better understand the startup ecosystem

To help chartered accountants better understand the specific start-up ecosystem and thereby enable them to provide appropriate advice, Shine and Pennylane are publishing a joint white paper.

What do startups expect from their accountant? What are your needs? How can the accountant respond to this? This white paper explains it all.

This white paper has the particularity of having been written by both a financial agent, Shine, and a company manager, Pennylane. Our goal ? Bring you our experience and practical advice, but also all the specific vocabulary of the world of start-ups, so that you can speak your language.

TPE / start-up: what are the differences?

Startups have transformed our daily lives. From now on, we consume services produced by these companies of a new type every day, whether to inform us, order a meal, work or entertain ourselves…

But what exactly is a startup? Legally, at the time of their creation, they were very small companies (TPE), but they were distinguished by a high degree of innovation, often technological, but also by a higher-than-average level of uncertainty. They are often defined as companies characterized by the desire to try a new activity, in a new market, with a risk that is difficult to assess. [1]. Steve Blank, one of the most recognized authors in this field, describes them as temporary organizations in search of a business model that can industrialize, be profitable and allow for growth.

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Why is the accountant the right contact for start-ups?

Due to their training, experience and knowledge of the global business environment and its problems (in particular those of VSEs-SMEs), statutory auditors seem to be the preferred contact for start-ups.

Looking for funding

In terms of financing, accountants have an essential role in the process of making financial information reliable. The intervention of the statutory auditor is, in fact, a real guarantee of credibility for the various investors.

But the statutory auditor can play an active role in supporting innovative companies in their search for financing, identifying the financing solutions and players best suited to the project and participating in the (This white paper provides a summary of key fundraising steps).

In managing your money

Accounting professionals have all the cards in their hands to support their clients, and especially start-ups, in terms of cash flow. The leaders of VSEs/SMEs are massively asking for this type of service: according to the National Council of the Order of Official Auditors, the main expectation expressed by the leaders of VSEs-SMEs (clients or not) is related to the close support of specialists-accountants in the day to day of the company [2]. Technically, this mission requires no skills other than those already available to accounting firms. The main condition is the presence of recent financial information, updated in real time.

These missions can be offered to any client or prospect in compliance with the ethical and regulatory standards in force, namely in terms of prospecting.

Work with tools tailored to meet the specific needs of start-ups

While it is true that start-ups share certain problems with traditional VSEs-SMEs, their very nature makes their support very special. First, they have much higher than average funding needs and have to manage their liquidity in a context of high uncertainty.

Some chartered accountants have adapted more easily to these unique problems by adopting tools such as those offered by Shine and Pennylane.

These tools allow them to have recent and up-to-date financial information in real time. It is not possible to advise a business leader and, a fortiori, a start-up, whose environment is constantly changing, with information from several months.

Finally, the statutory auditor may also propose a payment mission delegation. Funds always pass through the company’s bank account, but the company has specific access to issue money orders. Payment and collection actions must be previously validated by the customer. This type of mission helps to reinforce the full service position of the statutory auditor, which is highly appreciated by managers and, in particular, by start-up managers.

[1] Bpifrance, What is a start-up?

[2] Markets for the Accounting Profession, CSOEC, 2020 Edition

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