Characteristics of the distribution sector

Unknown markdowns, margin preservation, profitability of promotional operations, the relationship with the franchisor, personnel management, are the main challenges faced by those involved in the distribution and retail sector. Changes in consumer habits and their evolutions must be anticipated in order to offer products that align with market demand and maintain market share. The customer experience needs to be continuously reimagined and designed in a hybrid way, combining physical stores and digital channels.

The tools contributing to the production of financial information should enable a sufficiently detailed analysis to understand the composition of the cost and the evolution of the margin by product category.

The preparation of regular reports or intermediate situations is essential for financial supervision.

In accounting or auditing, various skills at the service of your distribution or franchised company.

Beyond our mission of bookkeeping or auditing, as a chartered accountant, we provide personalized service, anticipate your needs and inform you of the evolutions of the social and fiscal regulations related to your sector in order to implement suitable solutions.

As a statutory auditor, we adopt a constructive and flexible approach, based on substantive tests but also and above all on the review of your various processes, in collaboration with your teams, in order to build a bond of trust with them and to be a source of recommendations within the context of the continuous improvement of these processes.

The firm’s development in terms of accounting expertise and statutory audit relies on the technical support of a multi-skilled and regularly trained team, the proximity and availability of associate chartered accountants and statutory auditors available and attentive to your needs.

Support for the company and its executives as a chartered accountant of your distribution or franchised company

Accounting management

Our mission of bookkeeping or accounting review for your retail or franchise business primarily involves providing assistance in :

  • Creating or acquiring a retail business,
  • Ensuring the security of your margins through regular and accurate accounting monitoring,
  • Analyzing your performance through cost accounting if necessary,
  • Optimizing your financial resources, including external financing.

To ensure the reliability of financial information, we assist you in implementing effective internal controls and tools tailored to monitor margin by product category.

If your distribution company is a subsidiary of a foreign group or owned by venture capital firms, we generate periodic reports for the fund providers.

Tax management

We take care of the preparation of recurrent and punctual tax returns. We assess your eligibility for tax credits that may be applicable to your mass distribution or retail business. We accompany you during tax audits provide ongoing monitoring of tax legislation and its updates during various Finance Laws.

Social management

In terms of social matters, Houdart A&C has a good understanding of most collective agreements applicable to activities within the distribution and retail sector, given the diversity of the activities of the companies making up its clientele.

We handle payroll for employees affiliated with this sector, assist you during URSSAF inspections, prepare DSN (social security declaration) reports, and can facilitate salary transfers for your staff.

We handle the affiliation process with relevant provident institutions according to the branch of activity of your company.

In case of litigation with one or more employees, we provide advisory services and can connect you with a recommended lawyer for labor disputes (prud’hommes cases).

Legal assistance

Our legal department provides support in the day-to-day and extraordinary legal matters that arise throughout the life of a company. We are also available to provide any advice you may need as a distribution company manager in the conduct of your business.

Our legal mission includes: the annual legal secretariat, the drafting of certain acts, the drafting of minutes of ordinary and extraordinary general meetings, convocations, statutory amendments (transfer of company registered office, legal name, etc.), formalities at the registry of the competent commercial court, etc.

Furthermore, we provide guidance and assistance for operations such as contributions, transformations, mergers, and spin-offs of companies.

Finally, we provide guidance and assistance for operations such as contribution, transformation, merger and company split.

Due diligence

When an external growth opportunity arises, we are able to carry out, as an advisor or as auditor, an audit of the acquisition of the target prior to your decision.

Executive Support

Our mission is not limited to the assessment of your company. For our family-owned business clients, we provide support to the business manager in terms of patrimonial wealth management, ensuring that decisions related to the business that may impact their personal assets are optimized for both them and their family.

The diversity of our expertise allows us to assist you primarily with your personal tax returns. We prepare your income tax declarations in France, as well as any potential real estate wealth tax declaration.

We assist you in selecting individual and group health and heavy insurance contracts. We ensure that the formalism for implementing these contracts covers the risk of fiscal and social adjustment.

We provide assistance, if necessary, regarding your personal tax audits.

The acquisition of his company’s real estate is often an interesting way for the entrepreneur to reconcile the interest of his company with the development of his personal wealth.

We stand by the business manager from the initiation of the project, the decision-making process for real estate investment, the choice of investment structuring, until the preparation of the necessary documents to apply for funding from financing institutions.

