The accounting obligations of the auto-entrepreneur

Since January 1, 2016, the auto-entrepreneur no longer exists, the micro-entrepreneur has replaced it. However, in reality, the term auto-entrepreneur has persisted. By becoming an auto-entrepreneur, one creates an individual business, subject to the micro-fiscal and micro-social regime.


If everyone knows that this system imposes simplified accounting on auto-entrepreneurs, many of you are still asking questions:

  • What are your obligations?
  • How to do your accounting when you are self-employed?

In this in-depth guide, we'll explain all that (and more) to you!


What does the accounting of a self-employed entrepreneur consist of?

Streamlined accounting

The micro-entrepreneur who benefits from the micro-enterprise or micro-social social regime must keep simplified accounts, implying in particular the absence of the obligation to present an annual balance sheet.


We only require the non-modifiable and chronological recording of receipts and purchases (Source), in books that we detail below.


The accounting of a self-employed entrepreneur is therefore very simplified, if we compare it with commercial companies (see the accounting of a SASU for example).


Mandatory billing

The invoice is a commercial and accounting document. The invoice details the services or goods sold and establishes the terms and conditions.


The invoice must include mandatory information, article L441-9 of the Commercial Code provides for them. The main ones are:


  • Name and address of the parties.
  • Date of sale or service.
  • Quantity and precise name of the products or services.
  • Unit price excluding tax and any reductions granted.
  • Payment due date and penalties for late payment.
But other particulars may be mandatory due to specific circumstances.

  • The seller or service provider is a member of a management center or an approved association must add "Member of an approved association, payment by check and credit card is accepted".
  • The seller has a VAT exemption regime, he is required to add "VAT not applicable, art. 293 B of the General Tax Code".
  • In the case of a subcontractor, the latter no longer declares VAT, he is obliged to add "reverse charge of VAT" and "amount excluding tax".
  • Craftsmen or micro-entrepreneurs carrying out a craft activity for which professional insurance is compulsory, must add the mention of the insurance taken out for the activity.

The URSSAF has established a biller which includes all the mandatory information, and you will find here an auto-entrepreneur bill template to download.


The fine cannot exceed €75,000 for a natural person and €375,000 for a legal person. In the event of repetition of the fault within a period of 2 years from the 1st sanction, the maximum fine is increased to €150,000 for a natural person and €750,000 for a legal person...


The sanction is an administrative fine and not a criminal one, but the risks are high, and invoicing is therefore clearly part of the obligations related to the accounting of a self-employed entrepreneur.


Opening a dedicated account: mandatory or not?

Opening a dedicated account is not mandatory if your turnover does not exceed €10,000 for two years.


If you have opted for the micro-social regime, one year after declaring the creation of your micro-enterprise, you must open a dedicated account for all financial transactions related to your professional activity.


You can also use a current account for more reduced benefits, but this account must be separate from the personal account.


Keep supporting documents

Another accounting obligation of a self-employed entrepreneur, you are required to keep all invoices or supporting documents relating to your purchases and sales of goods or services (invoices, bank statements, purchase orders, delivery slips, checks, cash register tapes, cash slips, cash fog, etc.).


The shelf life of accounting documents for a self-employed person is 10 years.


Declare your turnover

The declaration of turnover takes place only once a month or quarter.

The penalty is fifty euros per declaration not made.


Special case of the EIRL

The EIRL is a sole proprietorship with limited liability. Two cases are to be distinguished.


The EIRL subject to IR:

  • It is bound by the accounting obligations of the auto-entrepreneur, if its turnover is below the threshold of the micro-enterprise. €170,000 for sales activities, provision of accommodation and sale to be consumed on site and €70,000 for other services.
  • If, on the contrary, it falls under the simplified tax regime, if its turnover is between 170,000 euros excluding tax and 789,000 e euros excluding tax for sales or between 70,000 euros excluding tax and 238,000 euros excluding tax for services. It can opt for super simplified accounting. Thus during the financial year, it only records disbursements and receipts, at the end of this accounting year, it is required to record receivables and debts.
  • In the case of EIRLs with a liberal vocation, if it comes under the micro BNC, it must keep complete autonomous commitment accounting (like commercial companies). But it must keep a cash accounting in favor of the tax administration.

