Information about the application of a Certificate of Professional Competence

The accountancy profession in the Netherlands is regulated in two Acts, namely:

  • the Audit Firms Supervision Act (in Dutch: Wet toezicht accountantsorganisaties - Wta);
  • the Auditors Profession Act (in Dutch: Wet op het accountantsberoep - Wab).

The Audit Firms Supervision Act introduces public oversight by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) on audit entities that provide audit reports that are relevant to the Dutch capital markets. Since 1 October 2006, audit firms need to have a licence from the AFM in order to perform statutory audits in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands are two types of auditors allowed to perform statutory audits: the accounting consultant (in Dutch: accountant-administratieconsulent - AA) and the registeraccountant (RA) both registered with the Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants (in Dutch: Nederlandse Beroepsorganisatie van Accountants (NBA)). The NBA is governed by public law, appointed by the government to represent the general interests of the AA and RA profession and bound by law to ensure that the profession is practised properly.

According to the abovementioned acts only the auditor who is a registered auditor with the NBA and who is also mentioned on the list of audit firms which have a license of the AFM can perform statutory audits in the Netherlands.

When a foreign auditor wishes to perform statutory audits in the Netherlands he or she must acquire membership of the NBA or AFM. In order to become a member the foreign auditor must first apply for a certificate of professional competence based on article 54 Wab.

The Accounting Programme Exit Qualifications Committee (in Dutch: Commissie Eindtermen Accountantsopleiding (CEA)) is the autonomous administrative authority that handles applications for a certificate of professional competence.
The registration process with the AFM is a matter for the individual audit firms.