Audit firms and accountancy

We are Stibbe Audit firms and accountancy specialists

Audit firms and accountancy

Audit firms are increasingly facing regulatory pressure in the areas of supervision, administrative sanctions, liability and disciplinary law and corporate governance. Regulators such as the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and the Public Prosecutor (OM) are continuing to investigate audit firms and individual auditors, which often leads to prosecution. Audit firms and individual auditors are also increasingly targeted in liability suits before the civil and criminal courts.

Recent legal developments resulting from EU legislation have significantly affected the profession. This can be seen in the auditing of the financial statements of Public Interest Entities (PIEs) but also in the separation of audit and advisory services, the regular rotation of audit firms and individual auditors as well as additional requirements regarding communication between the auditor and the audit committee of the PIE. As a consequence of this increased regulation, audit firms and individual auditors are being scrutinized and targeted not only by regulators but also by stakeholders.

Our audit firm and accountancy sector team has in-depth market knowledge which enables us to efficiently advise our clients on disciplinary law, supervisory regulation, criminal law, financial reporting, corporate governance and directors’ and auditors’ liability. We also represent and defend our clients in disciplinary, criminal and civil proceedings.

 

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Experience

  • 21.06.2019 NL law
    Stibbe successfully represents EY in fine case

    Experience - Stibbe represented EY in an appeal before the Industrial Appeal Court (College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven; CBb) filed by the AFM after the Rotterdam District Court's decision at the end of 2017 to annul the fines imposed by the AFM. The Rotterdam District Court had ruled that the AFM had not proved that EY (and PwC) had breached its duty of care.

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Market recognition

Its 'client-oriented' team is 'easy to work with and very pragmatic'.

Legal 500 2019, Banking, finance and capital markets chapter

Well-renowned Benelux firm with experience in transactions involving public bodies and regulated industries. Strong expertise in private equity transactions, assisting a range of corporates and funds with both the Belgian and international deals. Benefits from a strongly integrated team to offer a full service across tax, finance, employment and public law mandates.

Chambers Europe 2019, Corporate / M&A chapter

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Related news

18.07.2019 NL law
Duurzaamheidsverslaggeving: van lappendeken naar een geüniformeerd stelsel

Articles - Decennialang zijn verslaggevingsvoorschriften voornamelijk gericht geweest op het verstrekken van informatie over – met name – de financiële prestaties van de verslaggevende entiteit. De afgelopen jaren is echter de aandacht voor en het belang van verslaggeving over – ook – de niet-financiële aspecten van ondernemen fors toegenomen. Tegelijkertijd ontbreekt het tot op heden aan een geüniformeerd stelsel van voorschriften met betrekking tot duurzaamheidsverslaggeving.

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06.06.2019 NL law
Masterclass: Alcohol- en drugstesten op de werkvloer

Masterclass - Stibbe in Amsterdam organiseert op 6 juni de masterclass 'Alcohol- & drugstesten op de werkvloer'. Tijdens deze masterclass bespreken arbeidsrechtexpert Johan Zwemmer en privacydeskundigen Frederiek Fernhout en Judica Krikke het algemene verbod van de Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens op deze testen voor werkgevers en leggen zij onder meer uit hoe hiermee moet worden omgegaan.

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05.03.2019 NL law
AFM-verkenning “Kwetsbaarheden in de structuur van de accountancysector”

Articles - Op 21 november 2018 publiceerde de AFM een rapport naar aanleiding van een door haar uitgevoerd verkennend onderzoek naar de “kwetsbaarheden” in de structuur van de accountancysector. Diezelfde dag kondigde de Minister van Financiën aan, mede in het licht van de bevindingen van de AFM, dat een onafhankelijke “Commissie toekomst accountancysector” zal worden ingesteld.

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04.07.2019 NL law
Audit firms and accountant's duty of care towards third parties

Short Reads - The Dutch Supreme Court recently decided (ECLI:NL:HR:2019:744) that the standard for audit firms' and accountants' duty of care towards third parties is in essence no different than the general duty of care under Dutch tort law, and ultimately depends on the circumstances of the case. However, the role of accountants in society, their responsibility to serve the general interest, and rules of professional conduct and practice play an important role.

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04.06.2019 NL law
Dutch Supreme Court clarifies evidentiary rules concerning signatures and signed documents

Short Reads - In two recent decisions, the Dutch Supreme Court has clarified the evidentiary power of signed documents. If the signatory unambiguously denies that the signature on the document is his or hers or claims that another party has tampered with the signature (for instance, through forgery or copying a signature from one document and pasting it in another), it is up to the party invoking the signed document to prove the signature's authenticity (ECLI:NL:HR:2019:572).

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10.05.2019 NL law
De (toekomst) bestendigheid van de toekomstbestendigheidsparagraaf

Articles - Op 25 september 2014 – ook wel aangeduid als Freaky Thursday voor het accountantsberoep – publiceerde de Werkgroep toekomst accountantsberoep (‘Werkgroep’) het rapport ‘In het publiek belang’ (‘In het publiek belang’). In dat rapport werden maar liefst 53 maatregelen voorgesteld die uiteindelijk zouden moeten leiden tot een verbetering van de kwaliteit en onafankelijkheid van de door externe accountants uitgevoerde wettelijke controles.

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06.06.2019 NL law
Masterclass: Alcohol and drug testing in the workplace

Masterclass - Stibbe will host a masterclass entitled 'Alcohol and drug testing in the workplace' on 6 June in Amsterdam. During this masterclass, employment law expert Johan Zwemmer and privacy experts Frederiek Fernhout and Judica Krikke will discuss the Dutch Data Protection Authority's general prohibition of these tests and discuss whether and how employers should implement.

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27.05.2019 EU law
One year of GDPR - The regulatory warm-up

Short Reads - The first year of the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") is over. Although early noises predicted an entirely new data protection regime, the European legal framework did not change substantially, the major changes being an expansion of the territorial scope to non-EU countries and stronger powers of enforcement. In spite of fears and rumours of immediate enforcement and huge fines, most regulators focused on helping companies achieve compliance, or they enforced without directly imposing fines.

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18.03.2019 NL law
Steven Hijink over vertrouwen en transparantie in het ondernemingsrecht

Articles - Steven Hijink sprak op 9 november 2018 zijn inaugurale rede uit met als titel: 'Vertrouwen en transparantie' – de complexe verhouding tussen transparantieverplichtingen en vertrouwen in het ondernemingsrecht. De bewerkte tekst van zijn oratie is gepubliceerd in Ondernemingsrecht. Tevens gaf hij naar aanleiding van zijn oratie kortgeleden een interview in Spotlight, het vaktechnisch bulletin van PwC over accountancy.

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