The public sector creates prerequisites for a digital economy and benefits from them. Central and local government must develop digital services tailored to the needs of their own customers. At the same time, state and local government agencies must develop, for example, general technical capabilities for application programming interfaces so that real-time information can be received and shared.
Practical benefits for the public sector
- With rapidly developing ecosystems and access to real-time data, it is easier to forecast economic trends and tax revenue.
- The state administration would save about €22 million each year if all receipts and purchase invoices were in electronic format and could be processed automatically.
- Authorities could use information already provided once.
- When companies’ financial situation can be monitored in real time, applying for subsidies in exceptional situations would be easier, while at the same time, financial trends in individual sectors could be analysed in real time.
There are also benefits to society at large
One purpose of the project is to identify and develop new services for all actors in the sector and identify official functions that are currently nobody’s responsibility. There will be significant benefits to service development and companies when government agencies use interfaces to make their register data accessible. Manual work is expected to decrease as companies’ systems and services can use the technical connection between systems to make the necessary data checks. Incomplete basic register data can also be automatically supplemented using the same connection.
Lighter administrative burden
Preparation of official reports, a major administrative burden for companies, can be reduced with the measures listed above. For example, taxation is expected to become an integral part of companies’ financial administration processes.
Use of structured data will reduce manual work in government agencies and allow more automation in data processing. For example, structured, machine-readable financial statements allow the Finnish Patent and Registration Office to automatically register financial statements, which means less manual work and reduces the costs resulting from scanning services. Financial statements can be made available to the data users as high-quality documents when the data is in structured and validated format.
The same information can be used for many purposes
Structured real-time reporting will also make the data easier to use in national information services, reducing the costs incurred by companies from this process. At the same time, statistics and reports will become more comprehensive and it becomes easier to quickly produce information for national needs. Companies use about 140 person-years annually to participate in surveys organised by Statistics Finland to collect information for its statistics on companies and organisations. In the long term, there would be a significant reduction in routine work if the most accurate row-level data based on statistical taxonomies could be collected from companies’ systems and made into reports on the basis of these systems.
Structured financial data would also allow analysis and monitoring of information from the perspective of sustainable development goals and the Green Economy. Elements supporting Green Economy goals could be added to structured information.
Making electronic receipts a reality for everyone
In the Real-Time Economy project, state administration will be provided with the capability to accept electronic vouchers, and measures will be introduced to coordinate the information needs of government agencies, to standardise information contents and to make it easier for public administration actors (especially municipalities) and companies to introduce electronic vouchers. The aim is to make electronic vouchers a routine tool for enterprises and public sector actors of all sizes.