Swedish delegation including senior business leaders and King Carl XVI Gustaf, and met the influential National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Beijing to speak about the Volvo-Geely deal.

“They think that Geely should make major investments in Sweden and there is nothing to suggest that they are going to move everything to China, nothing – in fact they underlined that the brand is strong due to its links to Sweden,” Olofsson told news agency TT in Beijing.

Olofsson underlined the Swedish government’s position to the NDRC that it is expected that research and production would remain in Sweden even after Geely’s purchase of Volvo is completed in the autumn. She underlined that she had informed Geely about Swedish law and the role of the trade unions.

“I have been given the impression that they are very conscious that this is going to be a positive deal and that Geely acts in a decent way in Sweden,” Olofsson said.

China is the world’s largest car market with 10.9 million cars sold in the country in 2009, up 53 percent on the previous year.

The Chinese car market is expected to expand by 15-17 percent in 2010. Volvo already manufactures its S40 and extended version of the S80 in China but in order to penetrate the market further, production in China needs to increase. According to recent reports Geely plans to build a new Volvo factory in Chongqing, near Beijing – or in western China.

Olofsson explained that she was unable to comment on the proposed plans.

“This is something that the firm has to answer. But I have said all along that if we are to reach out to the Chinese market then cars also need to be produced in China,” she said.