Characteristics of the Road Transport and Logistics Sector

Intense competition, the sensitivity of costs to fuel prices and vehicle maintenance, tight deadlines from clients, the road transport and logistics environment demands precise management, which requires rigorous general and analytical accounting.

Due to its cross-functional nature across various services, logistics is crucial for the entire value chain and must link them as efficiently as possible.

The road transport sector, whether for goods or passengers, is highly regulated legally, socially and fiscally.

The management of a haulage company naturally requires that one of the authorised representatives holds a haulage licence, a light transport licence for vehicles of less than 3.5 tonnes GVW and a heavy transport licence for the use of a fleet of vehicles of less than or more than 3.5 tonnes GVW. When setting up a transport company, a declaration of honorability and a proof of financial capacity must be submitted to DREAL (i.e. Regional Directorate of the Environment, Development and Housing).

The specific taxation of the road transport sector is characterized by the axle tax applied to vehicles, the TICPE (Internal Consumption Tax on Energy Products) on fuel, which is partially refundable under certain conditions, VAT on tolls which is deductible for transport companies, and common taxes applicable to other sectors like the CET (Territorial Economic Contribution).

The specificities in social matters are governed by the collective agreement and mainly concern the equivalence regime, the calculation of effective working time from the tachograph, and the distinction between short-distance and long-distance drivers determining applicable working hours and professional expenses.

The management of working capital and the financing of fleet renewal are critical aspects that company directors incorporate into their company’s management parameters.

We have clients whose activities are linked to the light, heavy, and logistics transport sectors, in both accounting expertise and audit services. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to offer you comprehensive services that address your concerns.

As a chartered accountant and statutory auditor, we provide a variety of skills to support your road transport or logistics business

Our personalised service extends beyond bookkeeping and auditing to anticipate your needs and keep you informed of social and tax regulation updates, enabling us to implement relevant solutions.

As statutory auditors, we adopt a constructive and flexible. We conduct substantive tests and review your processes in collaboration with your teams to establish a relationship of trust and provide recommendations for ongoing process improvement.

The company’s growth in accounting and statutory auditing relies on the technical assistance provided by a multi-talented and frequently-trained team. Our partners, chartered accountants and statutory auditors, are close by, available, and attentive to your needs to assiste when required.

Support for your company and its managers as a chartered accountant for your road haulage or logistics business.

Accounting Management

Our accounting and auditing services for your road haulage or logistics company primarily involves providing support to:

  • Create or acquire a road haulage, passenger transport, or logistics company.
  • Secure your margins through regular and precise accounting monitoring.
  • Assessing your performance by implementing cost accounting where appropriate.
  • Optimize your financial resources, including external financing.

To ensure the reliability of the financial information produced, we assist you in implementing an effective internal control system as well as the tools needed to monitor margins by activity.

If your haulage or logistics company is a subsidiary of a foreign group or owned by venture capital firms, we, as your chartered accountant, will produce reports periodically for the fund providers.

Tax Management

We handle the preparation of both recurring and one-off tax returns. We assess your business’s eligibility for any tax credits that may apply to the road transport or logistics sector, provide assistance with tax audits, and keep you updated on tax legislation and changes in the various Finance Acts.

Social management

Houdart A&C has acurate knowledge of the collective agreements applicable to road transport and logistics activities.

We prepare the payrolls for employees of our clients operating in this sector. We can support you with URSSAF audits, complete the DSN, and can manage salary payments to your staff.

Our services extend to affiliations with relevant provident organizations in your company’s sector.

We can advise you in the event of a dispute with one or more employees, and can refer you to one of our recommended labour lawyers if necessary.

Legal Assistance

Our legal deparment can assist you with the daily and exceptional legal tasks associated with managing a company. Additionally, we are also available to provide you with all the advice that, as a manager of a road transport or logistics company, you may need as part of the conduct of your business.

Our legal mission encompasses : the annual legal secretariat, drafting of specific acts, minutes of ordinary and extraordinary general meetings, meeting notices, amendments to the articles of association (such as transfer of registered office, corporate name, etc.), and formal procedures at the registry of the appropriate commercial court.

Additionally, we provide assistance with company contributions, transformations, mergers, and demergers.

