Digital nomad,  TDM

Test and advice from the online accounting firm ECL Direct (+ promo code)

If some are interested in their services and want to receive a quote, click here and use the promo code WATUSSI2019. By sponsoring you, we will get 100 € discount each on ECL direct services.

When our company was created 4 years ago, it was a sideline activity in parallel with our salaried activities.

It was then out of the question to manage the accounting myself.

My logic: it’s going to take me a long time and I’ll end up making mistakes that will cost me more than calling in an expert.

So I set out in search of the ideal accountant.

In the midst of a “paperless” approach, I was looking for a service provider who would dematerialize my accounting as much as possible.

And I found my happiness quite quickly: ECL Direct, an accounting firm based in Loire Atlantique.

After 4 years of using their services, I am able to recommend them despite the few criticisms I may have.

I decided to do an article on the subject because this accounting firm seems to me perfectly adapted to the digital nomads who have a French company.

Who is ECL Direct?

ECL Direct is an accounting firm with 120 employees based in Loire Atlantique.

I discovered them after a simple Google search.

What appealed to me: their paperless philosophy and remote management.

If it scares some people, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Having a salaried activity at that time, and now living in a nomadic mode throughout the world, it was an indispensable element for me.

The creation of MY company

Among the services offered, ECL Direct can take care of the creation of your company.

This service was invoiced at the time (in 2013) at the rate of 340 € HT (to which must be added some costs: filing fees at the registry, publication of the legal notice, …).

Everything is included: the drafting of the statutes, the obligatory certificates, the filing at the registry, the drafting of the legal notice..

So I didn’t have to do anything to create my company: I received the file by mail (one of the only times when paper is essential) and returned it to ECL Direct once it was signed.

After a few days, my company was created! I don’t dare to imagine how much time I would have spent if I had taken the steps myself.

What I entrusted to ECL Direct

I entrusted ECL Direct with all the accounting procedures:

– Bookkeeping –
Tax and social declarations (VAT, apprenticeship tax, DAS 2, …)

Drawing up the annual accounts (balance sheet, profit and loss account, …)
– Dividend payment procedures with the relevant social declarations


A “tax audit” insurance is included in the service and offers support in case of an audit (I’m keeping my fingers crossed, I haven’t needed it yet…).

ECL Direct also has a social service for the management of hirings, work contracts, pay slips, … I have not yet used this service.

For these services, I currently pay 2 187 € HT / year. The rate may vary according to your legal status, your activity, the volume of operations, ..

What’s left for me to do?

Although ECL Direct does most of the work, I decided to do the transmission of the scanned accounting documents and the qualification of the bank movements myself.

The firm can do the work, but it obviously increases their fees.

I’ve been in the habit of scanning all my documents for a long time, so I didn’t have any particular concerns.

What remains is the qualification of the movements. ECL Direct has a software that connects to your professional bank account and retrieves all the bank movements. My job is to indicate the nature of the income or expense for each transaction.

This is what the interface looks like.

And the qualification window of an operation.

So I have to define the qualification of the movement, check that the associated VAT rate is correct and upload the supporting document.

I scan my documents as I go with the Evernote smartphone application. I do the qualifications once a month so I don’t accumulate too much. It takes me 1 to 2 hours per month: quite acceptable.

The software has improved a lot since I started using it: it is now possible to create automatic rules. For example, if there is the word “Uber” in the label, the qualification “Travel expenses” is automatically associated. I only have one more click to validate.

How do I interact with ECL Direct?

I have a dedicated contact person in charge of my file. ECL’s organization means that the contact person isn’t very important. In fact, I’ve changed contact persons twice: the first time I changed companies and the second time I went on maternity leave without causing any friction.

We inevitably lose a little bit in customization, especially since I have never met any ECL Direct employee physically since the beginning of our collaboration! But paradoxically, I find it reassuring to think that my accounting does not depend on one person and can easily be changed from one hand to the other.

Interactions are finally quite rare because my activity is simple and I have become more rigorous in my treatment.

In the beginning I was regularly bounced around because I was lagging behind on my qualifications, now everything is rolling on its own.

I receive an e-mail each time a teletransmission (VAT or other) is going to be made so that I validate what is going to be declared.

I contact my interlocutor by e-mail when I have a specific question or when I receive a letter from the administration to which I have to answer.

The exchanges are a little more numerous at the time of the closing of the accounts where additional documents may be requested from me.

Finally, I have a telephone appointment for the presentation of the accounts once the closing is done.

Some points for improvement

If everything works globally, I can’t omit a few points of improvement.

– The 100% dematerialized aspect corresponds perfectly to what I’m looking for but there is no “sure measure”, we are on a standard service. ECL will not be pro-active in advising me on this or that optimization. They will be able to answer perfectly if I have any questions (they also have a legal department that can be called upon) but the initiative must come from me.

– From time to time, I have to do a reminder following one of my unanswered e-mails. This is quite rare because in this case I can contact my contact’s supervisor or the person in charge of customer relations. I can also call the switchboard. It hasn’t happened often but it’s never pleasant.

– The first year, during the preparation of the accounts, my interlocutor asked me a list of long documents like the arm (sending receipts, invoices, various questions, …). I spent hours finding invoices that were sometimes more than a year old. I then asked for these documents every month so that I wouldn’t have to go through this situation again, but I did it again the following year, it started again. The situation has completely changed since ECL’s software allows me to upload my documents and associate it with a bank movement. Since then, the requests for documents at the end of the fiscal year have drastically decreased.

A coupon code to use

Following this article, ECL Direct proposed me a coupon code to put at your disposal. With this coupon code, you can benefit from a 100 € discount on their services.

To take advantage of it, you must request a quote and use the promo code WATUSSI2019.


Despite these few points of improvement, I am very satisfied with the services of ECL Direct, which manages my accounting remotely, without paper while I am on the other side of the world.

In 4 years, I haven’t encountered any major problems and all declarations are made on time without my having to worry about it, which considerably frees up my administrative mental load.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions or other feedback.

If some are interested in their services and want to receive a quote, click here and use the promo code WATUSSI2019. By sponsoring you, we will get 100 € discount each on ECL direct services.


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