We have a significant network of specialized professionals in insurance brokerage, notary services, social or tax law, whom we can engage to complement our support.

Lastly, we accompany you and explore with our clients various options for social security schemes and mode of remuneration in order to optimize the executive’s remuneration onthe fiscal and social level.

MyUnisoft, a digital, collaborative, and innovative accounting software

We have an innovative, efficient, and collaborative accounting production tool, a true marketplace with an open API that can connect to most commonly used apps by entrepreneurs, including digital neobanks, revenue tracking tools, data analysis tools, and payroll software.

Thanks to agreements with most banking institutions, we can set up automatic retrieval of your bank transactions in EBICS format with your bank.

We can provide your accounting teams with our software to work collaboratively on your financial data in real time. Additionally, We can assume full responsibility for accounting if you don’t have an accounting department..

Common questions regarding the distribution and franchise sector

What is the sales area subject to the tax on commercial surfaces?

The tax on commercial surfaces (TASCOM) applies to businesses operating a retail store, regardless of their legal form and the nature of the products sold.

Typically, only stores with a sales area exceeding 400 square meters are subject to the tax.

The sales area of retail stores, considered for tax calculation, includes spaces dedicated to customer circulation for making purchases, spaces used for displaying goods for sale and their payment, as well as spaces used by staff to display merchandise for sale. This definition also includes spaces for the removal of goods when the public can circulate freely.

Areas used for production, storage, and services that are closed to customers are not included in the determination of the total surface area subject to the tax.

The applicable rate depends on the establishment’s turnover. There is a standard rate, and certain companies, obliged to manage a large sales area, benefit from a 30% tariff reduction, in particular : stores selling furniture, vehicles, agricultural machinery, construction materials, flowers, plants, seeds, fertilizers, pets, and animal feed.

Is an intangible asset amortizable?

The cost of an intangible asset with a finite useful life is amortizable and should be allocated over its useful life. For example, this applies to a limited-duration prefectural authorization for quarry operation. However, an intangible asset with an indefinite useful life should not be amortized. The useful life of an intangible asset that is not amortized must be reviewed each period to determine whether events and circumstances continue to justify the assessment of an indefinite useful life for that asset.

What is the difference between ” business goodwill ” and ” business assets ” ?

The business assets should not be confused with business goodwill, as it is only a component of it.

The business goodwill is the set of tangible (goods, equipment, etc.) and intangible elements (customers, staff skills, leasehold rights, trade name, etc.) used to operate a commercial or industrial activity. They are often inseparable, and constitute their value.

The business assets is an intangible asset composed mainly of the customers, the trade name and the market shares. It groups together the assets acquired from the business which cannot be classified under other balance sheet items. It is therefore, residual compared to the identifiable elements of the business goodwill.

Are the business assets amortizable?

The Accounting Directive, adopted by the last ANC Regulation, assumes that the business assets have an unlimited duration of use and are therefore not depreciable. It is subject to an impairment provision in case of value loss. A depreciation test should in principle be conducted once a year, even in the absence of a value loss index. This presumption may, however, be reversed when there is an objectively foreseeable limit to the exploitation of the acquired business assets. In such cases, it should be amortized over its foreseeable useful life, or over 10 years if that lifetime cannot be reliably determined.

For simplification, small businesses may choose to amortize acquired “business assets” over a flat period of 10 years, without the need to determine if its lifespan is limited. The application of this measure exempts them from conducting an annual impairment test.

The tax authorities do not recognize the deductibility of depreciation of business assets unless it has an objectively limited lifespan. Article 23 of the Finance Act for 2022 introduced a temporary provision for deducting the recorded amortization related to business assets (and not to business goodwills) acquired between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2025.

Why engage a firm familiar with the specificities of distribution companies and franchises?

Beyond managing your accounting, taxation, and preparing annual accounts, a chartered accountant experienced in the distribution sector will be better able to provide the added value you expect as an entrepreneur. They can offer advice, optimize the tax and social consequences of your management decisions and remuneration, assist in choosing the legal structure for your company, and assess the financial risks associated with acquiring a distribution business or franchise.

As statutory auditors, we implement a constructive approach, in the context of a statutory audit, working collaboratively with your teams. This includes reviewing your internal controls and conducting substantive tests.