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Accountants adjust their code of conduct

The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants (NIVRA) and the Netherlands Order of Accountants and Administration Consultants (NOvAA) have adjusted their codes of conduct while the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) had still been in the process of assessing their codes. More specifically, they have made adjustments to provisions that could have impeded competition between accountants.

Several provisions in the codes of conduct of the accountants have been deleted, such as the prohibition of comparative advertising and the prohibition of the practice of directly approaching potential clients. Another provision that has been scrapped is the one that forced accountants to fix their fees in proportion to the type and amount of the activities carried out. Also, more leeway is given to give 'second opinions', to take over an assignment, and to cooperate with other colleagues.

Since 2004, the NMa has kept a tab on the self-regulation efforts among architects, accountants, lawyers, and notaries. The NMa found that all of these professions had various provisions that could impede intra-professional competition. That is why the professional associations for architects, BNA and NSP, made changes to their self-regulation in 2006. In June 2007, the NMa released its final report on self-regulation among notaries. The NMa evaluates this year what the Royal Dutch Notarial Society (KNB) has done with the NMa's conclusions. With regard to lawyers, the NMa is currently analyzing its findings resulting from an earlier consultation round.