Exchange-project accon■avm

Successful partnership with German and Belgian partners

acconavm has organised a third successive international exchange project with Belgian and German accounting firms Bofidi and Dornbach. For three weeks, employees from each firm exchanged cross-border knowledge. It’s a successful collaboration that helps all three partners enhance their international service provision and expertise.

International consultancy is becoming an increasingly important part of the accounting profession, also for acconavm. CEO Peter Feijtel explains: “We have a growing client base that does business in Germany and Belgium and with organisations located in these countries. That’s why, in 2014, we signed a partnership agreement with accounting firms Bofidi in Belgium and Dornbach in Germany. It’s a good opportunity for our staff to exchange knowledge across borders and to break through linguistic and cultural barriers at the same time.”

Benefits for clients

Mr Feijtel continues: “The initiative also benefits our clients, since the exchange of knowledge improves the quality of the services we provide to those who do business abroad. It also means we can give clients who aren’t yet internationally active more scope to look beyond their borders.”

Feedback from exchange candidates

Three accountancy professionals from acconavm, Bofidi and Dornbach accepted the challenge to spend three weeks working at one of the partner firms across the border. See how they got on below:

Melissa Iman, Junior Tax Adviser at acconavm, Maastricht

“Our Maastricht office has a large number of German clients, so it was only logical for me to do the exchange with Dornbach in Koblenz. And it was a very worthwhile experience! My German improved and I became more aware of differences in business and social culture. I’m now also more knowledgeable about the German tax system, gaining important knowledge that I can use to the benefit of our German clients.”

Thomas de Roo, Senior Accountant at Bofidi

“When I was a student I always used to enjoy the experience of going abroad, so I didn’t hesitate for a minute when I was offered the chance to work at acconavm in Maastricht for a few weeks. One of the things I discovered was that personal income tax in the Netherlands is much more straightforward than it is in Belgium. There’s also far less hierarchy on the office floor in the Netherlands; colleagues are being treated more equally. And as for the claim that the Dutch are supposed to be stingy, I saw no sign of it! I had a really great time, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”

Roger Ritzen, Strategic Adviser and Agricultural Advisory Team Manager at acconavm, was Thomas’ supervisor: “Everybody benefits from an exchange of this kind. To begin with, it’s always good to get to know new people; you can help each other in your work and it also makes it easier to contact each other for help with issues in the future. And learning from other business cultures is always useful.”

Eva Horst, Consulting & Auditing Assistant at Dornbach

“I spent three weeks with acconavm in Maastricht and Veenendaal. That may not sound very long, but I learned a lot about the Dutch tax system and other regulations while I was there. Valuable knowledge I can now use to help clients who do business with the Netherlands. And if I need to know more, it’s now far easier for me to get in touch with our partner acconavm. Exchanges like this strengthen our cooperation.”

Eva was mentored by Jos Rutten, Tax Services Account Manager at acconavm, who adds: “Eva and I learned from each other during the exchange, not just in terms of professional knowledge, but also as regards business etiquette. It was a win-win situation! The exchange is a great way for us to work with Dornbach and Bofidi.”

Member of GMN International

acconavm is also keen to exchange international knowledge in other ways. To illustrate: it has been a member of GMN International network of accounting firms since June.

Arjen Tompkins, who chairs the international discipline: “Membership of this international network means we can quickly get in touch with accounting and tax advisory firms in 50 other countries. And they can contact us too, of course. It’s a unique opportunity for us all to pool our international knowledge for the benefit of our clients.”

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