The Netherland’s two accounting
institutes have signed a letter of intent to merge following
political pressure to simplify legislation governing the institutes
and to cement an increasingly close working relationship.

A merger between Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Register
Accountants (NIVRA) and Nederlandse Orde van Accountants
Administratieconsulenten (NOvAA) had not been expected to occur for
another two years.

The move will create a professional organisation with more than
20,000 members.

NIVRA spokesman Marc Schweppe said the merger was a logical
decision and now is the right time to speed up the process.

“There is some political pressure to arrange the profession in a
clear and efficient way. We have two different accounting laws in
the Netherlands, [one for NOvAA and one for NIVRA] which is pretty
complicated. We have recognised that both professions have been
working together much more closely in the past few years. So the
time is right,” he said.

Political support

Dutch Minister of Finance Wouter Bos is very much in favour of
changing the two existing accounting laws to one new law for both
institutes to make it more practical and efficient for all parties,
Schweppe said.

Efforts to merge the institutes about a decade ago failed due to
the intention to combine the institutes’ qualifications.

In the new merger the two institutes’ separate qualifications
will continue to coexist.

NIVRA members audit large and listed companies while NOvAA
auditors mainly serve SME clients. About 66 percent of NOvAA
members work as public accountants compared to 31 percent of NIVRA
members. NOvAA chairman Gert-Jan van der Wielen said both
organisations already worked closely together, such as in the
regulation of auditors, and the merger would provide a stronger
voice on behalf of the audit profession.

Detailed merger plans will be provided to members of both
organisations next year but no concrete timeline has yet been

Nicholas Moody