#AFrenchStart: What are the key stages involved in establishing my company in France?
Setting up a company in France requires a certain number of steps before registering. To support foreign investors and help them secure their projects, Business France has gathered the answers to the most frequently asked questions in a single document. To make #AFrenchStart, we help you to understand all the key steps to investing in France.
Step 3: Key stages for your company and business in France
In the #AFrenchStart sequence, we will give you the keys to a successful launch in France! The first step is to choose the business structure of your establishment. This second step is about which legal form to choose depending on your investment projects in France as foreign investors.
This third step will deal with the critical stages of establishing your company in France. Thanks to essential reforms, you probably know that creating and managing a business has become more accessible in recent years!
What are the critical stages for establishing a business in France?
Setting up a company requires a certain number of steps to be taken before it can be registered:
- Seek and obtain government funding and/or support, if applicable.
- Define the partners and their share of the company’s capital.
- Choose the directors and define their respective powers (limited or not).
- Choose a corporate form.
- Choose a company name and check its availability.
- Define the corporate purpose.
- Find premises (commercial lease, domiciliation agreement, real estate acquisition).
Be careful! Confirming the availability of the corporate name is essential. Indeed, you have to ensure that the chosen name is not protected by trademark law or already used by a competitor. The objective is to avoid any risk of confusion or lawsuits and to secure/protect the corporate name.
After these initial steps to set up your company, you have to open a bank account in the name of the company being formed, into which the funds making up the firm’s share capital will be deposited. Experience shows that finding a bank in which to deposit the share capital, opening an account, and paying in the funds are the most time-consuming parts of the process of establishing a company in France. You also have to have the partners agree upon the essential clauses of the articles of association or sign a partnership agreement.
Read more: 10 tips for setting up a business in France
Finally, you have to draft and sign the articles of association. The articles of association can only be signed once the company’s share capital has been paid into a frozen bank account, enabling the company to be registered and a deposit certificate issued by the bank. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the bank account be opened well in advance. It is common for foreign groups setting up operations in France to start with domiciliation before evolving towards property rental or acquisition once they are successfully established.
Setup formalities: company registration certificate
The company registration certificate is the company’s identification document. It is the only official legal document certifying the legal existence of a commercial enterprise. It provides information about the company’s business activities and specifies its name, registered office, legal form, share capital, establishment duration and date, and the identity of the company directors.
- The Business Formalities Center informs the relevant French authorities that the company has been established: the tax authorities (which, among other roles, provides the company with a VAT number), social security, the URSSAF collection agency for social security contributions, and the INSEE national institute for statistics and economic studies.
- This process can now be completed online. To cater to the requirements of companies in terms of electronic document signature, certification, and archiving, www.infogreffe.com – an economic interest grouping of French Commercial Court Registries – offers services to secure electronic communication and declarations via the internet.
Today, a company can be registered online by uploading scanned versions of the signed legal documents in just a few clicks. The various formalities a company must undertake during its existence can also be completed online.
So, contact us for free guidance on your investments projects in France!
Article written by Samy Trabelsi