I have had an interesting conversation this week with a forum member about the cost of French accountants for entreprise individuelle and société à responsabilité limitée (SARL). John’s question was How much will an accountant cost for my business and what can I expect him to do for me?
Based on my experience working with French entrepreneurs, an accountant will cost you about 1,500 euros per year (without TVA) for an entreprise individuelle under regime reel simplifie and about 2,000 euros to 2,500 euros for a SARL. An entreprise individuelle under micro entreprise will pay less than 1,500 euros, as there is less work involved, i.e. no TVA return. These figures apply for small businesses with no employees, but requiring TVA declarations. Prices will go up as soon as you hire someone, as a fee is charged per pay slip.
I have asked the same question to more forum members and via Facebook and Twitter. And surprise, surprise… the accountancy fees are much higher, ranging from 1,800 euros to 2,500 euros for an entreprise individuelle and 2,200 euros to 3,000 euros for a SARL. It seems to me that there is a good inflation for English speakers. So my advice is to request a lettre de mission from the accountant you are considering hiring. This letter will list all the accountancy tasks included in your contract. Reading between the lines, this also means any additional work will be charged by the hour.
Which services can you expect from your SARL accountant
- Quarterly TVA declarations
- Contribution Economique Territoriale (CET) declaration, i.e. former taxe professionnelle
- Processing your monthly expenses
- Cross checking your expenses with your business bank statement
- Yearly bilan, i.e. profit and loss account
- Business advice
I mentioned the processing of your monthly expenses on this list, as most French artisans or commercants are still often handing over a file with all their receipts and invoices for the months. Some accountants even send a clerk to their office twice a month to go through their book keeping i.e. process and validate. Ask your French accountant about what you are expected to do and how often will you see him.
Finally, most French accountants will not call you to assess how your business is doing. It really is up to you to chase your accountant whenever you have an issue with RSI, Urssaf, Impots, etc. Chasing your accountant seems harsh, but reflects the reality. You will have to request a meeting if you want to talk about your business issues.
Five tips to find the right accountant for your French business
- Request a lettre de mission with your quote
- Ask for the set up fees of your SARL to be quoted separately and not included in the yearly contract
- Ask if your income tax declaration is included, if not add it to the list
- Negotiate the price down if you can handle most of the administrative work, e.g. processing expenses on excel or an accounatncy software such as EBP or Ciel.
- Ask your accountant which accountancy software they use (usually Ciel or EBP). Will they help you use this accountancy software for some of the admin work?