Digitase Oy is the accountant partner in a Startup Kit of Business Finland

Business Finland attracts foreign entrepreneurs to Finland with a new Startup Kit | Business world’s baby pack brings together vital services and contacts

The new program supports the access of foreign experts to the Finnish market. Business Finland’s Startup Kit helps entrepreneurs in Finland to survive in the business startup process, so the entrepreneurs have time for business development and integration into the new country. Similar programs are also available in Canada, New Zealand and France.

Business Finland aims to facilitate the access of international top experts to the Finnish business market by launching a new Startup Kit in Slush. Startup Kit complements Startup Permit which was published in April. Startup Permit is a residence permit for teams from outside the EU, but the new service can also be used by entrepreneurs from within the EU.

Marjo Ilmari, Executive Director from Business Finland compares the service to a kind of business ‘baby pack’.

“It takes courage to pursue your career as a startup entrepreneur. Even more courage is required if you establish your startup venture outside your home country. The package is like a starter kit for new parents, containing all the necessary maternity services and equipment for a newborn. We wanted to bring the same idea to the Finnish business world as well.”

Finland Startup Kit provides all the information about the process and services that different public and private stakeholders can offer to make settling down to Finland easier. The Startup Kit brings together partners who can help the entrepreneurs for example in finding board members and providers of banking, insurance, IP protection, health and accommodation services. Startups are also guided by business mentors to help new entrepreneurs start up in Finland. The entrepreneur gets the services provided by the partners when they register the company in Finland.

“By the end of November, more than 100 non-EU companies from over 20 countries have applied for the Startup Permit. It’s a sign that international experts are interested in Finland,” Ilmari says.

“An international competition for talented entrepreneurs is fierce and, for example, Canada, New Zealand and France offer similar programs. However, Finland has one of the best startup environment in the world* and it has a reputation as a startup-friendly venue with strong technological know-how. It is important to support the development and innovation of our business by opening it up to international companies as well.”

The now-released Startup Kit will be constantly developed to match entrepreneurs’ feedback and partners’ services. Currently, the partners are OP, Leitzinger, Forenom, Terveystalo, Elisa, Whim, Boardio and Digitase, and the service package is continuously seeking new partners from companies and organizations operating in Finland.

Business Finland also offers startup companies Tempo funding, which foreign entrepreneurs can apply for after starting their business in Finland.

 

Business Finland:
Business Finland is the Finnish innovation funding, trade, investment, and travel promotion organization, headquartered in Helsinki. Business Finland is fully owned by the Finnish Government employing some 600 experts in 40 offices globally and in 20 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.

 

 

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AutoAccount OÜ Tallinn office opening

AutoAccount is a bookkeeping service designed for international micro-entrepreneurs and digital nomads. The service is fully location independent and online. Although the process is electronic and digital there are always professional accountants who are completing the books. Despite the team of remote employees we also need a head office where the company is managed from and which is conveniently located for face-to-face meetings. AutoAccount OÜ office was opened today at Metro Plaza Tallinn and currently run by the Board member Mikko Ilves.

A rapid change of European environment creates more demand on location independent services for entrepreneurs. For example immigration and BREXIT have increased enquiries about EU registered companies and digitalisation has made it possible to run the companies remotely. Especially Estonia has invested in e-residency possibilities within EU. The country has enticed thousands of new registered companies who require also local accounting service. AutoAccount is a tested online bookkeeping service in English and ready to go for this target group. It has to be remembered though that e-resident company cannot normally be used for tax planning. As a matter of fact it can mean a tax residency in several countries.

–Especially Finnish entrepreneurs have sometimes misunderstandings how the business in Finland could be run from Estonian company, Mikko Ilves from AutoAccount OÜ describes. One of our tasks is to guide the business owners in taxation issues to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Our accountant team can provide cost efficient monthly bookkeeping also in other European countries like France and Finland. This requires local expertise in annual statutory reporting which is available via Digibalance group.

