Which bank do I trust? (not joking) & seeking accountancy help

Hello, I'm about to launch a new tiny business, a mobile streetfood restaurant/takeaway/traiteur (deli) Le Lunchbox de Pandore - or "LP" for short in French title-speak.

So, I need some "eLP!" please.

My dilema is, I have to create a brand new small business account in order to register us as a SARL and I don't trust ANY of our esteemed financial institutions to....

a.give me a fair rate of charges

b.not run off with my very hard earned profits when the banks crash again

I am not going with my own €ankers Credit Agricole, as my personal business advisor/investment banker there refused to loan to us on the grounds that the profits might mostly be coming from the UK for the first few seasons.

I am tempted to chose CIC, not "parce-ce-que le monde bouge" at all, but because their business advisor here in my own town, although refusing the loan application, was at least positive about the project, seemed interested, helpful, civil and not impatient with my language deficiencies.

Of course, personal advise & a positive attitude is priceless. So CIC are front runners so far.

Seeing as how we are probably receiving the loan from the charity ADIE, we could use whatever bank they are linked with, however, they are equally likely to tell me to do this myself as I guess they won't be wanting to seem in any bank's pocket.

Any advice, experience or suggestions of criteria welcome...when I read the gumf the banks publish, it's all pretty vague and promisey, or so full of small print that I get bored and drift away to La-La land.(oh, I am already living here)

Our turnover will be small, tho registered for VAT in france

I'm also looking for a bilingual certified accountant, to help set up the first year's books and some simple accounting software that can be used on my laptop so if anyone has any recommendations or wishes to contact me i'd be very glad to hear about that too.

I've been given a grant to pay for the software so I can afford professional stuff - YAY!

I might do that, seems like a good idea.

Thanks Claire.

Pip hi
Think your reply to me above was meant for Jo. I wAs just 2nding Steves recommendation of Sarah Vedrenne as an Accountant to contact.But thanks! I am well set up here For my banking with HSBC.used them 1st as Midland Bank over 40 yrs ago and never changed since, they are. On eminent for inter/country internet banking, as can do all myself. but thanks. Given. Urgent state of my brain don’t think they’d look at me if I ever needed a loan - :slight_smile: Ut thanks for the input, so I hope Jo reads it.

Jo, have you thought about perhaps. Contacting Sarah anyway, she might be able to recommend a bank that would consider your application. A good chat with her, if successful may get you your loan and her a new client! Good luck !

Please do have a careful look here before plumping for a SARL I hear the cotisations for a SARL are terrible. If there is just you or you and a married OH there could be a better option. Auto or Micro Entrepreneur is not the only option apart from a SARL.





I am more in the kind of 80€ reclaimed/refurbished from Emmaus sort of market. I've yet to see anything that could be described as posh within my recent budjet! If I were extremely lucky I suppose i could find one in an auction, but I doubt it would work and would probably not be worth paying the postage to find out.

I suppose when i say tiny, I mean the start-up budget is tiny

yes, please Pip I would like the number. perhaps they might even consider revisiting my loan application. But they sound very helpful.

My french is quite good, I am pretty fluent and have no trouble with most professional people. I suppose i would be ok with an accountant too, it's just the technical terms and the potential for ripping me off makes me wary.

The Credit agricole advisor I saw was very impatient, stressed and uninterested. He did that thing where you're halfway through a sentence and having a bit of a pause to remember the french word for something and he tries to finish it for you - chosing the wrong word entirely. Then when it didn't work, he got even more impatient.

I can't do AE, my grant rules it out, so does the likely turnover. Yes charges sociales are a big scary barrier- I know. But I'm desperate for work and this is probably one of my only chances at using my talents before I get too disabled or old. I have to go for it and will just have to go bankrupt if it fails. I do realise they will take everything off me, but like i say, i have nothing much left to lose.

I shal add EBP to Ciel and the other sugestion - great, thanks for that x

although it is a street food business, we won't be operating in many French streets - because maries are dead set against it. For example, Poitiers (small city) says absolutely no way will we ever get a license to trade on a city street outside normal market hours outside normal market boundaries. The only exception is if we owned private land in the city and applied for a separate license...which would probably get turned down.

