It would seem that super-fast transmissions, including 5G, have nothing to do with the slogan “ENTREPRENEUR, TAXPAYER, EMPLOYER, PARTNER” of the 7th edition of the Project “There is no future without entrepreneurship”. 

But next year the government is to announce an auction for the purchase of new frequencies enabling such transmissions. Therefore, in the near future we will have to face what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest revolutions in the world of interpersonal communication, technology and data exchange. This technology will be a robust IT tool, both for entrepreneurs, citizens and the government. It will also determine on-line relations between taxpayers, employers and partners. 

Let us consider the expectations, opportunities and threats entailed by this technology and its possible application for the purpose of boosting entrepreneurship in Polish companies and entering the global market.

The legislation introduced by the central government and local governments will be a crucial element in that it will define the principles, frameworks and schedules of implementation of this technology in e-state applications, electronic administration, SmartCity, etc.

We cannot afford mediocre implementation of IT applications facilitating relations between the state, business and citizens and between the local government, business and citizens.

In the context of everyday life of an entrepreneur, relations with the broadly understood public administration are one of the most time-consuming and at the same time least business-effective elements of the “struggle for survival”. At present we can see a number of digital initiatives in this area, but their implementation and operation causes frustration and sometimes even helplessness on the part of entrepreneurs. The transition from paper to electronic form is, in many respects, the only right way to go. This process must go hand in hand with the available technologies and, at the same time, must be prepared and implemented in administration at the right pace. As early as 1 May 2008, provisions were created to enable the launch of e-PUAP, i.e. a nationwide ICT platform enabling citizens to communicate with public administration units, but at the same time a basic tool such as the official acknowledgement of receipt still creates many interpretation problems for taxpayers in potential disputes with public administration bodies. Undoubtedly, introduction of the Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T) was a step in the right direction, enabling to reduce the number of physical cross-checks and enhancing VAT collection efficiency. However, the process of implementing this tool has shown the difference between entrepreneurs and tax administration in adjusting to the new reality and the new environment. Analysing experiences and various problems involved in digitisation, it was the entrepreneurs who suggested many changes and implementation improvements in the operation of this solution. The level of legal regulations for large projects presented at the last minute causes huge chaos in the first phase of implementation, which later affects the effectiveness in subsequent phases.

From the business point of view, solutions related to e-financial statements are a very interesting project, which undoubtedly benefits and will benefit from appropriate ICT infrastructure and the process of digitalization. Transmission of financial documents in electronic form, with the use of e-PUAP or qualified certificates, is not only the right thing to do, but also a necessity in today’s reality. However, the lack of feedback at the National Court Register and Treasury Administration interface when implementing and launching such solutions at the beginning of the year was discouraging and put representatives of business against the wall yet again.

Further steps aimed at tightening the tax system, such as the introduction of the white list of taxpayers, may yield many positive effects. However, balance in the relationship between the public administration (which is to serve the citizens) and the citizens (the entrepreneurs) is skewed. Entrepreneurs, as the main source of budget revenues, are burdened with 100% of additional tasks, which they have to perform for their own fiscal security. At the same time, at the stage of implementation and operation of such a solution, the level of information, preparation and accessibility of such a tool is virtually non-existent on the part of the tax administration (taxpayers search for a “white tax book” in Internet search engines).

In order to show how much more work lies ahead for cooperation between entrepreneurs and public administration in the current digital environment to become a true partnership, the process of implementing employee capital plans (ECPs) is important. As a new element of the pension system in Poland, ECPs are a structure in which entrepreneurs bear the brunt of the financial burden. While the level of these burdens is acceptable in a well-developed economy and it becomes an interesting tool to compete for employees, the lack of any information campaign from the institution supervising the project (i.e. the Polish Development Fund) makes it completely incomprehensible. Again, entrepreneurs were responsible for all education, information and implementation activities, despite the public nature of the project.

Considering the reluctance of small and medium enterprises to use IT applications supporting company management and production, it would be advisable to tap into 5G opportunities for the purposes of a nationwide strategy of IT and technological stimulation of such companies, e.g. creation of a governmental “POLAND 4.0 Program”. It could include funds for the implementation of ERP, Industry 4.0 and other applications. One could also consider tax reliefs or temporary corporate income tax breaks during the period of implementation of such applications. Using this technology by entrepreneurs in their daily work will raise their awareness of technology, business and economy and will give them great opportunities to enter global markets. Moreover, it also becomes a great opportunity to catch up with other EU countries in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

Below is the DESI report prepared by the European Commission for 2018. Poland ranked 24th (out of 28 EU countries). 

                                                                                                                                   

With appropriate implementation of this technology in education, we can change our obsolete teaching systems, from primary and secondary schools to higher education. By introducing e-schools, we will instil independence, creativity and civic ethics in students and offer them a higher level of education. We will have young employees who are more adapted to work in today’s automated workplaces. We will also raise the level of teaching staff and solve the problems of labour shortage.

However, there will also be new threats related to this technology. Huge amounts of non-aggregated information will cause confusion and social exclusion of people who are not IT literate, including the elderly. It may also cause alienation from society; people’s personalities may be taken away or transferred to the virtual network of a global cyber village. Super-fast transmissions also bring about new, more sophisticated possibilities for cyber-crime. These technologies will also provide unprecedented opportunities for surveillance and control of the behaviour of individuals, social groups and entire nations. The above presentation of some of the possible threats shows us that the relationship between the state, business, local authorities and society in the implementation of these technologies will play an important role in eliminating such threats. 
To sum up, in the near future, with more and more efficient communication tools and possibilities to develop good system solutions, there should be a significant change in the process of preparation, implementation and education on the part of public administration, business and citizens, the ultimate aim being to depart from our national slogan “it will work out somehow” and take full advantage of the upcoming opportunity for technological progress in our country.


Author:
Jan Kalisz, Business advisor, Fibrain

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