AutoAccount OÜ offers also virtual office services at Metro Plaza office and is currently looking for one junior and one senior level of accountant as a part of the launch in Estonia. More information by e-mail autoaccount@digibalance.eu

 

 

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Job Ad | Accountant Tallinn

Finnish-owned AutoAccount OÜ is expanding its Estonia-based operations and is starting up an office at Metro Plaza Tallinn. Our micro entrepreneur customers represent a wide range of nationalities running their businesses in several European countries. We will produce our unique English AutoAccount services in Tallinn with a strong focus on e-Resident business owners.

We are now looking for an international minded accountant to work in our new Tallinn office. The appreciated features are as follows:

  • A suitable education for example in business administration
  • A few years of work experience in accounting
  • Solid knowledge of Estonian business taxation
  • Fluent Estonian and English. Preferably some level of Finnish
  • Basic IT skills
  • Good understanding of international business communication

We offer an exceptional opportunity to work independently in an international environment with the state of art software and applications.

Please send your application with a salary request (assignment through your own company is also possible) or additional questions to mikko.ilves@digibalance.eu by 6th of August 2018. We aim to fill in the position in the beginning of September.

 

 

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Accountant for nomads | Monaco

Monaco is the famous principality in French Riviera and is well known for its rich and famous residents. I agree with many people that the place itself is beautiful, clean and safe, which partly explains why so many people would like to move in there. However, there is one major financial reason why it is as appealing as it is: the lack of income tax.

There are some features about Monaco which are not so well known. The official population is around 38 000 inhabitants including original Monegasques and residents with a foreign background. The unemployment rate is practically zero and as a matter of fact Monaco employs over 50 000 people on a daily basis! Thus, companies located in Monaco employ a huge amount of people living in surrounding areas in France or Italy. These are “normal”, hard-working people who pay their taxes.

It is true though that there is no personal income taxation in Monaco. It concerns people who live in Monaco and have a status of residence which is the key for all the financial benefits in the town. It’s not exceptionally expensive to hang out and live in Monaco. If you avoid certain exclusive restaurants and bars you don’t really spend more money than in any European capital. Food and daily consumables are available in markets and the price level is reasonable. Wine, of course, is much cheaper than for example in the Nordic countries. What makes the difference is housing. If you ever visit Monaco I suggest you have a look at the real estate ads. The acquisition prices or rents of quite moderate apartments are phenomenal. You can find a studio with less than a million euro but that’s about it. So this is the real downside of the zero taxation. The moral question might be that are you willing to pay to your local government for maintaining the society or real estate investors in Monaco? Fortunately that is not my question to answer.

There are a lot of stories how difficult it is to get the residence permit and how super rich you need to be.  That is not exactly how it is. There are two main requirements for a residence permit: you need to have a place to live in Monaco and you must be able to prove you can afford to live in the principality. In order to do that, you need to work in Monaco or if you don’t work you must have that huge bank balance. Since it is very difficult to find a job in Monaco you can always work in your own local company as entrepreneurs do everywhere.

It is not too difficult to start a SARL company and run your business through that. You might be used to a little lower share capital requirements, but 15,000 euro in Monaco is not unbearable. There is local help available for registration, but it is not too difficult to do it yourself if you can cope with written French. All the modern business services like virtual office, co-working spaces etc. are at your reach. Please note that the income of a company is not tax free. As a matter of fact, the tax rate is quite high 30%. However, if you work for your company and are a resident, it might be a good idea to pay you enough salary (tax rate 0%) and avoid showing too much profit in the company.

In the end I need to emphasize one big downside of being within Monaco’s zero taxation. You need to cut the ties, at least to a certain extent, with your original home country. You probably don’t want to end up in the situation where you have to pay income tax to your home country AND high rents in Monaco. In practise this usually means that your near family needs to be able to live with you in Monaco, you are not spending too much time in your original home and you are not a part of the social security in your home country anymore.

Please acknowledge two things regarding this post update: First, the author is not, and will not be, a Monaco resident. Secondly, this is a blog update of personal observations, not a guideline or any piece of consultation advice. That would need to be much more detailed. There are also more practical tax efficient options than Monaco to register a company for a nomad. For example, utilising the e-Residency in Estonia.

