Deloitte Netherlands has sold another regional office, will
consolidate three offices in the Rotterdam area and merge both of
its Amsterdam offices into a single office.

The Dutch firm recently sold its Barneveld-based practice, which
had 14 employees. The office will now operate as Cooster. Deloitte
Netherlands will still cover the region from nearby offices in
Utrecht and Arnhem, regional cities that are about 25 kilometres
from Barneveld.

Deloitte Netherlands: Staff and partners in full-time equivalent rolesDeloitte embarked upon a
centralisation strategy a couple of years ago and has halved its
number of offices in four years.

At present the firm has about 25 offices in 23 towns and cities.
In 2004, the firm had 50 offices.

By comparison, in 2007 Ernst & Young had 23 offices,
compared to 28 in 2006. PricewaterhouseCoopers dropped from 19 to
17 in the same period, while KPMG gained one office, up from 16 in
2006 to 17 in 2007. Office figures for 2008 will appear in this
publication’s Netherlands survey in July.

Deloitte Netherlands vice-chairman and managing partner of
clients and markets Jan Dalhuisen told the International
Accounting Bulletin
the firm plans to eventually centralise
operations to about 15-20 offices across the Netherlands.

“We wanted every office to have a certain critical mass, around
100 people, and to be able to offer a full range of competencies,”
Dalhuisen explained. “We want to cover audit and tax and a number
of specialist areas like direct tax and wages tax. Those are the
basic components of a regional office.”

Dynamic focus

Despite recent office closures, Deloitte said it will be able to
cover every region in the Netherlands and will continue to focus on
growing and dynamic small companies as well its traditional base of
large listed clients.

“We look for clients that are interested in full-service
contracts not just simple bookkeeping or tax returns,” Dalhuisen
added.

Although the Netherlands boasts one of the largest and most
sophisticated professions, with about 21,000 professionals, it is a
relatively small country that is similar in area to
Switzerland.

Deloitte is the nation’s largest firm and reported revenue of
€749 million ($1 billion) in the year ended May 2008. The firm has
more than 5,000 professionals, although its workforce has been
shrinking in recent years due to the centralisation strategy and,
more recently, from a downturn in the economy.

“It is because of improved efficiency, although we have been
disposing of certain businesses within our firm. Last year, we sold
off our salary process unit which involved 120 people,” Dalhuisen
said.

Last month, the firm laid off 50 employees from the consulting
practice.

“Our corporate finance practices are working well at the moment
but the pipeline is somewhat drying up and if you are not able to
refill the pipeline with new type of work we might end up with some
excess capacity in those areas,” Dalhuisen explained.

He added the firm is experiencing a shift in demand. “Definitely
more demand is coming up in terms of reorganisation of companies,
cost containment, ensuring financing and funding,” he said.

A flip side to the economic downturn is that the firm predicts
the staff attrition rate will likely drop as employees seek job
security.

“If, as a result of the crisis, the attrition changes from
losing 1,000 to 500 people a year, then you need to reduce
recruiting as well. We are striving to keep our attrition down to
somewhere between 15 and 18 percent,” Dalhuisen said.

Jorge Alvarez and Arvind Hickman