Meet The Members Europe – Join our community: Zirkzee Group merges with Activa

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On 1 January of this year, Zirkzee Group merged with Activa Accountants & Tax Consultants. From now on, these firms will act as the premier partner for entrepreneurs and companies in financial, fiscal, business and legal advising. Zirkzee and Activa serve clients in the Netherlands and abroad from three locations in the west of the Netherlands (Schiphol-Amsterdam, Noordwijk and Gouda). Together they form a healthy and agile learning organisation where job satisfaction, collaboration, lasting relationships and teamwork are top priorities.

The aim of the new organisation, whose name will be announced later this spring, is to contribute to society in a professional, innovative and sustainable manner. “We are the trusted party in the field of accounting and tax-related matters in the Netherlands. We support our clients in providing accurate and reliable financial information, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations for various stakeholders,” says Martin Verhoeff, one of the five equity partners since the merger.

Upscaling, synergy and continuity

The other four equity partners are Robin de Raad (from Zirkzee, like Martin Verhoeff) and, from Activa: René ’t Lam, Ruud Bouman and Willem Verhoeff. Together with Peter Walter (salary partner from Zirkzee), they form the management team of the new organisation. Willem Verhoeff, Martín’s brother, has come to Zirkzee’s Noordwijk office (on the Dutch coast) to discuss the added value of this merger. “Upscaling, synergy and continuity,” Willem says straight away.

“We are now one of the larger SME players in the region,” Martin adds. “We have 80 people, more accountants and tax specialists, and three locations. The Activa office is close to Schiphol Airport, which ties in perfectly with Zirkzee’s international services. At the same time, Activa is more at home in the agricultural world than we are, with a fantastic base of loyal clients. This gives us a very good risk spread in terms of our client portfolio. And because of our size and broader expertise, we are better equipped than ever to put together tailor-made teams for our clients.”

“Partnership is characterised by mutual trust, lasting relationships, putting the client’s interests first, mutual integrity and collaboration.”

Appeal

More appealing employership is another key advantage of this merger. “This was more of a challenge for us than for Zirkzee,” Willem explains. “The average age is a lot lower there, the organisation is larger and they are more innovative in the areas of IT and hybrid workspaces. Zirkzee was quite successful in attracting new talent and giving these people opportunities for growth, but that was more difficult for us. This synergy will also make us more appealing to young people with ambition.”

Martín: “The added value for us is that Activa has more senior-level professionals than we do, especially when it comes to the number of Certified Public Accountants.”

Willem: “We had an inverted pyramid, as they say. That all fits together very well now, which allows us to divide the work much more efficiently. We also didn’t have any dedicated HR staff of external communications officers, but Zirkzee did.”

Martín: “For me and Robin, it’s also really nice and helpful to suddenly have three new equity partners to chat with!”

Strengthening each other

One day the brothers got to talking about the possibilities to strengthen each other. The fact that they are brothers was definitely an item on the agenda in the discussions with the other three partners at the start of the process. “We had open conversations about this and in the end everyone was positive about it,” Willem says.

For both parties, the current number of partners is a solution with a view to the future and to continuity, mainly for clients, staff and the partners. “For Martin because he’s no longer the only accountant of the equity partners in his organisation, and for me because there’s now a greater chance that I’ll be able to sell my shares in a few years,” explains Willem, who is 58 years old. “So we’re also strengthening each other in that way!”

For the entire network

For both parties, this partnership is characterised by mutual trust, lasting relationships, putting the client’s interests first, mutual integrity and collaboration in accordance with professional standards and rules of conduct, all with a focus on the interests of various social and other stakeholders. “We are taking a wonderful step forward together, with a view to the future, for our entire network,” Martin concludes. “We can’t reveal our new name yet, but stay tuned and keep an eye on our social media channels, LinkedIn and Instagram (@zirkzeegroep). Be part of our community!”