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September 14, 2007

Other congress news

Other congress news

• Dutch Baker Tilly International member firm Berk has initiated some aggressive tactics in the war for talent. At the third annual European SME/SMP congress in the Netherlands this month, managing partner Hans Koning said Berk hired a portable video wall and visited Big Four firms during office hours to play a video advertisement in an attempt to entice people to work for the mid-tier firm. Koning said about 80 percent of new Berk staff come from the Big Four. “I tell you, the people that come from the Big Four are very well educated and we thank them for that,” he said.

• As long as liability is how it is now, there will be no innovation within the industry, Deloitte Netherlands chief executive Roger Dassen told the SME/SMP congress. The president of the Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Registeraccountants, Willem van Wijngaarden, concurred. “I want to be able to do my job, I want to accept some risk, but not at the risk of bankruptcy,” he said.

• European Grouping of International Accounting Networks chair David Maxwell told the SME/SMP congress that by the time they meet next year the term ‘network’ might have a regulatory meaning. “Or several,” he quipped. In a workshop on networks and networking, there was widespread uncertainty as to what constituted a network. “One regulator may say you’re not a network, another may say you are,” Maxwell said, adding that ‘network’ has to do with liability. FEE SME/SMP working party member Jens Poll suggested the issue is not so much the network definition, as how a firm presents internationally.

• Delegates at the SME/SMP congress were asked to voice their agreement or disagreement on several statements. The suggestion that just because they are small, SMEs should not be automatically exempt from the expectation that they should have to demonstrate they are responsible corporate citizens, was met with widespread support; only two delegates disagreed. Most delegates disagreed with the suggestion that auditors working for SMEs cannot compete with other financial service providers because of too many restrictions. The suggestion that SMEs need advisers, not auditors, met with a mixed response – about half agreed and half disagreed.

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