Author Mikko Ilves is an entrepreneur and the Chairman of the Board of Digibalance Group. More blog updates: www.digibalance.eu/blog

 

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Communication with accountant

Clear communication is one of the key issues when running your business successfully. It is, of course, important in marketing and sales but also with administrational relationships. I just had a meeting with a micro entrepreneur from Eastern Europe who was disappointed with his accountant. He was saying that there were a lot of errors in his books and due to that he had paid too much VAT. I am used to hearing a lot of this kind of talking from the business owners who are generally frustrated to pay different kind of taxes and social payments. However, this gentleman was so anxious about the case that it attracted my interest to hear what kind of problems there had been. He showed me the cash sales reports and we compared the totals with the revenues in the Income Statement. Quite soon it was figured out that there had been confusion with the monthly sales and the accumulated sales, which mean the year-to-date sales from the beginning of the year to the end of the current month. Thus after a few months the sales in the books were already more than doubled from the actual. Consequently, too much VAT had been reported.

Then we discussed how this is possible. The accountant had a long experience, some authorization letters below the name and worked for a proper accounting company. It was obvious that the problem was a communication problem, not from the lack of professional skills. As seen in this case, the communication between the entrepreneur and the accountant needs to be very exact and detailed OR the process needs to be formed so that misunderstandings can be avoided. In this particular case, the foreign language and background played a certain role since the accounting company was not accustomed to the customers with an international background.

Based on this story I was once again ensured that we are on a right track with Digibalance’s AutoAccount service. The whole service supply is built in English and all the possible phases are automated or planned to avoid human errors.

The role of the accountants is more like controlling the books not entering data from unclear papers. The key financials can even be sent directly to the customer’s phone.

The outcome of this conversation with the entrepreneur was that we have one more satisfied AutoAccount customer!

The author is Mikko Ilves, the Chairman of the Board at Digibalance Limited

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e-Resident business Estonia

Starting your e-Resident business in Estonia | bank relations are important

Estonia is doing a good job marketing its e-Residency and possibilities to register an e-Resident business in that EU country. Despite the latest security problems with the ID cards, e-Residency has been a success with over 20 000 applications. There has been discussion of what you can actually achieve by being an e-Resident of Estonia. One benefit is a smooth process of setting up a company in EU. However, there are problems involved.

There are some important aspects which should be considered when a foreigner is planning to go on with the company registration. Applying for a personal e-Residency is convenient and easy but it’s only e-Residency, not more. As it is stated quite clearly on their webpage, e-Residency is not a citizenship or a tax residency. However, e-Residency makes it possible to start founding the company in Estonia which takes at first only a few minutes. The first problem is the need for a local legal address and the second one is opening a bank account. The address can be quite easily obtained via some local service provider but the bank account is trickier.

The company needs to have a bank account and the traditional banks have very strict regulations of who can open an account and for what reasons. For example, the legislation in order to prevent money laundering puts the banks in a difficult position everywhere. That’s why it is impossible to open a bank account in Estonia without an actual  visit to the bank and without a reliable business plan. Even if you have a meeting at the bank, it does not necessarily mean that your new company will get the bank account opened . Your company needs to have understandable and reliable local relations in Estonia. If the main reason for founding a company in Estonia is to minimise corporation tax it is quite sure that you will not succeed with the bank. There is a good side of this bank control, though.

There are dozens of good and bad reasons why some people want to register their company in Estonia. If it is due to taxation, it can very easily be a bad reason. First of all you have to understand the distinction of your personal taxation and corporate taxation. Your first point of personal taxation is the country where your personal tax residence is. Normally that is the country where you live. The place of personal taxation is usually quite well understood. There is more misunderstanding with the corporation tax system, which is very appealing in Estonia. The current flat rate of 20% (decreasing 2018) is payable only when the profits are distributed out of the company.

