French entrepreneurs win against government changes

Last updated: 22 April 2024 Views: 804
French entrepreneurs win against government changes

French entrepreneurs fought and won against the government’s changes to the online company formation procedure which had caused chaos for business and ended up in the hacking of the website resulting in huge delays.

The French government launched an online one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs at the beginning of 2023 which was meant to cut down on French bureaucracy by streamlining the procedure from having to go through six different departments to just one. However, the new set-up – which had been voted for in 2019 as part of the Pacte law – caused an even bigger mess of red-tape by directing entrepreneurs through three different websites just to simply add or change company details.

Then to add insult to injury, the site was hacked so that the entire French business community couldn’t access the service at all. See our article Entrepreneurs in France face delays due to hacked site

Concerns had been expressed months before the launch by entrepreneurs, accounting companies and lawyers who were worried that a change to the system (which had worked well up until then) could cause complications if not delivered properly. But the government ignored these red-flags and despite a four-year run-up in preparation, the system was launched and business community’s worst fears were realised – the procedure was more convoluted than before. On the previous system it was possible to access the website and make as many updates on a registered company as needed for one fee only. However, the new system only allowed for one change at a time – meaning time-wasted on multiple log ins and a fee charged for each separate change, even for the same company.

An outcry ensued and, due to the large amount of protests by the French business community to politicians, the French government eventually backtracked and put the system back to the way it was before. They have promised a new launch of the streamlined system at the end of June 2023.

Related article: How to Start a Business in France in 8 Steps

Company formation expert and CEO of Euro Start Entreprises, Jean-Baptiste Puyraud, is cautious about the future of the government’s supposed one-stop-shop system: “After nearly eight weeks of difficulty after the launch, the government has decided to re-open the former system. All the lawyers, accountants and legal service providers we know contacted their regulators, ministries and local politicians and I think it made the government move back to the old system. The government have now told us that the new system will be launched at the end of June. We can only hope that the new version of the site will be faster, easier and performs better than the one launched in January!”

The spirit of revolution is always close to the surface in France, and this time the protests worked. However, the business community can only keep their fingers crossed and wait until June to see if the changes offered will live up to the promises.

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