Critical financial and accounting issues of early-stage innovative enterprises


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While the most important financial and accounting issues of early-stage enterprises with fast growth potential (startups) are widely covered in practice-oriented literature, academic studies do not deal with this subject. In the author’s opinion, this subject should receive more attention in academic writing, as inappropriate financial management can make it more difficult for startups to raise capital at a later stage of operation and, thus, to grow further. This paper is based on a sample of financial and tax due diligences of Hungarian startups. The authors intended to present some of the issues identified and relevant also to startups operating outside Hungary. The sample shows that due to a loss making operation in the early years, this type of companies can quickly use up their equity and, therefore, they need continuous ownership (equity) financing. The sample demonstrates that debt financing is not a viable option for this group of companies, the only option for them is venture capital financing. The authors confirmed the positive relation between startups and R&D&I. In their opinion, compliance with the rules and the optimization permitted by the rules themselves is highly significant for startups to manage their high upfront losses and to attain their general aim to raise investment capital. The financial and tax due diligences at startups allowed to identify several inappropriate practices due to complicated accounting and tax laws.

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    • Figure 1. Total income in the year preceding the due diligence, for the whole sample and without the 3 biggest companies
    • Figure 2. After-tax profit and own equity (before taxes) for the whole sample and without the 3 biggest companies
    • Figure 3. Capital and liquidity management
    • Table 1. Main indicators applied in our sample
    • Table 2. Distribution of financial and taxation risks identified