Information about the application of a Certificate of Professional Competence

Application procedure

A request for a certificate of professional competence follows a standard procedure that is described below. CEA has adopted policy rules regarding the issuing of certificates of professional competence. Download the policy rules.

  • Preliminary opinion

Foreign accountants who want to apply for a certificate of professional competence but have not yet sit the examinations in the Dutch code of conduct (i.e. aptitude test), also including Dutch law and rules and regulations with respect to the accountancy profession in the Netherlands can request a preliminary opinion from CEA whether their foreign accountancy qualifications will comply with the legal requirements as set out in article 54 Wab, paragraph 1, subsection a or b. The preliminary opinion has no legal effect regarding the issue of a certificate of professional competence by CEA later on.

In order to request a preliminary opinion from CEA the applicant has to fill in a form provided by CEA. For the preliminary opinion the applicant needs to supply CEA with the same information and documents that needs to be supplied with an application for a certificate of professional competence. 

The preliminary opinion becomes invalid when either the legal requirements or the learning outcomes of the Dutch accountancy education programs change. The equivalence of a foreign accountancy education programs to the Dutch accountancy education programs is assessed at the time of the application.

  • Examinations

An applicant must always sit the examinations in Dutch law and the professional code of conduct (i.e. aptitude test) with the NBA. For further information on the content of the examinations, possible exemptions and the organization we refer you to the NBA: by e-mail t.luinstra@nba.nl or by phone +31203010290. 

  • Submit an application

An application must be submitted in either Dutch or English through an application form (inside EU/EER or outside EU/EER) provided by CEA and be accompanied by legalized copies of all relevant documentation. This application is a request from an interested party for an order by CEA (article 1:3 Dutch Administrative Law). An application must be dated and signed by the applicant. The application also has to state if the intended registration with the accountancy register (NBA) is for an AA-registration or an RA-registration and/or registration as a statutory auditor (AFM). A distinction is made in the application procedure for applicants with accountancy qualifications from within the European Union and from outside the European Union regarding the evidence they need to present to CEA. Foreign accountants with accountancy qualifications from within the European Union must also supply a standard statement from a competent authority from their home country. Applicants must, next to documents regarding their foreign accountancy qualification, always include the testimonials of the examinations in Dutch law and the professional code of conduct (i.e. aptitude test) with their application. You can download the documents you need in the right column.

  • Handling the application

CEA will confirm the submission of the application to the applicant. When the application is not complete, CEA will ask the applicant to complete the application within six weeks. If this opportunity is not used at all or not satisfactorily, CEA can decide not to handle the application on the ground that it is incomplete or reject the application. CEA will assess whether applications fulfill the legal requirements for a certificate of professional competence and may arrange to have an external advisory committee render advice about the application. An application is decided on within eight weeks following receipt of the application form, unless CEA defers its decision in writing, stating its reasons. If the application requires a follow-up, because the application form has not been fully completed or not all required documents have been attached, then the decision period is deferred by operation of law. 

An application form can be submitted to info@cie-ea.nl or via Commissie Eindtermen Accountantsopleiding, P.O. Box 7984, 1008 AD Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

  • Issue of certificate of professional competence

CEA will issue a certificate of professional competence when an applicant meets all legal requirements. With the certificate of professional competence an applicant can apply for membership to the NBA. The applicant may lodge an objection to this decision with CEA. Download the objection procedure.

  • Appeal procedure

If you disagree with the decision taken by CEA concerning your objection, you may, within six weeks after the date at which the decision was sent, lodge an appeal with the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (in Dutch: College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven), P.O. Box 20021, 2500 EA The Hague. A notice of appeal must comply with the requirements listed in article 6:5 of the General Administrative Law Act. A registry fee will be charged for the handling of a notice of appeal.