Alexandre Bonetti, CEO of Simplébo, the startup specializing in the digitization of VSEs / SMEs, sheds light on the reasons for the very low use of the system initiated by the government called “digital check”.
1) A failed communication
To get started on topics that they have little or no knowledge of, small business managers need clear and reliable information. Unfortunately, the Chèque France Numérique system has been modified several times, which causes significant confusion and unreliability in the information provided by the government.
For example, the government announced on April 12 via a press release that the aid was extended to all professional activities. Many VSE managers then contacted the dedicated hotline, which explains to them that the press release of the government has no value, and that it is necessary to await a decree which will arrive at an unknown date, and which will specify the modalities.
The decree in question is signed much later on May 6, which will therefore leave less than 2 months for small businesses to take advantage of the system ending on June 30.
Consequence: professionals abandon the idea of taking advantage of aid which is not operational and which leaves them little time to be applied. The ideal would be to give a perspective to the device of 6 months minimum, in order to give small businesses time to choose a service provider, to get started, and to carry out the procedure online, however simple it may be.
2) Uncertain aid
In general, managers of small businesses need certainty and even more in this time of health crisis.
However, the official site specifies that professionals who incur digitization expenses are not sure of getting help, even if they meet all the criteria and deadlines.
More precisely : the device “will close when the budget of 60 million is consumed. So even if you are entitled to the check, if there is no more money, you will no longer be able to obtain this assistance ”.
Source: https: //cheque.francenum.gouv. fr / ecom / faq
It is difficult to do worse to reassure managers of small businesses, which already have cash flow problems.
Why not simply display the percentage of consumption of this envelope, so that very small businesses can get started with greater peace of mind?
3) An administrative process too much
The managers of TPE-PME are not at all fond of administrative procedures.
Even if the government has done its utmost to simplify procedures (100% online process, hotline, form assistance, etc..), the overall system unfortunately does not encourage the managers of TPE to get involved. Indeed, the simple fact of having to do these administrative procedures is already a brake, as simple as they are.
One solution would have been to allow the supplier (the web agency that created the website for the VSE, for example) to do the administrative procedure for the customer. Currently “The supplier or service provider who appears on the invoice cannot under any circumstances request or collect aid on behalf of the company. “Source: https: //cheque.francenum.gouv. fr / ecom / faq
4) A complicated cash advance
Finally, the manager of TPE must advance the digitization expenses, then hope to receive the aid of 500 euros 1 to 3 months later. It’s a tough cash flow effort, especially right now.
This problem would be solved if the supplier (the web agency for example) could take the step for the TPE, apply a reduction of 500 €, and be paid directly by the state. The cash flow effort would then be carried by the web agency, and not by the TPE. This type of mechanism (subrogation) is common when it comes to recruiting young people on work-study contracts, for example..
To finish, even if these 4 points would be enough to dissuade the managers of VSE-PME from getting started, there are still other points which could explain the slowness of this project: the name of the device is poorly chosen, and creates confusion. confusion. Indeed, there are several aids which are already called “the digital check” as regional aid and which have nothing to do and which lose the TPE: for example the “digital check Ile-de-France”, which is a completely different regional aid but which bears the same name. It is also a shame not to offer a “simulation” form which would allow, on the basis of a few questions, to have a formal confirmation email to know if “YES” or “NO” a TPE is eligible. The hotline’s response was: “try it out, and you’ll see if it works”.
Finally, the assistance number can be reached “from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 12 noon and from 2 pm to 5 pm”, very limited time slots. Why not take a subcontractor to provide assistance 7 days a week and 24 hours a day , as many providers do when the subjects are not so complicated? Or is it an admission by the government that the device is so complex that it cannot be explained by a third party? Finally on a positive note: never no government will have done as much to help VSEs and SMEs to go digital, even if the trial takes time to be transformed! The device has the merit of having been launched, of iterating, and of being extended to get a second chance.