If your audit firm carries out statutory audits, such as auditing the annual accounts of a public company, you will require a licence under the Audit Firms Supervision Act (Wet toezicht accountantsorganisaties, Wta licence). You can request the licence from the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten, AFM). There are various Wta licences, depending on the type of businesses you audit. To apply for the Wta licence, you must follow AFM's procedure.
Training requirements, professional codes and codes of conduct
Your audit firm must comply with various professional and training requirements. Hence your employees must be trustworthy, expert and adequately trained, for example. They are obliged to respect confidentiality. You must safeguard your independence.
Duty of care with regard to external auditors
As the holder of a Wta licence you also have a duty of care. This means that external auditors affiliated to your firm must also comply with the requirements.
Register of audit firms
The register of audit firms lists the audit organisations with a Wta licence. This means that they may (continue to) carry out statutory audits. You can consult the register on the AFM’s website.
Foreign audit firms
If you are a foreign audit firm and wish to conduct statutory audits in the Netherlands, you must hold the AFM’s Wta licence just like Dutch audit firms. In order to be admitted to the register of audit firms you need to comply with professional and training requirements equivalent to those in the Netherlands. You must carry out the statutory audits in accordance with international auditing standards.
Online application procedure via Message Box
You can submit Wta licence applications also online via Message Box. Message Box is a secure e-mail system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies. AFM’s Message Box can be found under the name ‘Stichting Autoriteit Financiële Markten’.