The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is one of the main participants in the implementation of the “Swiss E-Government” strategy.
The Confederation is endeavoring to reduce the administrative burden on SMEs. With this goal in mind, it is developing online platforms that make it possible to complete various formalities and tasks electronically. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), one of the main players in the implementation of the Swiss e-governance strategy, has already established three important projects in this field: the SME Portal, EasyGov and SuisseID. A fourth project, named B2.13, ended in 2015, in favor of the pilot Linked Data Service (LINDAS).
The SME Portal - a valuable source of information
SECO's SME Portal, on which this article is found, is part of the specific measures of the Swiss policy to promote SMEs. In many fields, it simplifies administrative tasks which entrepreneurs are responsible for and offers them a unique source of information on the life of SMEs in Switzerland. The site includes the following sections:
Online portals. Presents the Internet services intended to save SMEs time in searching for information and completing official tasks.
Practical Knowledge. Includes various sections providing basic information on various subjects related to establishing and developing an SME, such as legal structures, accounting and transfer of a company as well as social networks, e-commerce and even creativity.
News. Offers news articles and interviews with entrepreneurs discussing subjects as diverse as company establishment and development, human resources, innovation, measures to counter a strong franc or even strategies for coping with competition.
Addresses. Contains all of the important addresses in Switzerland for the establishment and development of a company.
EasyGov.swiss is the online e-governance desk for companies. The user-friendly EasyGov.swiss enables SMEs and company founders to carry out their administrative obligations anytime and to focus on their core business.
Currently, EasyGov.swiss offers the following e-governance services: company establishment, registration with the Trade Register, VAT, social security (AVS) and accident insurance registration, changes to the Trade Register and obligations to be carried out with the tax authorities. By the end of 2019, the administrative procedures most in demand will appear on EasyGov.swiss and may be completed by companies electronically.
SuisseID is a secure digital proof of identity. Provided in the form of a USB key or chip card, it functions as an identity card on the Internet.
SuisseID makes it possible to be authenticated securely on websites and at the same time to provide a legally valid signature of documents such as invoices, contracts and e-mails.
SuisseID therefore makes it possible to secure digital transactions between companies, between individuals and companies, and even between citizens and government administration.
A single desk for companies
Companies operating in Switzerland should have simple access to electronic services for authorities at all levels of the government. The establishment of a portal giving access to the online services of the Confederation, cantons and municipalities will make it possible to facilitate company administrative tasks and reduce their administrative burden.
The electronic e-governance portals such as EasyGov already make it possible for companies to reuse the same information to register with the Trade Register, the value-added tax register, the AVS and accident insurance. The single portal project will eventually go further, allowing companies to carry out all of their administrative tasks online, available at every level of the government, and entirely electronically.
To simplify and make transactions with the authorities more user-friendly, an “Identity Network Switzerland” will soon be established to allow users to register on various portals of the Swiss authorities through a unified procedure.
The “Identity Network Switzerland” will make it possible to connect various information technology systems together and to give users access to these systems through identical registration procedures.
The SECO has developed a web page dedicated to the “Identity Network Switzerland” project which offers detailed information about the structure of the federation to the various project partners and any interested person.
The milestones of the project and dates of information sessions are communicated via this webpage. In accordance with the decision by the federal and cantonal departments which took part in this project, the webpage is available in German and English.
The Swiss public authorities provide a large amount of information and services to citizens, but these currently differ and are decentralized. The Linked Data Service (LINDAS) was created to facilitate access and use of the information and services. In its pilot operational phase since March 2015, the service contains information provided by official institutions that can be linked together by users, including for commercial purposes. For example: to allow people to choose a place to live based on levels of fine particles in the air, a company may decide to compare, via an application, the names of municipalities (provided by the Federal Statistical Office, FSO) and their air quality measurements (provided by the Federal Office for the Environment, FEO). LINDAS falls under the framework concept of “Interconnected Administration in Switzerland”. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) intends to continue its development during the 2016-2019 legislative term.
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