Augefi 2023: An audit and accounting firm with human know-how for VSEs and SMEs
July 4th, 2023
Sébastien Giordano, director of Augefi, discusses for FinMag the keys to the success of this audit and accounting firm which has existed for more than 40 years now, and has seen its size multiply by 6 over the past 15 years.
Originally, very local and relatively small, the accounting firm Augefi expanded from 2008, and more in particular in 2016, with the creation of the French Business Advice (also known as FBA): the English-speaking branch of Augefi created for foreign customers wishing to set up an activity in France.
Written by Marie-Ange Nodar
What are Augefi’s services and areas of expertise?
Our services and areas of expertise are close to what a classic French accounting firm can offer.
We manage everything related to tax, social, social law, payslips, we also manage the legal aspects for our clients, i.e. general meetings and everything in regards to the life of the companies: moving of headquarters, capital increase, etc.
In addition, we take care of everything in relation to the management of the entrepreneur’s assets. We have a branch dedicated to buildings-assets management, always with the idea of supporting the entrepreneur, as it is really what matter to us; being able to support the business manager in all projects.
We have developed several hubs of competence which can serve all our customers, or hubs of expertise depending on the typology of our customers:
- The agricultural field
- A branch dedicated to foreign clients wishing to set up an activity in France (French Business Advice) and for which we have a fully English-speaking team available. The services of a classic accounting firm are provided here at FBA, but exclusively in English.
- Investment-related to furnished rental: rental for individuals, or even rental for businesses with equipped premises.
The firm’s strategy was to start from the basis of the profession of chartered accountant, relatively well known and traditional (taxation, accounting, and social law), and try to add skills and needs detected for and by our clients in order to provide an offer with the most complete services possible.
The more time passes, the more technology takes a central place in our profession. We are convinced at Augefi that it is human support that makes the difference, knowing how to always create a relationship with our clients. Our employees also have the human and relation aspect at heart, which is important as we must be able to give advice and maximum support.
Who uses your services?
Our core target is the VSE-SME, mainly companies between 0 and 50 employees. It can be individual entrepreneurs, some freelancers, few companies’ directors. These are often local shops or SMEs of county or regional size, very few national groups. We are anchored in the economic heart of our territory.
The English-speaking division (French Business Advice) is different, since it is aimed globally, for people who wish to establish themselves in France, but not only in this region, and this is what makes Augefi unique. FBA makes it possible to get information, and to understand the French system with all its particularities. We therefore provide the foreign entrepreneur with the opportunity not to be held back by the language barrier, but we also educate them on the the French system, which is essential for a successful integration.
We therefore have a historical regional Augefi firm, in physical and human contact, anchored in the local economy and we have in parallel, an English-speaking hub: FBA (French Business Advice) which aims more at national or even international, but always VSE-SME oriented.
What makes your firm successful year after year?
I think that we can credit our success to the competent and complementary teams that we have succeeded to build, as well as to our common desire to maintain quality and close relationships with our clients.
We try to be very proactive on everything related to technology, document scan-recognition, working-from-home, e-declaration, data import. These allow us to speed up and streamline our work, but we never lose sight of why we are here, which is customer relationship.
We cannot be compared to fully-dematerialized firms as their services are more like an interface than a relationship. It is in this position that we want to remain in. Our digitization has not taken place on a dehumanized model, on the contrary, it allows us to free up time to maintain this customer relationship that we cherish.
One of the other strengths of Augefi is to have been able to develop its skills in order to offer many more complementary services to our customers, thanks to oui social, legal, agricultural, asset management, furnished rental, IT, communication & marketing hubs. This allows our customers to get answers to many of their essential business needs.
I have always thought of my job as a technical one, and I realize that it is also and above all, psychological!
There are no two identical entrepreneurs: in two similar cases, two entrepreneurs will take two totally different paths, and this is where, as a chartered accountant, one must know how to explain and adapt the solution to the client or accept that the customer will choose another option because it suits them better.
This is Augefi’s strength, taking the time and getting to know our clients well, in order to provide them with advice that really fits their situation, understanding their issues and their desires. We are highly rated on Google, our reputation is second to none. In terms of communication, it’s quite easy, our customers speak for us!
What do you think are the challenges to come for a firm like yours?
Technological changes: they have a huge impact on our work. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a first element, for the moment, it still is a little blurry, but which will probably shake up our field, and in the shorter term, the electronic invoice by July 2024.
The evolution in the behavior of customers and employees: customers ask us for more quick-reaction, adaptability, understanding of their needs and specific cases, employees as well.
Development of CSR in the broad sense: adapting our company to its social, environmental, and also societal responsibilities.
These three areas are fascinating, they represent real challenges to be met.
And then we hope to be able to continue our growth, starting with our workforce: we have integrated an IT manager, a communication manager, and a human resources manager, to promote the well-being in the company, which is essential to smoothly run our business.
Finally, we will continue to follow our desire, our strategy, our driving force: to support entrepreneurs and be there for them in their projects.
Written by Marie-Ange Nodar for FINMAG, translated in-house by French Business Advice.
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