Getting started in the entrepreneurship adventure can seem complicated. Whether for the entrepreneur, or the accountant who will accompany him throughout the process, there are many questions. What financing will be requested and at what stages of start-up construction? Which interlocutors should be contacted? What is the role of the chartered accountant in helping his client start a young company as solid as possible, which remains a risky venture?
To all these questions Amélie Maillon, BPI France regional innovation delegate, Patrick Bertrand, chief operator officer of the Holnest company and successful self-entrepreneur, and Olivier Arthaud, chartered accountant and statutory auditor, on the day of the chartered accountant change.
Start-ups face a greater risk of failure
The three speakers first started by remembering what a start-up, a “young shoot or start-up company” is to use French terminology. Olivier Arthaud began his remarks by highlighting what its essence is: a company that grows gradually, with several stages of creation and construction.
The chartered accountant brought great moments in the lives of these new companies. The perception stage, for example, is where ideas and concepts are placed, with market research and “validation of competition”. An important stage, also underlined by Patrick Bertrand, because “the fight or target must not go wrong”. Building a business plan and an economic model is another of these important moments when the startup is built. Before, of course, when it comes to launch, then the growth of the company.
“A start-up involves different stages of life, often with more or less success, risks, problems leaving due to funding because, by definition, a start-up is not gets revenue when it is created, so that there are charges to be paid ”, summary by Olivier Arthaud. Hence the importance of identifying the different stages of construction, and knowing how to seize the best opportunity to get the right financing.
The importance of “good timing”
Depending on the different stages of the process of creating a start-up, its founder (s) will need to approach different financiers. Three workshop speakers stressed the importance of timing, an element that seems logical and obvious. According to the objectives, the passage times in the formation of the company and the objectives of the investors will be different in nature. The “family office” will invest in its own funds, when the individual, the “early investor”, will put money into the company in smaller amounts, explains Patrick Bertrand, who also mentioned investment funds. In the midst of this search for financing and the right engagement, “good timing” is important when building a company. Therefore, it is necessary to contact the right interlocutor, at the right time, to get the right financing that will be used accurately, at the right time, to grow the company.
Different ways of funding start-ups
This is how Amélie Maillon and Patrick Bertrand got to the heart of the matter, and certainly detailed the different ways of funding start-ups. If the general manager of Holnest, a company of Jean-Michel Aulas, mentioned personal financing and that of relatives, friends, acquaintances, during the fundraiser, the regional innovation delegate of BPI France naturally mentioned the bank tricolor. The goal, in one type of financing as in another, is to optimize the structuring of start-ups. As for BPI France, Amélie Maillon first indicated that investments are possible, regardless of the stage of development of the newly created company.
The bank is moving towards companies with clear guidelines, set by its representative: the premium is given on technological innovation, service, process and creation. All projects that refer to a creative idea are eligible. Support is offered to start-ups and companies with projects considered innovative, where “gray matter and time spent on development are spent.” Example given by Amélie Maillon, “BPI France could fund the screenwriters of a video game, or an original screenplay.” Support takes the form of funding, money, but also human, with support going up to the project manager, market research assistance; a plural accompaniment …
Projects accepted by BPI France receive funding within the framework of subsidies, in the form of donations, with no reimbursement at first. The amount of this donation can reach a maximum of 30,000 euros. BPI is not a solitary investor, but part of projects in which the business manager has a personal contribution, and/or other stakeholders are present. The funding plan must be balanced. Clearly, Amélie Maillon recalls, “BPI should have visibility into the feasibility of the start-up project. At that time, it will invest 50% in the latter, with financing in two stages, at the beginning of project and at completion.The bank may, of course, reinvest at a later time during the creation of the company, during an intermediate stage; when going international, for example.
The bank can provide start -up loans, in addition to fundraising, and intervene through the Autonomous Patient Fund. “As time goes on, BPI will demand more new loans and the stability of entrepreneurs. “. To contact the bank,” enough the first elements, such as a presentation “, suggests Amélie Maillon, who specifies that the establishment of 54 investment centers in France allows to have first comment on the feasibility of a loan within 48 hours .. A quick delay, lasting a month until the relevant committee decides on an investment bank.
Patrick Bertrand completes the exploration of different actor-investors by detailing two more groups: business angels and investment funds. Both can intervene, here again, at some stage in the life of a start-up, even if business angels intervene in the start-up stages, in projects less interested in investment funds. “These people can bring anything but money; they can send “smart money”. »
Investment funds are another way for beginning owners to find funding. These funds can be mediated at the start-up stage, or during creation and development, in venture capital and development capital. Of course, all of these funds interfere with certain criteria, which are sought mainly by companies with recurring profits.
On the whole, a start-up can turn to many actors to get financing, hence the importance of being accompanied from the beginning of the process by a chartered accountant, who will be able to find the best interlocutors, at the right times.
The important role of the accountant
For Patrick Bertrand, the chartered accountant has a role in creating a company, because he has knowledge of people, a network, and oversees business plan guidelines to support entrepreneurs and prevent bad relationships. The role of the chartered accountant is therefore central to funding a start-up. As part of the fundraising process, its presence is essential, supporting Olivier Arthaud, chartered accountant and auditor. “Trust must be established with the manager or the management team, so that the investor can say to himself that“ those are the people I want to be with myself. ”There must be confidence in the project, its level of innovation, and a assessment of competition, “he added.
The chartered accountant therefore has a role in advising the start-up manager to strengthen his project, consolidate the idea and model. He must have a long -term strategic vision. More importantly, he can help the business manager financially, even if “challenge him and push him to his limits”. A chartered accountant will target funding possibilities, with a transversal vision of the project. He is, in a way, the general practitioner of the company ”.