THEO VERWOERT ON INAA’S GLOBAL ASSOCIATION
If the activities of a firm extend beyond the national boundaries then membership of INAA is well worth it, says registered accountant Theo Verwoert of VWG audit & assurance in the SRAadviseur magazine. His firm is a member of SRA International, INAA member in the Netherlands. According to him, through INAA you can offer your clients low-cost access to a reliable international association of accountancy firms.
Until a few years ago VWG did not belong to an international association, but the need for this arose when more and more mainly audit clients were developing cross-border activities. “Initially we wanted to set up our own network. That took a disproportionate amount of energy and did not really produce satisfactory results. We came across INAA via SRA. Through this organisation we and our clients can do business with screened accountancy firms all over the world.”
Verwoert has found that through the INAA association you can quickly contact foreign firms with your questions. According to him you can also safely refer a client to an associated partner. “As soon as our clients spread their wings internationally, we can help them via the INAA association. Although this does not yet have full coverage, so far we can always make the right choice and put our clients into contact with a professional and reliable firm abroad”, Verwoert continues.
He thinks it is important that you can meet your client’s requirements. “This often means that we have to organize this ourselves. We do this, and we then assume that everything goes according to plan. But what should you do with a general question such as ‘I am looking for an accountant in America’? We are still able to find a suitable solution in such a case. Sometimes it does not work out so well. Not because it is a poor firm, but simply because it does not click.” When Verwoert is asked to put a client in contact with a firm abroad he acts as an inter-mediary. Once the connection has been made he leaves the next stage to the two parties. “We do not come between them. It is basically their relationship, in the financial sense too.”
FLEXIBLE COOPERATION WITH SPANISH FIRM
“For a number of years we have been working closely for an internationally operating client with an accountancy firm in Spain. This cooperation with Eladio Acevedo Heranz of the audit practice Eudita Persevia from Madrid has been very flexible. Because they are also an SME accountancy firm, they soon understood what was needed. Our client maintains the contact themselves and in principle there is nothing for us to worry about”, says Verwoert.
ELADIO ACEVEDO HERANZ OF THE AUDIT PRACTICE EUDITA PERSEVIA AUDITORES DE CUENTAS SL FROM MADRID, SPAIN
Eudita Persevia is a Spanish audit practice, set up 25 years ago and accredited by the Spanish government to audit small and medium enterprises. Our clients also include organisations such as hospitals and international clients, for example in the automotive and food sectors. Over the past six years Eudita Persevia has been one of the top 15 Spanish audit practices”, says Acevedo. Eudita is the Spanish network that also belongs to INAA.
The firm has already been a member of INAA for ten years. Eladio Acevedo Heranz has been on the board of INAA for three years and is responsible for quality and audit. Eladio Acevedo says: “Theo Verwoert asked several Spanish firms for an audit proposal for a client and our firm ultimately received the assignment.
Verwoert is satisfied with the quality and accuracy of the associated firms. “We almost always get a quick response, but in a few cases communication is difficult. Not because our foreign colleagues have an insufficient command of English, but because of the pronunciation. Upon verbal contact a misunderstanding can soon be evident, and sometimes a conference call is a real challenge. There are never any problems with written communication.”
Although membership of INAA has many advantages, Verwoert can see that the commercial spin-off is limited. Why is that? They probably have fewer clients who operate internationally. No point, because what counts for us above all is the strength of a reliable international association with which we can provide extra service for our clients.”
Before VWG joined INAA, the process of finding a reliable international partner was quite time-consuming.
He gives the example of a search for an accountant in Sweden. “That started with Google. Then we did some research, went to visit them and started working with them.
After that we had to wait and see if we would really fit in with one another. By making use of the strength of INAA everything became easier and you also know for certain that you are doing business with a carefully selected partner.”
INAA does a lot more besides facilitating international cooperation. Congresses and other meetings are organised worldwide, where the members meet one another. The organisation’s website also fulfils a clear need and the webinars attract a lot of interest. Verwoert stresses the importance of personal contact. You have to make and maintain this contact in the first instance, he says. The advantage of INAA is that one of the annual meetings is always in Europe. “I could not make the last meeting in Mumbai, but a few years ago I did take the train to the annual event in Berlin. In our daily practice we notice that contact proceeds quickly if you do not need one another. On the other hand you can always fall back on the INAA association when you are looking for a partner abroad.”
Interview by SRA International in SRAadviseur Magazine.