The EIRL subject to IS:

  • When an EIRL opts for corporation tax, it is required to establish accrual accounting like commercial companies. Its accounting obligations are the same as those provided for the simplified actual regime or the normal actual regime. In terms of corporation tax, the micro regime is not intended to apply.

The mandatory books of the auto-entrepreneur in detail

The mandatory books when you are self-employed, there are two: the recipe book and the purchase register. Other accounting obligations also exist, we present them to you below.


The recipe book

It represents the only obligation to keep accounts for auto-entrepreneurs. Indeed, you must keep up to date, as and when you collect, a journal.


You must record there day by day and in chronological order the origin and the amount of the various receipts collected. You only record receipts here. The recipe book is therefore not cash accounting.


However, receipts corresponding to retail sales or services provided to individuals may be entered at the end of each day for their total amount provided that their unit amount does not exceed €76. See BOFIP issue 100 for more information. When you deposit several checks in the bank that correspond to sales, you have the option of entering only the total of the deposit slip in the receipts book.


Each entry in the recipe book of a self-employed entrepreneur is also required to include mandatory information such as:

  • The collection date
  • The amount
  • The origin of the recipes
  • The nature of the recipes
  • The mode of payment above 1000 € payment in cash is prohibited.
  • References of supporting documents.

The purchase register

This register is not an obligation for all auto-entrepreneurs, only for sales activities, housing supply and sale to be consumed on site.


A self-employed person does not deduct his self-employed expenses, the usefulness of the register of purchases is only to calculate the total amount of the expenses. By subtraction, you get your profit.


You must present the register of purchases in the event of a tax audit, the tax administration having the possibility of recalculating a result taking into account the purchases.


Like the recipe book, this register mentions all purchases and expenses of a professional nature.


A particular formalism is also required:


It must summarize, year by year, and in chronological order, the expenses of the company.

It must contain more or less the same information as in the recipe book, namely:

  • The date of payment
  • References of supporting documents
  • The name or denomination of the supplier
  • Nature: material, service, product…
  • The amount
  • The method of payment
  • How to keep your accounts in a micro-enterprise
  • Auto-entrepreneurs have two choices: either do their accounting themselves or hire an accountant.


Do your own accounting

There are three options for doing the accounting for your own business yourself: by hand, using Excel or software.


Either by hand

You have the option of preparing your self-employed accounts on paper, provided that the entries cannot be modified.

  • You will have to use a support with numbered sheets, and fill it without blanks and without erasures.
  • There are also ready-made recipe books and purchase registers on the market.
  • The administration provides digital files that allow compliance with accounting obligations. The recipe book and the purchase register are presented in the form of a table.

Either with Excel

In theory, you cannot use an Excel file for the accounting of a self-employed entrepreneur, because it is modifiable. However, the chambers of commerce and industry offer an Excel file, which suggests that this ultimately does not pose a problem.


Either with a management software for self-employed

Accounting software is not so useful, as the accounting of a self-employed person is simplified.


A management software on the other hand could be, because it meets several needs. Stocks, quotes and invoicing, cash flow are likely to be a which appropriate software would provide a solution.


In our opinion, software like Freebe (for self-employed freelancers) or Tolteck for artisans is a good investment (time saved, limited risk of error, etc.). To find out more, you can take a look at our selection of self-employed invoicing software.


Get an accountant

Let's be clear: you have no obligation to hire a self-employed accountant.


There are, however, some advantages, which encourage some self-employed people to take on an accountant:

  • Do not forget the deadlines for the declaration of turnover or that of VAT if it is due
  • Benefit from advice in the event of exceeding the auto-entrepreneur ceiling, change of status, etc.
  • Take advantage of management software (often included with online accountants, for example).
  • An affordable price for the accounting of self-employed entrepreneurs (from 30€ per month)

In summary, self-employed accounting is within everyone's reach. It's up to you, depending on your time constraints and your knowledge, if you prefer to do it yourself, or delegate it.

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