Guillaume, from INCITYZ offers services like support for starting businesses
With experience gained from various accounting firms in the provinces, Guillaume joined INCITYZ and its network in 2012. His arrival strengthened our team of specialists which not only includes staff accountants but also lawyers, tax experts and, a rarity in the sector, software engineers who provide a tech-savvy aspect, which is the hallmark of our brand.
He regularly organises training sessions in Paris with entrepreneurial partners or directly for the entrepreneurs.
For the last few months, Guillaume has been dividing his time between the Paris and Lyon offices, always aiming to guarantee the clients a unique experience.
1/ Could you tell us about your business in a few words?
Sure, the accounting firm INCITYZ specialises in supporting entrepreneurs and VSBs [Very small businesses]. Our team consists of around twenty people, who are highly motivated about the idea of offering our clients tools that will help them with their daily tasks.
Our offices are located in Paris, near the Garnier Opera. Although our tools allow us to monitor our clients remotely, it is a matter of honour for us to stay in contact with them personally, but of course, only if they wish. Thanks to a network of partner firms who share our values and methods we can also offer our services and expertise in other major cities in France.
2/ What work do you do with entrepreneurs?
We offer services like support for starting businesses (the choice of legal form, administrative formalities, execution of business plans, etc.), and of course, tax and social accounting monitoring once the organisations are active. We set ourselves apart through our approach which is modern, technology-oriented and with an emphasis on responsiveness, to make business managers’ lives easier. With several hundred companies created through our efforts, we are well aware of the problems business managers face and we are keen to help them keep calm during this journey.
3/ 2016 saw a 15% increase in business creation compared to 2015, did you observe this increase in activity?
We were lucky enough to experience a double-digit growth rate for many years - the result of a policy based on customer experience and perceived satisfaction. However, we do not deny that the sector of our activity is rather dynamic, which is the fault of an inactive job market. With more than 418,000 businesses created since January , of all legal forms, if there is a sector that is not at all in a crisis, it is the business creation sector.
However the overall vision needs some context. As far as we are concerned, we have observed that the consulting, transport and e-commerce have more representation than the others.
4/ Is there any one type which is given priority when it comes to business creation in France? Why?
This question requires a two-fold step answer.
At the national level, micro-businesses (for example, sole proprietorships) remain the leader with 40% of the total business creation in the country. It has the advantage of simplicity, both in terms of creation (which involves almost no costs) and in terms of functioning. However, one must monitor the situation carefully and ensure that the turnover does not exceed the applicable limit, and also its expenses, to verify that the status remains the most economical in fiscal terms, which does not happen by itself.
In the firm, we sort of guide our clients towards the EURL [Single-member Private Limited Liability Company] or the SASU [Simplified Single Shareholder Company] (or their multi-partner equivalent), which has the advantage of separating the organisation's assets from those of their partner(s), which is often more suitable for carrying out a professional activity.
5 / What are the funding sources set up to support entrepreneurs in France?
In my opinion, the leading business financier in France is the Pôle Emploi [the French national employment service], which allows its beneficiaries to embark upon the adventure of starting a business while continuing to benefit from its allowances. This system is a true safety net which is a big help when you are not sure your project will succeed.
The other public funding sources help in reducing the cost of charges to be incurred. For example, there’s the initial employment aid system which allows the employer to benefit from a subsidy of up to €4000, spread over two years when he hires his first employee. However, it must be noted that this is a one-time scheme and is only applicable for employees hired on or before December 31, 2016.
There are also private organizations, often supported by public funding, which specifically support entrepreneurs. I can think of the Initiative France, Entreprendre or even the ADIE networks, to name just a few. We have to cast a wide net in this regard because each network finances projects on its own terms and not being eligible for support from one of these networks does not mean you cannot have the support of another.
6/ What do you think are the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs?
The first obstacle is the lack of information for our fellow citizens. There are no courses in the education system to address this issue. Creating a business may seem a frightening prospect for someone doing it for the first time, regardless of the project idea. Fortunately, there are organisations that provide information, the AFE [French Entrepreneur Association] does it very well, the ICC or the BGE are also active in this niche.
The second obstacle is funding. Fortunately, not all business creations necessarily require one. But for all those who plan to have their own premises for example, investments can quickly increase significantly and relying on banking then becomes imperative. We all know that lending organisations do not easily open their wallets, even for project holders who have a positive business plan.
7/ What are the pitfalls to avoid? (your suggestions)
Firstly, never give up hope. Being able to surround yourself with professionals who understand the problems you encounter helps to avoid making errors and to save time. I would add that attending meetings between heads of businesses, interacting with future entrepreneurs or joining a union can end this isolation and offer opportunities for comparing your ideas and thoughts, and is a welcome source of inspiration.
Secondly, you need to anticipate problems well in advance. Regarding cash management, for example, it is always better to take the lead and negotiate payment deadlines or instalments rather than burying your head in the sand and waiting for the bank to stop the funding. In this regard, you need to be particularly careful when drafting the GCS [General Terms Of Sale] and the payment conditions stated therein.
Finally, the last point is not commonly applicable, but could prove to be important. You should consider paying up your capital before the first fiscal closing. Some entrepreneurs draft Articles of Association with a capital amount which is higher than the amounts they are able to inject in the company. This is legally permitted, but if the situation is not regularised at the end of the financial year, it results in the de facto application of 33.33% corporate tax instead of the 15% applicable in most cases.
 SAT [State Administration of Taxation] figures for business creations between January 2016 and September 2016
Guillaume DELEMARLE +33 (0)1 53 83 78 31