The real tax risk concerns the country who can tax your company. If the business is physically in Estonia (shops etc.) and the management lives in Estonia there are not really any uncertainties. No other country has a right to tax the company.  However, the real situations with e-Residents’ companies are much more complex. The business is often international online business and the company owners/management live away from Estonia. The highly possible outcome is that the company is initially taxed normally in Estonia but the tax authorities of another country raise an interest in the income of the company. In theory, that would not normally cause double taxation since Estonia has tax treaties with several countries, which prevents the double taxation. However, it causes a huge administrational mess in practise. What was meant to be a light and smooth process becomes a nightmare of more complicated accounting, double tax returns and on-going correspondence with the tax authorities. As a summary: costs!

Thus, if you are already having troubles with opening a bank account at a traditional bank (SEB, Danske, Swedbank, LHV) you will most likely also face problems with tax authorities. We are fully aware that e-Residence organisation has come up with alternative solutions with the local bank problem but the risks described above remain. At the same time you might be left without some very beneficial bank services.

Digibalance is a true fintech company who still works in co-operation with the banks, not against them. For example our effortless and affordable AutoAccount bookkeeping service utilises the data which is easily available from the traditional European banks. The mostly automated routine bookkeeping sends your crucial financials to be available on your phone using our DigibalanceApp mobile application. Learn more http://www.digibalanceapp.com/

 

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Keep your business in balance with DigibalanceApp | bookkeeping application

Digibalance Limited has now launched the first version of the revolutionary mobile bookkeeping application DigibalanceApp, a tool for micro entrepreneurs to monitor financial performance. Research, development and piloting process of the application has taken over 12 months – Especially younger entrepreneurs are used to taking care of their daily affairs through mobile devices. That is why we want to offer small business owners the chance to handle business matters by mobile device as well. DigibalanceApp works both-ways between Digibalance and the client. The client can send us information and we in turn produce reports and other content for the service. The idea is that when the micro-entrepreneur opens the mobile service, they see directly a view that reveals both the present situation of the business and a financial forecast. We also generate taxation forecasts in the service. Later, other services, in connection with entrepreneurship offered by various cooperation partners, can also be added to the service says the Chairman of the Board Mikko Ilves.

Key features

The key features of the application are:
• The vital business financials and key data always easily available and shown as simple graphs
• A quick access to the income statement; a thorough overview of what’s in the books and how the business is doing. The app opens also the break-down of expenses.
• Forecast of 12 month’s key financials is served as simple graph, it helps also to keep up with the taxes.
• The application will remind the entrepreneur to pay the VAT bills and gives notifications of interesting news and blog updates
DigibalanceApp is now downloadable on Google Play and AppStore. All the features are available to Digibalance clients without additional fee. The application can be used also as a demo version which shows the basic features and gives access to all the blogs and news.
Visit www.digibalanceapp.com and download the app on Google Play or AppStore.

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Running small business in France – 5 steps for accounting

We have made a brief and practical list regarding accounting if you’ve decided to start a business in France.

  1. Select your business form
    • The options are basically to operate as a self-employed or to register a limited company SARL. There are also other less common business forms.
    • Evaluate if you need to be VAT registered. It is not necessary if your annual turnover doesn’t exceed certain limits.
  2. Choose the most suitable income tax regime
    • SARL corporate tax is always based on the actual taxable profit it shows. The corporate tax rates are from 15% to 33,3%.
    • The self employed can opt to be taxed on certain percentage of the turnover of the business (tax status of micro-entrepreneur). The turnover means the gross revenues without any deductions. They also need to pay considerable social security payments based on the turnover.
    • The other option for the self employed is that the taxable income is based on the actual profit of the business.
    • The amount of income tax is assessed on a household’s total taxable income which means in practise that if your family lives permanently in France the tax is based on the total income of the family. The system is quite complex and there are also a lot of possible tax reductions and credits. The tax authorities calculate the accurate tax amount. Altogether the total of income and social taxes can be very high compared to many other European countries.
  3. Open a business bank account
    • You have a liability to open a separate bank account for your business purposes. It is important to keep the private transactions and business transactions apart from each other.
    • When choosing the bank group it is advisable that you make sure the bank can produce you the bank statement in XML format. That’s the standard confirmed by EU and it can be a basis for an effortless and affordable accounting.
  4. Organise the accounting
    • Invoicing software is very important tool if your sales are mainly based on billing the customers. Be sure to choose a modern digital invoicing software which is location independent and cost effective.
    • Basic bookkeeping is an essential part of the accounting and business management. It is smart and advisable that you organise your books to understand what is the real profit of your business, whatever is the taxation regime applied to you.
    • AutoAccount by Digibalance is an effortless and affordable bookkeeping system which is based directly on the transactions in your business bank account.
  5. Archive
    • The accounting of the business is based on the documents to confirm the transactions. It is important to remember to archive the documents. Most of them can nowadays be saved as electronic files on cloud services.
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Free consultation in Nice area

