Which numbers identify a company?

A company’s identification numbers are important, as they prove its legality to the tax authorities. SIRET, SIREN or APE also increase their credibility with their contacts. Customers and financial or business partners have more confidence in a company that can provide this information. These must appear on all administrative and commercial documents, particularly contracts and quotations.

Company SIRET

The SIRET number stands for Système d’identification ou répertoire des établissements. Composed of 14 digits, as shown here, it includes the 9-digit SIREN number and the 5-digit NIC number. It is issued by INSEE when the company declares its activity to the CFE or Centre de Formalité des Entreprises. It is used to identify different French companies. Associations can also obtain a SIRET number once they have been registered with the Prefecture.

The SIRET corresponds more precisely to a company address. It is therefore possible for a company to be assigned a SIRET for its head office. It will have an identification number for each of its branches. INSEE sends the SIRET by post after the registration process. The document is called K for auto-entreprises and sole proprietorships. For other types of company, it is called Kbis.

This identification number justifies the legal existence of a company. It appears on all documents issued by the company, whether quotations, invoices, pay slips or employment contracts. Companies must also mention their SIRET on their website. This makes it easy to research the legality of the company’s activity. This recommendation also applies to potential suppliers, customers and business partners.

Company SIRET

Other company identification numbers

SIREN stands for Système d’Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises. Composed of 9 digits, it is assigned by INSEE to each newly-created company. It is therefore unique, as it identifies a company to the authorities. They are essential for checking payment of taxes and other charges.

The APE or main activity code identifies the company’s branch of activity. It consists of 4 digits and a letter. It is issued to the company at the same time as the SIREN and SIRET. A company can have several, depending on the diversification of its activities. This identification is mainly used for statistical purposes. It lists the various activities carried out by French companies.

Many other numbers are used to identify a company, such as the one assigned by the Trade and Companies Register when you register for this service. You also need to register with the trade register for craft activities. Companies trading with countries in the European Union must obtain an intra-Community VAT number, the composition of which varies from country to country. In France, this number is identified by the code FR. It also contains the 9-digit SIREN and the 2-digit computer key.

Paul Maillet

Paul Maillet

Paul est un journaliste belge spécialisé dans les sujets économiques. Il travaille en tant que rédacteur et reporter depuis 20 ans. Il a publié plus de 150 articles sur le thème de l'innovation et de l'esprit d'entreprise, tant en ligne que sur papier.