Belgium's geographic and political position within Europe has always made it a tempting proposition for the top international firms, a situation that is threatening the local firms' independence, reports Jan Harvey
In Belgium, as in every jurisdiction, the issue of professional advisers’ independence has been at the top of the legislative agenda since the global fallout of the Enron fiasco. Legislation from the Belgian parliament this August is designed to safeguard auditor independence through key modifications to the Belgian company code. The changes effectively prohibit accountancy firms from earning more money from non-audit services – such as legal services and tax – than from auditing. In principle, this means it may no longer be possible for the big firms to offer tax and legal services – which generate healthy profits – to their audit clients. This would tear down the foundations of the multi-disciplinary partnership (MDP).
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