Internations LogoHello! This time we have started a new campaign with InterNations targeted to entrepreneurs in France. If you have started your business in France and want to know more about financial management and running your business in general, we are now offering a free consultation meeting in the Riviera area. The meeting can also be held on Skype.

Even if you haven’t started your business yet and need help in the setting-up your books and other practical details, we are very happy to meet you and give you guidance in entrepreneurship.

Click here to read more and schedule a meeting

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Article about Digibalance in Finnair’s Blue Wings magazine

We are happy to announce that Digibalance Ltd. was featured in this month’s issue of Blue Wings magazine by Finnair, published on 3rd March 2017.  The article gives a brief explanation of our priorities in accounting and why we think utilising automation is useful. The article also mentions our upcoming mobile application. If you don’t have access to a physical copy of the magazine, you can read the article below:

Image of Digibalance article in Finnair Blue WingsDigibalance produces digital bookkeeping services for European micro-entrepreneurs

The Finnish company Digibalance has already developed a completely digital bookkeeping service for European small businesses. Now, this pioneering company will also launch a mobile app for small businesses; a tool for business owners to monitor financial performance that can be carried in your pocket.

Digibalance is a Finnish-owned accounting firm, established in 2008. Its vision is of producing Finnish origin online bookkeeping for small businesses in the entirety of the EU. The company’s primary target group consists of European start-ups, micro-entrepreneurs, and businesses of 1-4 employees in size. “This target group includes many people that employ themselves as entrepreneurs in unfamiliar environments. At the moment, we at Digibalance offer online accounting services in Finland, Estonia, France, the UK, and Italy, but our goal is to duplicate our services in all of the European SEPA countries. We are the best in on-going monthly accounting. For special taxation questions and Financial Statements, we use local expertise”, says the Chairman of the Board Mikko Ilves.

Automation keeps costs down

In practice, what does ‘digitalised bookkeeping services’ mean? “In the AutoAccount service we have replaced the arduous paper phases of accounting with automation. The service is effortless and affordable for the entrepreneur. Thanks to the digitalisation and automation of the process, the client does not pay for anything unnecessary. The service is also ecological and location independent, because all documents are transmitted online. In spite of the digital process, the client also gets assistance in case of need; since contacts with our team are conveniently handled online, for instance through Skype, and the service language is English.” Ilves reveals that online accounting, at its least expensive, costs € 40/month. “In addition, the monthly fee does not depend on the number of transaction documents; hence, a growth in business activity and the number of transactions does not automatically raise the monthly fee. This brings predictability into the everyday life of the entrepreneur.”

Online monitoring in your pocket

Now Digibalance is launching a mobile application – Digibalance mobileApps, a tool for small business owners to monitor financial performance. “Young entrepreneurs are especially used to taking care of their daily affairs through mobile devices. That is why we want to offer European small business owners the chance to handle business matters by mobile device as well.” Ilves says that Digibalance mobileApps works both-ways between Digibalance and the client. “The client can send us additional information and we in turn produce reports for the service. The idea is that when the micro-entrepreneur opens the mobile service, they see a view that reveals both the present situation of the business and a financial forecast. As a new feature, we also generate taxation forecasts in the service. Later, other services, in connection with entrepreneurship offered by various cooperation partners, can also be added to the service. We will launch the mobile service for clients during the spring.”

Text by Mia Heiskanen / Blue Wings.

 

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