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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