The Accountants Bill, submitted to parliament last year, aims to merge the professional accountants' organisations NIVRA and NOvAA into the new Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants (''NBA''). The NBA will be a public-law organisation providing services to support the accounting profession.
On 14 February 2012, the Second Chamber of parliament voted in favour of the Bill, with the following amendments:
- Public-interest entities ("PIE") will have to rotate audit firms every eight years.
- PIEs will have to inform the AFM about their choice of auditor.
- An audit firm charged with the statutory audit of a PIE will be restricted from carrying out other types of work for the PIE.
- The Chinese walls within the AFM - which ensure that information obtained for one supervisory task, e.g. financial reporting, cannot be used for another supervisory task - will be removed.
The First Chamber's standing committee for finance is currently consulting the Council of State on the amendments. It is as yet unclear if and when the Accountants Bill will enter into force.
In parallel, the European Commission published proposals in November 2011 for a EU regulation concerning statutory audits at public-interest entities and for amendments to the EU Audit Directive. A consultation was held in which market parties were invited to provide input on the proposals. According to the Dutch Minister of Finance, the European Commission proposals will not be submitted to the Council before the second half of 2012, possibly even 2013.