Our trade will be at special events - ticketed

Hello karen & Claire...I shall look at Ciel thanks,

The reason i have to create a SARL is because I am disabled and I am getting a grant from AGEFIPH, who support people with disabilities into self-employment. The rules discount auto-entrepreneurs from eligability. I'm not sure how it would apply if i were doing it alone, but i'm not.

Also, we will be operating at lage & medium sized outdoor events, so being a SARL will give us the professional approach and reputation we need. people will trust us more, I think.

I am also working with my family and i think a SARL will give us a structure that will help us avoid conflicts more. I have to be over 60% owner of the company to receive the grant/s

I am also going for a BRDE - Bourse Reginale Development Entreprendre - which is also a national grant (subvention) available via regional development agencis.

I am expecting & hoping that our turnover will exceed the AE limit anyway.

Don't know why you should 'aspire' to a Mac. Macs are now cheaper than like for like Dell. And they look a whole lot cooler too.

thanks for the tip - I shall google windows alternative to sage or something - I am not posh enough for a mac :( but I do aspire to be ;)

thanks Bob, glad to see yours is approachable. Mine is usually empty of clients and full of advisors who tell you very conflicting advise depending on the time of day and person you see. There is usually a big long discussion between advisors after you ask a question, and they get really heated and argue with each other before telling you - for certain - that they really do know the answer. Then 4 weeks later they write to tell you the opposite.

Thanks Steve and Shirley, for the recommendation - I also like the sound of La Poste.

I did rule them out to start with, because they don't fund start-up loans so I couldn't approach them to open the new account on that basis, but since we are now not going to get a start-up loan directly from a bank any more they seem worth a re-look

By the way, just in case anyone thinks of persuading me to waste any more time, it's pretty pointless anyone suggesting we apply for a start-up loan. I'm 52, female, foreign, disabled and jobless. So, no. After 7 refusals i'm pretty sure No French bank will touch me with a finacial barge-pole. I have a list of lame excuses, including my name not being the same as my husband.(I don't have that in writing but i wish i'd recorded the conversation) I do have land as collateral worth more than the loan I need. That appears to mean nothing.

I agree with Pip, Credit Agricole English speaking service. Ask for David Carbonel, he sought out all our insurance issues as well when we could not get any info from a company I must not mention on this site. Not that I have an Axe to grind

I am also curious as to why a SARL. for a Tiny Business. Micro Entrepreneur would probably suit all your needs It is interesting to note that if you are not a SARL you don't have to have an accountant but can do your own returns and TVA. I use the Ciel accountancy package for Windows ( purchased from amazon France), and in the past have used API. I changed systems as it was cheaper to purchase a new system than pay for an upgrade on API. We are artisans but not builders so that program works well for us.

Hi Jo,

Most banks depend on who you deal with at the branch - I'm with crédit agricole professionaly and they're very good but I have to keep an eye on certain things and fight my corner from time to time (most of their staff are my customers too). But you'll be lucky to find a professional advisor who speaks English. La poste are good and cheap and national for a day-to-day account. My accountant is excellent but doesn't speak a word of English but I wouldn't expect her too, she's a chartered accountant and that's what I need. As for starting a sarl - are you aware of the forfait for charges sociales etc - if it's a small business you'd be far better off going down the auto entrepreneur route. I run an SNC and paid the minimum 6000€ for charges sociales to the RSI - it doesn't depend on income, it's a forfait. I currently pay around 12000e a year. As an AE you simply pay a percentage of what your turnover - a much safer way to go. Oh and frenhc accounting software is soooo specific - you'll have to go for a french software pack - I use EBP. Their accounts are soooooo complicated compared to UK accounts, no surprise there then...! :-O

Credit A are helpful.

Best of luck with the business.

Great idea....street food.

Would work here in St Emilion.


I can't help with your dilemma but could you just answer a question?

Curious to know the reasons behind starting a "tiny business" as a SARL? Would not becoming an autoentrepreneur work to start with, upgrading to SARL (or something) once you have grown?

Many thanks