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Dejan Plamenac • feb 24, 2021

– Negative grade for Serbia in sense of starting a business in 2020 –

Specialized online portal runed by the World Bank,, has graded the change made in Serbia in 2020 in sense of starting a business, regarding the procedures of electronic certificate obtaining and beneficial owner registration, as a change that made it more difficult to do a business in Serbia, or more precisely, to start a business. That makes one of only three negative grades that Serbia became calculated from 2010, of total 27 graded changes in that period*.

The grade marked with an X (which represents negative grade by classification) was named “Starting a business”, and was defined as: “Serbia made starting a business more complicated by requiring that entrepreneurs obtain an electronic certificate and register the ultimate beneficial owners separately after incorporation.”

Basically, with this change, Serbia has added two more steps to starting a business procedure, and seems to see that as unnecessary. The main problem seems to be the fact that this procedure is divided from the procedure of establishing the company itself, when realistically it could be organized as the same step in the procedure (positive example that proves this statement to be realistic is the fact that registration in front of the Business Register Agency and in front of the Tax administration are now done at the same time. By updating the one-stop-shop system, it is made unnecessary to conduct any additional procedure in front of the Tax administration after the procedure of incorporation in front of the Business register agency is successfully done).

Some of the situations in which the change in question can make problems in the practice we have already described in the text called “Financial report for companies with non-serbian directors – Is it possible to submit it in time?”, which can be found here and in the text called “Electronic signature in Republic of Serbia (in eyes of strangers) – Too big of a gap between obstacles and goal”, which can be found here .

At the end, we have to point out that in our experience this change has not made any potential entrepreneur give up on the goal of incorporating the company, so the reach of this negative change is not dramatic, but we also think that it is necessary to strive to make procedures as simple and as fast as possible, especially when it is the question of more or less easily changeable and improvable details.

* We find it relevant to note that the first negative grade in given period was given for “Paying taxes” in 2014, and in 2016 the same subject was graded positively. Second negative grade was given for “Registering property” in 2015, and the same subject was graded positively in 2017 and 2018. According to that, the grade for “Starting a business” remains only negative one that remained unsolved at this point of time.