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Name organisation:
Aurifex IT
David Smits
Organisation type:
Total staff:
Consultancy cum management


It was 1996 when David Smits – then a college student – launched his own Internet application design business (the Internet being all the rage at the time), which he named Basket Builders, after his workplace on Mandemakerssteeg (Basket Weavers’ Alley) in the heart of Amsterdam – “a dingy little backstreet”, as he recalls, but one which nevertheless spawned the 25-strong business which he went on to sell ten years later. David now runs his own free-lance consultancy named Aurifex, through which he outsources himself – mostly to government agencies – as a software consultant and project manager, in which capacity he has for example been instrumental in the creation of, the Dutch ministries’ platform for the general public to respond to new legislation and regulations.

Never once over the past 15 years with Koppel have I considered switching financial advisers

“We started out with a controller who applied his number-crunching tricks to the information we provided him with and hey presto, what came out was mostly Greek to us.” This uncertainty did not sit well at all with David and his business partner: “Not once did we have the feeling that our then controller was the right person to help us set up a proper administrative accounts system, even though our business was growing and we were hiring additional staff and so on, which quickly added to the administrative complexity of what we were doing.” What was needed was no-nonsense advice on how best to tackle the administrative side of things and optimise the tax situation without overstepping the legislative and/or regulatory boundaries.

One of Basket Builders’ business associates urged David to get in touch with Koppel … and the rest, as they say, is history: “Never once over the past 15 years have I ever thought even fleetingly about switching financial advisers. I’ve always had the utmost faith in Koppel’s know-how and top-notch service provision. They have never let me down.”

All I want to do is attend to my business. Meanwhile Koppel takes impeccable care of the administrative side of things

Trust is what you need first and foremost when you decide to outsource major administrative processes: “Accounting, payroll records, taxes, it’s all in the hands of Koppel,” says David, who wouldn’t want it any other way: “As a business owner I have to remain focused on my clients and how to help them, on marketing my products, and so on. I see the administrative rigmarole as a necessary evil which I am delighted to delegate to a partner in business that knows what it’s doing.” And although David is well aware that he could theoretically take care of everything himself, he muses: “I’d definitely be overburdened if I had to look into every single bit of legislation or regulation myself, keep track of the many changes and gear the multitude of information to the wants and needs of my business. I see Koppel as my administrative life saver.”

Koppel also offers considerable added value when it comes to financial advice: “They always have their eye on the ball, so I don’t have to. They relay points for attention to me and warn me about pitfalls and risks.” Thanks to Koppel David has come to appreciate what accounting is all about: “No matter how complex the subject matter, it always makes perfect sense when Koppel explains it to me.” This became clearer than ever at the time David was selling Basket Builders: “I had Koppel to check out and perfect the contracts of sale. It was very comforting for me to have another pair of eyes look things over and alert me to potential legal hazards.”

Koppel Services' financial advice enables me to maximise my return on invested capital

It is in a private capacity as well that David relies on Koppel’s sound advice, as he explains: “It was Koppel which advised me to use my own company rather than a high-street bank as my mortgage lender. The days of flexibility among banks are over, but my own company can be as flexible as it decides to be. One of the major advantages of this set-up is that the interest I pay ends up with my own company rather than with a bank, which ensures a very attractive return on the capital I have invested.”

Koppel always knows how to help David put his cash to the best possible use including tax-wise: “Koppel knows exactly at which of my ‘clutch’ of companies my business earnings should be realised in order for me to benefit the most – without crossing the line, it goes without saying. This is just one example of the invaluability of their specialist know-how.”

Specialist know-how, pro-active advice, always on the ball: these things do not come at rock-bottom prices – but everything is worth its price, and as David puts it, “Koppel gives you value for money”.

The old situation

Neither David nor his business partner ever warmed to the controller they engaged during their first year in business, felt he was making enough of an effort or managed to provide them with an insight into their own financials. Their business was flourishing, which inevitably caused the accounting side of things – such as personnel and payroll records and pension accrual issues – to intensify. What Basket Builders needed was someone who in addition to taking care of all things financial could be relied upon for advice.

The solution

As soon as David had liaised with Koppel Services he realised that they were exactly what he had been looking for, providing him as they did with proactive advice as well as a proper explanation of the various complex issues his business was facing, not least around the time, almost a decade later, of the sale of Basket Builders, the draft contracts of sale for which David had Koppel evaluate. Likewise it was Koppel which advised David to arrange for his own company rather than a high street bank to be his mortgage lender, as a sure-fire way of boosting his return on invested capital.

The benefits

  • Reliable: in all the years David has worked with Koppel he has never felt the slightest urge to switch consultants.
  • Proactive: Koppel provides David with advice whether he has asked for it or not, to help him sidestep pitfalls.
  • Koppel painstakingly keeps up to speed on prevailing legislation and regulations, as the best possible basis for its customised advice.
  • Koppel has a knack for relaying complex matters to its business clients as palatable bite-size morsels.

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