How Hub van Grinsven makes doing business in the Netherlands as easy as possible

Hub van Grinsven holds the esteemed position of leading the business support team at Maprima, where he acts as the primary point of contact for clients aiming to establish or expand their operations into the Netherlands.

“Whether they want to set up an entity and hire people, or import into the Netherlands, we help them with everything from bookkeeping to tax, legal and payroll.”

With his extensive background in accounting, Hub brings a wealth of expertise to his role, enabling him to offer comprehensive assistance. His leadership is instrumental in steering the business support team towards success, facilitating smooth operations and fostering strong client relationships.

From accounting to business support

Hub’s journey to his current position is a testament to both strategic career choices and seized opportunities. Having worked in accounting for 10 years prior to joining Maprima, he acquired a diverse set of skills.

“I worked in firms that mostly dealt with SMEs – not in one of the big four or big five accounting firms. That really helped me in becoming more broadly educated, because not only did I do accounting, but also a bit of tax and payroll; a bit of everything.”

This experience set Hub up with a holistic mindset towards his client’s needs from the beginning. “That really helped me in making sure our clients get serviced over the entire line of the business.”

However, he eventually realised that he didn’t envision a future in accounting and decided to explore other avenues. “By the time I was ready to become an actual accountant, a CPA, I thought that maybe this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. So, I went into interim finance things – mostly into guiding large corporations through the implementation of financial software.”

At some point, it transpired that this was not really what Hub was looking for either. “I was enjoying it, but I didn’t see myself doing that for another 40 years.” This moment of introspection led him to explore new horizons and ultimately led him to Maprima, where he found a perfect fit for his skills and aspirations.

Joining Maprima

Reflecting on his transition to Maprima, Hub shares, “I basically stumbled across an ad for the role almost five years ago.” The role seemed to align with where Hub wanted to take his career.

“Maprima wanted to expand a bit into servicing more active companies wanting to do things in the Netherlands. They were looking for someone to be the pioneer of that role, and that was me, the first member of what is now a four-man team.”

His strategic vision and proactive approach were pivotal in establishing Maprima as a go-to destination for businesses seeking expert guidance on navigating the complexities of the Dutch market.

Over time, Hub worked his way up. “For the first three months, I worked in accounting to help them get rid of a bit of backlog and to get to know the clients. Then, I picked up as the account manager for my own set of clients.” He has now quadrupled that initial clientele from between 10 and 20 clients to a very respectable 90.

Navigating challenges and growth amidst COVID-19

Hub’s tenure at Maprima coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for the firm. Despite these uncertainties, Hub and his team adapted quickly.

“For me, it wasn’t too bad because I started halfway through 2019. So I had some time to get used to the company and to my role before COVID hit.”

As the pandemic necessitated remote work and virtual interactions, Maprima swiftly adjusted its operations to ensure uninterrupted service delivery to clients. Thankfully, this did not cause a lot of disruption.

Hub recalls, “We don’t meet a lot of our clients in person. Occasionally one pops by the office, or we meet someone from their office somewhere

in the Netherlands, but 95% is done through email and video calls.”

As a result, the transition to virtual communication platforms was relatively seamless. “Of course, onboarding new team members with everyone at home was not so easy”, he laughs, “but we’re used to talking to people through a screen.”

Making doing business in the Netherlands as easy as possible

Hub’s goal is to simplify processes for businesses expanding to the Netherlands. “We try to make it as easy as possible for foreigners to do business in the Netherlands.” For this reason, most of Maprima’s clients are international, rather than local. “The vast majority of our clients are not Dutch.”

To achieve this, he positions his team as the sole point of contact for clients, handling all of their considerations. “If you want to start a business or expand your business to the Netherlands, you need someone to do accounting, and you need someone to do tax, and you need someone to do payroll, and you have all these legal questions.”

“We are basically making sure that they don’t have to deal with four or five different service providers.”

In terms of his usual client requests, Hub says: “We see a lot of companies who are trying to import through the Netherlands, and who want to make sure that’s all going well and set up. We also see a lot of companies who want to hire employees in the Netherlands, or who are looking to hire employees in different European jurisdictions.”

The latter part of this can be challenging. Hub notes that many businesses want to embrace the global workforce, but are often unaware of the complications and nuances of doing so.

“Companies often just want to set up in one country and then hire people all over the place. Then, they find out what the risks and the costs involved are, and that some countries may have some pretty specific laws and regulations around employment. We help them to navigate this.”Whatever the business may need to consider, Maprima is there to help. “We are kind of a one-stop shop. I’m not saying that we do everything ourselves in-house. While there’s a lot we do ourselves, we also use IR Global a lot.”

Leveraging international connections with IR Global

A key component of Maprima’s success lies in its collaboration with IR Global. Hub recognises the strategic importance of the network in facilitating international connections and enhancing service delivery.

“IR Global comes into play in two different ways. On the one hand, we obviously look for people who have clients that may want to do something in the Netherlands. IR Global is a good place to meet those people.” “But, we also have a lot of clients who have subsidiaries in different countries, or who may be looking for services that we don’t provide in the Netherlands. For example, I don’t know how payroll works in Portugal or Spain, but luckily, we have IR Global members that can do that.”

Through IR Global, Maprima gains access to a diverse network of professionals, including tax advisors, lawyers, and accountants, who complement the firm’s capabilities and extend its reach.

Hub emphasises their collaboration with local as well as international members, stating, “We work with quite a few Dutch IR Global members as well, who help us provide services to our clients.”

From Rising Star to Exclusive Advisor

Alongside his growth and development over the past five years at Maprima, Hub has also developed within the IR Global network, starting off as a Rising Star before becoming a fully-fledged member in January 2024.

Hub reflects fondly on his beginnings in the network. “The Rising Stars program is amazing. I really had a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of interesting people who were in the same boat as I was in.”

Being a Rising Star enabled Hub to start building his own international network of experienced professionals. “We all started without really knowing anyone, and with a lot of the people in the network being older than us. Though, I’m not the youngest anymore…”

Having now attended his first conference as a full member, Hub appreciates that he has quickly become a familiar face within the network. “Dubai was good. People seem to know me somehow!”

Looking ahead

In the future, Hub envisions continued growth and expansion for Maprima, driven by evolving client needs and market dynamics. He anticipates increased responsibilities and challenges.

“The growth isn’t slowing down. I recently became a director, so while there’s not much room to grow position-wise, the company will get bigger and my team will get bigger.”

International business and international ice hockey

Outside of work, Hub maintains a healthy work-life balance by staying active. “I have a couple of dogs that need a lot of walking…and I’m an ice hockey referee! I started playing ice hockey when I was five, and I played in a beer league team until a few years ago. Nowadays, I just referee.”

Ice hockey refereeing has, until recently, taken Hub all over the world. “It’s the highest level in the Netherlands and Belgium. We have a joint league. Until last year, I was also internationally active. I’ve been to lots of fun places like Poland, Serbia, and New Zealand.”

Hub emphasises that Maprima as a business believes in a balanced approach to work and play.

“When things need to get done, we will get them done. But we realise we are all people; we all have families, so we try not to stay too late.”

Contributing Advisors