‘We are a truly pro-European business. Two thirds of our staff are EU nationals’
Big changes are on the horizon within the EU when it comes to fiscal frameworks, says Accordance VAT’s chief executive Lucy Franklin. From the company’s Amsterdam office, she and the rest of the team are helping clients across the Netherlands and the UK to gear up to deal with the political and economic shake-ups ahead.
You opened your office here in October 2018. As a British company, what challenges have you encountered operating in the Netherlands?
Moving to a new country can’t occur without teething problems, but we chose the Netherlands precisely because of its thriving economy, cultural and geographical proximity to our Brighton headquarters, and its status as a global leader in foreign investment and talent. It’s a city associated with trade, and so it felt like a natural home for us. All of this made settling in relatively easy. That said, sometimes we’ve been fooled by the word-perfect English spoken by everyone here into thinking we understand subtle nuances a little better than we really do! For example, we found that British and Dutch expectations of drinks and canapes at a business event can be quite different – we had to take the lead from one of our partners, NBCC, on this one!
Will being settled now be enough to keep you here post-Brexit?
Absolutely! This is our home, and we intend to stay. The last few weeks in Europe have shown just how vital intra-EU cooperation is, and I believe it’s more important than ever to keep one foot on the continent and the other in the UK. That’s not to diminish how complex things could be from 2021 onwards – there’s a huge amount of uncertainty for EU citizens and businesses based in the UK and vice versa…