Doctoral candidate: Melanie van der Linden
Research track: Accounting & Financial Management
Start date: October 2014
Supervisors: prof. dr. Kees Camfferman & prof. dr. Karel Davids
The Accountancy Profession in the Netherlands, 1960s to the present
After almost seventy years of continuing effort, the Dutch accountancy profession was given its long awaited legal recognition with the adoption of the Wet op de Registeraccountants (WRA) on June 26th, 1962. The accepted legislation provided for the establishment of the Nederlands Instituut voor Registeraccountants (NIVRA) as a public organisation authorised to administer the first Dutch register of accountants. In order to free the profession from so-called bunglers, the title of ‘registeraccountant’ – the Dutch appellation for a chartered accountant – would become protected by law, while the right to perform statutory audits would be reserved to registeraccountants only. This formal recognition of the accountant's competence was considered to be a milestone in the development of the accountancy profession in the Netherlands. In the decades following the implementation of the WRA, the Dutch accountancy profession has undergone significant change concerning both its responsibilities and practices on the one hand, and its role within society and relationship with other parties on the other hand.
Despite a number of generally acknowledged changes over the years, detailed historical research on the recent developments in the Dutch accountancy profession remains limited. The various books and articles published do not add up to a comprehensive analysis with a balanced treatment of both specific events and long-term transitions. Therefore, this research aims to present an integral study of the accountancy in The Netherlands since it gained legal recognition. This project is in the first place focused on the question how the Dutch accountancy profession developed since it received legal recognition in the early 1960s, followed by the question how this development can be explained. In order to do this, the accountancy profession will be positioned within the wider historical context of the Dutch society. This research will be divided in a number of sub-questions considering the relative importance of a diversity of factors, including changing views on regulation and government, responsiveness of the organised profession and its key individuals, adaption of new business strategies and the effect of global processes like globalisation, changing economic conditions or the occurrence of major events such as economic crises and accounting scandals.