A business license is a license issued by a government authority that allows companies or individuals to operate a business within a specific country’s government’s power. The license is issued by the local government and it is an approval to start business.
There is something that you would need to do first before you open a corporate account in France. But before that here are some interesting facts about France from a business perspective.
France is located in Western Europe and is one of the largest economies there beside Germany and the United Kingdom (UK). It is bordered with six other countries namely Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.
As at June 2016, the population of France stood at 66 million people. Paris is the capital city of France with other major cities being Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lille, Nice and Toulouse and visa in France
France is also an economic power in the European Union (EU). It recorded a Gross Domestic Product of EUR2.42 trillion while GDP per capita was at EUR42,000 in 2016.
Steps to open a corporate bank account
- Come up with a business plan – Basically you would need to decide on what type of business you would like to do. You would also need to include your initial source of funds and a cash flow projection among other things.
- Decide on the structure of your company – You would need to decide on what type of company that you would like to incorporate for your business. It must be best suited to the type of business that you would like to do. Below are some of the popular types –
- a) Societe Anonyme (SA) – also known as a joint stock company.
- b) Societe par Actions Simplifiee (SAS) – or known as a simplified joint stock company.
- c) Societe a Responsabilite Limitee (SARL) – also known as a limited liability company.
- Investment into your business – There is a safe minimum amount to put into your company account and this has been determined to be about EUR 4,000. This amount will actually prove to your banker how serious you are about doing business in France.
- Register your company – In order for you to register your company you would need to come up with your company name, check if the name already exist, and then register with the relevant authorities in France. After you have registered your company, you would need to advertise in the authorized newspaper.
- Provide the registration number to your banker – After you have successfully managed to register your company, you’ll be given a company registration number. Once you have given this number to your banker, your corporate account will be activated.
Problems with opening a bank account
As easy as it may seem on paper, you may face corporate account opening problems in France. Below are some of them –
- Your business plan – Coming up with your business plan may not be an easy task. Your business plan must be very detailed and contain all the relevant information such as what type of business, the location of your business, your initial capital etc. The most important thing is that after you have prepared the business plan, you would need a qualified accountant to go through the plan before submitting this plan to your banker. You can only open the bank account after the person has given the approval. This is likely to cost you.
- Language – The French are very proud of their language so you must be able to speak the language or have someone who can assist you. As mentioned above, even the business plan needs to be in French.
- Full details needed – You would need to provide extensive details of the shareholder of the company, its directors etc. If the company that you are setting up has a parent company in another country, you would need to provide details of the parent company such as company history, financial performance of the company, its assets etc.
You would also need to provide background of the directors including education, a copy of their passports and their resumes.
- Address – You need a proof of address that your company is operating from. You must provide a utility bill or any other document that proves the address. If you are unable to provide a business address, there are some companies that rent mailbox address that you can use.
- You cannot open an account online – Although nowadays there is the choice of opening an account online, you need to be at the bank branch in person to open a corporate account.
Although there seems to be a lot of challenges in opening a corporate bank account in France, the measures taken by the banks and the banking system in France is to protect the banks as well as to avoid any misuse of the banking system especially for money laundering or funding of terrorism.