The new KPMG Netherlands chairman
has indicated that consolidation could be an important step forward
for the Dutch firm in order to globalise operations. Herman
Dijkhuizen told the International Accounting Bulletin that
although there are no public plans to merge with KPMG Europe, the
issue of globalisation is still fresh in the minds of partners at
the firm.

Dijkhuizen said one of his goals as chairman is to expand
the firm’s operations geographically. He noted globalisation as a
important to the future success of the firm.

Herman Dijkhuizen, KPMG Netherlands
Herman Dijkhuizen, KPMG Netherlands

“Consolidation and especially globalisation is a key driver for
success within our business,” Dijkhuizen said. “That gives a lot of
opportunities but also some challenges. I can’t tell you if we will
join KPMG Europe ‘yes’ or ‘no’, because we are going through a
process with our partners to look at our opportunities, especially
looking from our strategic angle to become stronger in the
Netherlands. We are also looking at all our opportunities and it is
very clear that [consolidation] is what you will see in our
industry.”

KPMG partners in the Netherlands narrowly voted against joining
KPMG firms in Germany, the UK and Switzerland to form a European
firm last September.

At the time, former KPMG Netherlands leader Ben van der Veer
noted that merger discussions were by no means over and the
proposal could be revisited in due course. These latest comments by
Dijkhuizen highlight a clear strategic desire for the firm to
globalise to some degree.

Taking the helm

Dijkhuizen officially becomes chairman of KPMG Netherlands in
October. He succeeds van der Veer, who has been the chair for more
than three decades.

Over the next few years Dijkhuizen said he will help the firm
maximise opportunities with current clients and secure new leads.
This will involve enhancing KPMG’s profile in the marketplace and
building niche service capabilities.

“I have a clear strategy and ambitious goals. We will be
focusing on specialist parts of the industry and aiming to make
sure that specialisation is a key driver for success…. I especially
hope to grow in advisory,” he said.

As chairman, Dijkhuizen noted he will take a keen interest in
KPMG’s human resources and developing management – areas he regards
as essential to the firm’s evolution.

“I have decided that I will take on the human resources
responsibility because people are key to our profession,”
Dijkhuizen said. “I want to make sure that our employees are happy
and we have the right people. Without the right people, we will
never do as well as we endeavour to… It also makes it easier as
KPMG chairman to safeguard KPMG’s culture and values. Then you can
think about innovation, thought leadership, initiatives and the
constant development of the business.”

Dijkhuizen joined KPMG Netherlands in 1979, a period he
remembers “as if it were yesterday”. He became partner in 1994, a
board member in 2006 and the firm’s vice-chairman last year.

“I was contracted to go to KPMG Germany for four years from 1992
to 1996. It was there where I was appointed to partner of audit,”
Dijkhuizen explained.

“During those years I specialised in audit work for
international companies. I was doing international work, overseas
work and also work for financial services. I also specialised in
Dutch corporate client work within Germany.”

Dijkhuizen returned to the Netherlands in 2006 where he spent
some time working as director for learning and development at the
firm. He added: “I did a lot of client work at that time. I didn’t
do any audit work.”

KPMG Netherlands is the third largest firm in the country. In
the most recent International Accounting Bulletin’s survey
of the Dutch profession, KPMG Netherlands reported fee income of
€681 million ($1 billion) in the year ended June 2007. The firm has
2,694 staff, 251 partners and 17 offices.

Melanie White