One of the biggest entrepreneurial moves is opening a company. Every country has a set of guidelines that makes this process smooth. France has its way of doing things; here are the 8 processes that will be helpful to you as you open your company in France.
There are many business structures form which you can choose from. In France, the most common structures are the SARL and SAS. You can also open a business branch in France if your business is based in another country.
SARL is a limited liability company
SAS is a simplified stock company and entails a joint business venture between a foreign company and a French company.
The by-laws of your company (the products and services you offer, and prospects) must be registered with a lawyer or a registered company formation agent.
You will be dealing with money and obviously, you will need a bank account. You can set it up with the company formation agent during step 2, or you can have a meeting with a bank manager for this. Keep your business plan ready as they will go through it, and be prepared to answer a few questions about your company.
In France, you will need to deposit at least 4000 Euros of the share capital to open a business bank account. As soon as the banker receives the company certificate (Kbis), your share capital will be unblocked. Kbis takes approximately 2 weeks to be ready.
However, if you change your mind and cease to form the company, the capital will be returned to you.
After going through all the above procedures, you have to publish an announcement regarding your company in an authorized newspaper or a business publication. Some of the papers in which you can publish include Le Parisien and Les Echos.
The French government departments that deal with business incorporations will put official stamps on your documents after going through them. These departments include the Centre des Formalités des Entreprises or Chambres des Métiers and the Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce and the tax office. Upon incorporation, you receive a certificate of incorporation called the ‘extrait Kbis.’
Upon getting the extrait Kbis, you are given a registration number which serves as the company ID and must, therefore, be written on all official invoices and documents.
It is the arrival of the Kbis that enables your business bank account to be activated and your share capital to be unblocked by the bank manager.
The tax office will also send you a welcome letter, a VAT number, and the tax officer contact details.
You will then need to appoint an ‘expert comptable.’ This is a regulated professional French accountant who is legally obliged to keep you updated on the tax laws, maintain your accounts in good standing, make VAT returns, and help you with the payrolls.