11th December 2014
MGI firms in the Netherlands have been able to retain strong fees despite a tough accounting landscape in the country. MGI is the fifth largest association by fee data, according to the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB), as revenues rose 66 per cent.
Driving profits despite pressure on fees
Speaking to the IAB, Edzo van den Berg, partner at long-standing MGI member firm Verstegen auditors and consultants, agreed that it’s still possible to drive profits despite the pressure on fees. He said: “The industry is exploring the possibilities to expand and deepen the advisory function. At the same time it’s essential to increase efficiency regarding basic processes such as administration and the preparation of documents such as financial statements and tax returns.”
Verstegen, which has been part of the MGI alliance for more than 30 years, is adapting well to changes in the market and there is good prospects ahead. “We still believe that there are chances to distinguish ourselves from competitors and accomplish future growth,” adds Edzo.
He notes how the firm is able to distinguish itself from competitors as financial and tax regulation becomes more and more complex, which "increases the potential risks for the entrepreneurs".
"Consultancy skills throughout the whole organisation will be crucial in the near future," adds Edzo.
Foreseeing challenges and adapting to change
Part of the jump in fee income was down to the addition of Amsterdam’s B&P Performance Group to the alliance.
Erik van der Kooi, tax advisor at B&P, says that while there has been pressure on fee income for the last five years, the firm has been able to adapt to challenges such as the non-accounting firms being able to offer some competing services.
“A big department store chain has announced to start to deliver bookkeeping services at very low prices. So commodity accounting services are facing a big challenge in the Netherlands,” says Erik.
But B&P foresaw the challenges and began changing the way it works back in 2009.
“At that time we called it ‘Accountancy 2.0’. We decided to focus on adding value to our customers. We ask [for] more entrepreneurship from our employees,” says Erik, who adds that the firm has this year started a wide scale ‘social innovation’ process to develop goals with employees and help them achieve them.
B&P also does more than just the standard accounting, auditing, consulting and legal services.
“In 2014 we started a project on delivering more financial planning services to our customers,” says Erik. “Furthermore we have developed IT systems that help our customers to gain more up to date financial information and to simplify their evaluation and coaching process of their employees. In 2015 we expect more turnover through these value adding services.”
Gaining more international business
Erik is keen to develop partnerships with other firms in the alliance, particularly overseas. He says: “We also believe that we can gain more international clients through our active participation in MGI. Through MGI we are now also able to deliver accounting and consultancy services worldwide.”
To contact Edzo at member firm Verstegen auditors and consultants click here, and to speak to Erik at member firm B&P Performance Group click here. Or to find out more visit their firms' MGI World member profile pages via the links above.