Auto-entrepreneurs registering as artisans with the Chambre de métiers have to complete a mandatory 5-day training course, called Stage Prealable à l’Installation (SPI), before starting a business in France.
Until recently this training was only compulsory for artisans registering as entreprise individuelle or a limited company, e.g. SARL, EURL, SAS.
Stage Prealable à l’Installation can cost up to 300 euros and unfortunately the content is not always exclusively designed for auto-entrepreneurs. Some departments only spend two half days within the week’s training to auto-entrepreneurs, while others haven't even updated their content yet to cater for auto-entrepreneurs.
So what can you expect? Well the first thing to say is brush up your French - I don't know of any departments that offer the training in English. The aim of Stage Prealable a l’Installation is to inform you about starting a business in France and introducing you to the French business administrative organisations and professions you'll be dealing with, e.g. RSI, Impots, accountants, lawyers, insurers etc.
The course gives you an overview of legal business structures, social protection, technical regulations, qualifications, accounting etc. Here's an overview of the Stage Prealable à l’Installation course content:
- How to carry a market research, analyse your environment, customers and competitors and write a business plan.
- Accounting, management and financing: presentation of the French loss and profit account (bilan), financial help available, guaranties, business loans. How to manage balance sheets, basic income and financial analysis, understanding the basics of labour law, e.g. droit du travail, how to hire, cost of employer’s social charges, apprenticeships etc.
- Registration procedures, legal structures as well as their tax and social charges implications. Introduction to compulsory professional insurance.
- Presentation from the income tax office on the different tax regimes, TVA, taxe professionnelle, taxe d’apprentissage. How to switch from one tax regime to another.
- Some Chambres de Metiers also work on pricing structure, margins, quotes and invoices.
Auto-entrepreneurs that registered a business in France with the Chambre de métiers before 15 December 2014 will have until 31 December 2015 to complete this training.
If you are currently unemployed and registered with Pole Emploi, inform your advisor about your business project. Part the Stage Prealable a l’Installation training can be funded by Aide Individuelle a la Formation (AIF). This may help fund up to 180 euros if accepted. Still, this is not automatic, your advisor handle the funding request.