The search for financial information
Public information is available to learn more about a company:
- the original articles of association
- the debt statements
- the management report that accompanies the tax return.
The Sirene directory, the RCS and the balance sheets (registries and INPI)
First reflex: know your client and evaluate their financial strength
The SIRENE directory
SIRENE stands for "Système Informatique pour le Répertoire des Entreprises et des Etablissements". This database is managed by Insee, it is the official directory for the registration of companies. All professional entities involved in economic life are now listed in www.sirene.fr.
Insee assigns to each unit (company, entrepreneur, administrative department, etc.) at its creation a unique nine-digit numerical identifier called Siren and to each establishment a unique fourteen-digit numerical identifier called Siret, which begins with the Siren to which it is attached.
Thanks in particular to infogreffe.fr, you have access, in return for payment, to administrative and accounting information on companies registered in the trade and company registers (RCS) kept by the commercial court registries.
You can thus consult the Kbis extract of a company, its annual accounts, the history of its deeds filed with the RCS, some of which may be indicative of a delicate situation (such as the minutes of a general meeting noting the loss of half of the company's capital), and finally its debt situation (which specifies the pledges and even the privileges of the Social Security and the Public Treasury and the guarantees taken by its creditors)
The INPI's role is to keep the National Trade and Companies Register (RNCS) and to centralize all useful information on French companies. You can thus, at the INPI (www.inpi.fr), check that your company names are available before protecting them, monitor your competitors or partners, and order the documents necessary for the life of your company.
Publicly accessible databases
A number of other sources, such as Coface Services (www.cofaceservices.fr), Altares (www.altares.fr), Euler Hermes Sfac (www.eulerhermes.fr), can add value to public databases by cross-referencing sources.
Business information companies.
When the financial stakes are important or when the debtor has left without leaving an address, it is possible to resort to specialized companies to obtain a thorough investigation of the solvency or a new address on the customer, individual or merchant. The most important ones are grouped within the Association des Acteurs de l'Enquête civile (A.A.E.C. www.aaecfr.com and list of member companies).
To obtain information on a partner, you can also contact your own bank, which has many information tools, including access to the Banque de France rating, a sort of credit rating given to each company.
Charade - Treatment of Post Office movers.
It identifies the old addresses of people who have just moved and replaces them with the corresponding new addresses. Access to this file is made through distributors approved by the Post Office (the "National Address Service" www.laposte.fr/sna/).
Estocade - Post Office database.
This is the file of old addresses of individuals who have moved within the last three years and whose mail forwarding contract has expired. Depending on the size of the company's database, processing can be done directly by the company or by a service provider approved by the French Post Office (see also the SNA www.laposte.fr/sna/ ).
- Company.com ( www.societe.com )
- Manageo (www.manageo.fr)
- Scores and Decisions (www.scores-decisions.com).
- Check (www.verif.com).
- Free reports from the newspaper "Les Echos" (www.bilansgratuits.fr).
- VigiEntreprise (www.vigientreprise.com).
Specific databases with restricted access
The National Irregular Cheque Register (FNCI).
The FNCI centralizes reports of lost or stolen checks and records the bank account numbers of prohibited persons, the references of closed accounts and the characteristics of counterfeit checks, in order to prevent the fraudulent use of checks.
The file of bank and similar accounts (FICOBA).
Managed by the Direction Générale des Impôts, FICOBA records the declarations of opening and closing of accounts, made by persons depositing securities or cash.
The declaration to FICOBA is made by the bank within one month of the opening or closing of an account (art. 164 FB, art. 164 FC and art. 164 FD appendix 4 of the French General Tax Code for accounts in France - art. 1649-A of the French General Tax Code for accounts outside France).
In addition to banks and financial institutions, only judicial authorities, bailiffs acting with an enforcement order, and agents of the General Tax Directorate are authorized to consult FICOBA. These consultations are limited by legislative exemptions to the rule of professional secrecy.
The central file of unpaid checks (FCC)
The FCC is a file managed by the Banque de France to list people who have been banned from issuing checks (due to banking or legal reasons) and whose access is reserved to financial institutions. The FCC file also includes people who have misused their bank cards. Each financial institution or bank is required to consult this file when opening an account or subscribing to a means of payment (checkbook or bank card).