Vermetten Advisory: Pioneering the Future of Accounting with Enthusiasm and Proactivity

Business advisory Europe

The Vermetten Advisory team

You can’t help but be won over by the combination of enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism we encountered when Andrew and I spoke to Cas (Claassen), Michiel (Wirken) and Niels (van Raak) from Vermetten last week at the TGS Future of Accounting Interest Group.

‘We think what we do is the future of accounting and we want to share our story of Vermetten advisory’, says Cas as he took us through the OSGM (Objectives, Goals, Strategy, Measures) process he and the firm adopts, as well as the short cyclic rhythm they install, when working with new and
existing customers.

What you can’t get from the flowcharts and the diagrams of any model is the culture that comes with Vermetten. Anyone can talk you through a business planning process, but with Vermetten you get more.

As Niels says, ‘our specialists are on the speed dial of our customers – they have a problem, they give us a call – they trust us. Vermetten has 350 employees and we can respond to their concerns – but in one sense that was the problem, we were responding to problems, we were reactive and not proactive – we looked in the mirror and realised that we had to change to respond to the change in the market.’

And that’s when Vermetten Advisory was born.

Cas takes up the story, ‘people were asking us can you help us make the changes we need?’ Baseline accounting and auditing services were becoming more and more commoditised; customers can hop from one service provider to another so Vermetten needed to find a new way to add value’

Culture change

The first step to move to a more proactive policy was to change the way they handle their customers; Vermetten had to reorganise itself to match their clients needs. As Cas says, the Vermetten approach is ‘these are not my customers they are our customers and everything we do is focused around the
customer.’ What’s interesting about this approach is the starting point.

‘The entrepreneur and not the company is where the advice starts. The focus is on the personal rather than the company goals – that way we get the right balance,’ says Michiel. He gives the example of a client he once spoke to whose stated aim was to double turnover of his SME to 10 million euros. The client was fixated on the figure but didn’t give any reasons why. Michiel persevered and, by drilling down into the owner’s motivations, it eventually became clear that he wanted to be able to pass on the firm to his son and he thought that ‘10 million would be a good round figure to aim for’. Michiel quizzed him, ‘wouldn’t it be better to hand over a well-run, smaller company than one which is pushing itself to hit an artificial target?

So what happened?

The business owner agreed’, said Michiel smiling.

And that’s the sense you get when we spoke to them for over an hour about the subject. You really get the overwhelming feeling that Vermetten focuses on people’s needs – needs that so many entrepreneurs don’t even realise they have. Not only that, but the sense of responsibility the company has for its clients not only to give the right specialist advice but to help shape the future direction – and this takes a range of skills and aptitudes which go well beyond the technical expertise which comes with letters after your name.

Vermetten has built a team which understands that trust is earned and built over time and nurtured carefully through encouragement, tact, communication skills and – what struck us most – a real desire to act as guide and teacher. ‘All our experts are specialists in their fields – and of course you would expect that, ‘says Niels. But it’s one thing to be able to draw on specialists with all sorts of backgrounds and experience – it takes a culture of genuine teamwork to tailor the answer to the problem and that’s what we are happy to share at Vermetten.’

As the firm says, ‘Your mission. Our vision’

The Vermetten story ties nicely in with the latest TGS Global initiative: TGS Lab Process. Andrew explains, ‘TGS Lab Process has been launched by the network to help network members create their own story – one which Vermetten has proven to work’.

If you want to learn more about Vermetten and their journey, contact Cas Claassen on cas.claassen@vermetten.nl or +31 6 59866303 And if you are interested in finding out more about TGS Lab Process, contact Andrew or Marc.

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