The importance of the chartered accountant to the company

Accounting expertise

The figure of the chartered accountant is inseparable from the world of business, but his or her function remains unclear to many entrepreneurs and managers.

In this article, we’ll try to explain in detail the role of the chartered accountant in the company, as well as his or her training, and the company’s legal obligations in terms of accounting.

What is the role of the chartered accountant?

As the job title clearly indicates, the chartered accountant is first and foremost a specialist in business accounting. Its main tasks involve :

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax and social security returns
  • Drawing up the annual balance sheet and tax return

An external chartered accountant can also be commissioned to carry out an audit, certifying the accuracy of the company’s declarations and the regularity of its annual financial statements.

⚠️ Good to know:

When a chartered accountant signs a professional document, he or she assumes responsibility within the framework of the contract with the company.

Accountant's liability

The accountant’s other missions

The chartered accountant is a versatile professional with a wide range of skills in tax, social security, legal and asset management, who can become a valuable partner for the company director.

In this way, the chartered accountant can support the entrepreneur at every stage of the company’s life.

Starting a business

Entrepreneurs choose to call on a chartered accountant for advice on :

  • Choice of legal status
  • Financing solutions
  • Manager’s social status (self-employed or employee)
  • Tax optimization
  • Legal obligations

Although the chartered accountant has no operational role when a company is set up, his valuable advice can help you prepare for the next steps.


The chartered accountant plays a vital role throughout the life of a company. In addition to bookkeeping, he can also be involved in :

  • Economic and financial management
  • Drawing up pay slips and social security declarations
  • Legal advice
  • Managing corporate assets
  • Tax optimization
  • Company digitalization

Often, the chartered accountant is also the manager’s point of contact for administrative formalities, such as the Annual General Meeting, or one-off legal assignments, such as a change of registered office or a capital increase.

Transfer or liquidation

When the entrepreneurial adventure comes to an end, the chartered accountant continues to provide invaluable advice to the executive wishing to manage his or her exit as effectively as possible.

Whether you’re selling, transferring or winding up your business, a chartered accountant can provide you with expert advice on valuation, taxation, asset management and legal obligations.

What training does a chartered accountant receive?

Training to become a chartered accountant is highly flexible, with many bridges between courses to encourage students from different backgrounds. For example, it is possible to enter the accounting field with initial training at an engineering, management or business school…

However, this openness is not to the detriment of a perfectly organized curriculum, guaranteeing quality training and the knowledge required for the accounting professions.

Young chartered accountant

This training consists of 3 stages:

  • Diplôme de Comptabilité et de Gestion (DCG) at Bac +3 level: this degree enables you to work as an accountant, management controller, assistant to a chartered accountant…
  • Diplôme Supérieure de Comptabilité et de Gestion (DSCG) at Bac +5 level: the Master’s level opens the door to positions as financial analysts, consultants or heads of accounting departments.
  • Diplôme d’Expertise Comptable (DEC) at Bac +8 level: this level, similar to a doctorate, enables you to work as a chartered accountant (independent, partner or employee), but also as a statutory auditor or CFO.

The Chartered Accountant is therefore a highly qualified professional.

To find out more about careers as a chartered accountant or statutory auditor, click here !

⚠️ Good to know:

To qualify for the Diplôme d’Expert Comptable, students must have 3 years’ professional experience in an accounting firm, as part of a paid internship.

Is it compulsory to have a chartered accountant?

Many entrepreneurs ask themselves this question, without finding a precise answer. However, the law is clear: companies are under no obligation to use a chartered accountant. This is entirely optional.

On the other hand, every company has a number of accounting obligations.

The entrepreneur can therefore choose between three options:

  • Keeping your own accounts is often a sufficient solution for micro-businesses, as it eases their obligations.
  • Hiring an employee to keep the company’s accounts is a solution that allows the manager to delegate these tasks, but requires him/her to retain full responsibility for the declarations.
  • Call on the services of a chartered accountant, either through an external firm (the ideal solution for VSEs and SMEs) or as an employee (for larger companies).

Why have a chartered accountant if you don’t have to?

Although there is no obligation to do so, the vast majority of companies call on the services of a chartered accountant for a variety of reasons:

  • Benefit from the expertise of a specialist in accounting, legal, social, tax and administrative matters.
  • Guarantee that financial documents and declarations are correct.
  • To be able to focus on our core business.
  • Benefit from a wide range of expert advice.

How much does a chartered accountant cost?

Beginning entrepreneurs are sometimes reluctant to call in a chartered accountant, for fear that the cost will be too high for their business. Yet the rates charged are generally affordable, and the gains – in terms of time, advice and errors avoided – make it a worthwhile investment.

There is no such thing as a “standard price”, as accountants’ fees vary according to :

  • Details of the assignment
  • The volume of work required
  • The quality of the documents provided
  • The accountant’s experience
  • The location of the assignment (online, on-site or at the office)

As each company has different needs, a chartered accountancy firm will draw up a fee proposal based on the specific features of the assignment.

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