Due diligence

When an opportunity for external growth arises, we can carry out an acquisition audit of the target, either as advisors or as statutory auditors, prior to your decision.

Executive support

Our mission extends beyond preparing your company’s balance sheet. For family businesses among our clients, we assist the company directors in managing their assets and liabilities. This ensures that any choices related to the business that affect their assets and liabilities are the best for them and their family.

Our broad range of skills allows us to primarily support you with your personal tax returns. We prepare your French income tax returns and, if applicable, your property wealth tax return.

We can assist you in selecting your individual and group health care policy as well as “heavy” provident insurance. We ensure that contracts formalities include coverage for the risks of tax and social security adjustments.

If necessary, we can assist you with your personal tax audits.

Purchasing property for your business can be an interesting way for you to reconcile the interests of your business with the development of your personal assets.

We work with the business managers from the initiation of their property investment project, through selecting the investment structure, to the preparation of the necessary documents for financing organisations.

We have a wide network of professionals specialising in insurance brokerage, notary services, and lawyers specialized in social and tax matters which we can mobilize to complete our support.

Finally, we assist our clients in exploring various options for social security regimes and methods of remuneration to optimize the tax and social benefits for the company manager.

MyUnisoft, digital, collaborative and innovative accounting software

We have an innovative, efficient and collaborative accounting software, which serves as a genuine marketplace having an open API. It can connect digital neobanks, revenue tracking, CRM, EDM, data analysis, or payroll software tools mostly used by entrepreneurs.

With our collaboration agreements with leading banking institutions, we can arrange an automatic collection of your banking flows in EBICS format directly from your bank.

We can offer your accountancy team our software to collaborate on your financial data in real-time. Additionally, we provide full accounting support in instances in case you do not have an accounting service.

Grâce aux accords conclus avec la plupart des établissements bancaires, nous pouvons mettre en place avec votre banque une récupération automatique de vos flux bancaires sous format EBICS.

Useful links

  • Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers (French National Road Transport Federation) ;
  • Comité national Routier (French National Road Committee);
  • Fédération Nationale des Transports de Voyageurs (French National Federation of Passenger Transport) ;
  • Organisation des Transporteurs Routiers Européens (French European Road Hauliers’ Organization) ;

Frequently asked questions about the road transport and logistics sector

What are the requirements for establishing a road haulage business?

To establish or take over a road haulage business, you must possess the appropriate goods transport capacity, which depends on the PMA of the authorized vehicles (light or heavy haulage capacity). In addition, your company needs to register with the DREAL as a transport operator. This requires adherence to the conditions of good standing, professional transport capability, and financial capacity required at the company level.

What are the conditions for recording major maintenance and overhaul provisions?

The provisions for major maintenance can be accounted for and are tax-deductible if they are expenses of significant importance that need to be spread out over a certain number of financial periods. This is because they would represent an excessive expense in a single financial period, and they must meet the conditions for creating a provision. Noteworthy requirements include the need for the works to be identified precisely, resulting in a probable resource output and capable of being programmed regarding their nature and estimation.

What are equivalent hours ?

The “heures d’équivalence” system is used to determine actual working time in certain sectors, such as transport, where working hours include periods of inactivity during working hours. Under an equivalence system, any excess working time by an employee exceeding the legal duration is considered equivalent to the legal working time.

What is the difference between a long-haul and a short-haul employee in the road haulage sector ?

Long-distance drivers are those assigned to services that require them to take at least six daily rest periods per month away from their residence.

On the other hand, “short-haul” drivers are those whose services require them to take fewer than six daily rest periods per month away from home.

What is the collective agreement applicable to road transport companies ?

The national collective agreement for road transport and auxiliary transport activities of 21 December 1950 (IDCC 16) applies to all employees employed by companies, groups, or professional bodies engaged in the transportation of goods or passengers by road..

What are the reasons for using an accountancy firm with expertise in road transport? with expertise in road transport ?

Anticipating tax risks, complying with social regulations and collective bargaining provisions, setting up provident contracts, supporting managers in dealing with a changing environment, defining relevant performance indicators, performing due diligence on identified targets, establishing high-performance processes for monitoring rigorous general and analytical accounting – are all topics on which a firm with solid experience with road transport companies can support you, beyond the monitoring of your accounting, taxation and balance sheet.