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Name organisation:
Straightforward
Reviewer:
Elbert-Jan Achterberg
Organisation type:
BV
Product:
Project advice and coaching
Expertise:
Consultancy
Website:
www.straightforward.nl

straightforward-portret

Straightforward B.V. is in the business of ensuring the success of solar power projects by assuming responsibility for the (partial) project management (e.g. technical commissioning) of roofing panel, shingle and tile installation projects. Its client base runs the gamut from leading installation companies through Triodos Bank to organisations such as the Alliance of Home Owners in the Netherlands, the Dutch Wind Power Cooperative, the “Nature and the Environment” organisation and many more. Quality is what the business is all about, be it in terms of implementation or components used. Its mobile test laboratory enables Straightforward to ensure on site that the panels being installed are indeed top-notch. This makes Straightforward the ‘go-to guys’ for all those for whom it is important to ensure their solar energy system should be installed as agreed and expected.

There’s nothing better for a fledgling entrepreneur than forging a lasting association with an accounting specialist

Elbert Jan speaks to Koppel a handful of times a year: “We talk to one another when we need to. Our e-mail contact is somewhat more frequent and this normally suffices, although we might be in closer contact depending on what is happening.” Koppel knows particularly well what makes Elbert Jan tick and what it is he needs: “Koppel has been there through all of it including at my previous businesses.” All this know-how and the long-standing association bring a lot of added value and, according to Elbert Jan, “place Koppel in the perfect position to cogitate with me as to where I should go from here”. Changing consultants would not be an option for him, “not even when I moved to the south of Limburg. Of course I could have found a similar consultancy locally, but I’d have had to go through the motions all over again. I have been fortunate as a fledgling entrepreneur to be introduced to Koppel. You really can’t put a value on having an accounting consultant that evolves with you, so to speak.”

Koppel was there almost from the moment Ellbert Jan launched his first business, back in 1997. “They helped us incorporate the private limited-liability company and put the holding company set-up in place, and so on, and they also took care of the accounting side of things.” It was Koppel’s basic approach which particularly struck Elbert Jan as delightfully, well, straightforward.

Koppel has always taken its cue from what I do as a business owner rather than expecting me to do what they think ought to be done

“I see it all the time: start-ups whose freshly engaged accountant goes rogue on them, setting up all kinds of tax facilities at a ridiculously early stage … Imagine you’re a sole trader of a newly launched operation and you order a large office building to be constructed to accommodate your business by the time it has expanded to a 100-strong workforce. Now that would be silly, don’t you think? And yet it is precisely what some accounting consultants tell their clients to do in a tax structure sense.” Elbert Jan understands why it is tempting: “It’s an easy way to make a lot of money fast even though their clients will end up bailing out in the longer term.”

Which is precisely what Elbert Jan likes so much about the professionals at Koppel who, he says, apply a long-term approach, centre their thinking on their business-owner clientele – what is it the client needs in order to run the business and what should Koppel do to ensure continued smooth sailing? – and can be relied upon to assist with forward-looking advice: “Koppel keeps up to speed on my business operations and on the plans I come up with and hones in on the essence: if you think of going in this or that direction, you might want to consider taking care of this or that and make allowances for such-and-such.” Koppel has always moulded its service and advice to my actions as a business owner. It is precisely this customer-oriented, level-headed approach that has been my main reason for staying with them all this time.”

Koppel Services has added to my success as a business owner

There are times when you need your accounting consultant more than you normally would. “I remember a discussion we once had with the Tax and Customs Administration on the topic of value-added tax payments. Calculations of this kind come across as deceptively simple and yet things can go off-kilter before you know it. I had been providing advisory services in Germany and the value-added tax had become something of an issue due to all sorts of technical issues. Koppel effectively took over the discussion and by feeding information to me enabled me to stay one step ahead of the inspector of taxes. Although it turned into a no-holds-barred fight, eventually I won the day.”

Elbert Jan is as happy now as he was back then to team up with an accounting consultant that has been at his side up to the present day and, in his own words, “has added to my success as a business owner”.

The old situation

It was 1997 when fledgling entrepreneur Elbert Jan Achterberg set up his first business, together with three partners of one of whose networks Koppel Services already formed part. Koppel came out on top of the three shortlisted tax consultancies they had picked especially because of its size: small enough to safeguard the personal touch, yet large enough to boast the fiscal know-how and quality Elbert Jan was looking for. Koppel’s down-to-earth approach, which it displayed right from the start, was the icing on the cake where Elbert Jan was concerned.

The solution

Although almost 20 years have passed and Elbert Jan is now on his third start-up company, the one thing which has never changed has been his association with Koppel Services, not even when he upped sticks to the southernmost part of the province of Limburg. Koppel in addition to taking care of his administrative accounts has always provided him with sound advice, in line with its choice in favour of forging and maintaining long-term associations based on fairness and mutual trust with its clients rather than giving in to the temptation of palming off all kinds of inessential services on its clients for the sole purpose of “making a fast buck” the way some other financial consultancies do.

The benefits

  • One-stop shop for the full complement of expertise and skills, from accounting to tax matters
  • Koppel’s thinking is that of an entrepreneur rather than that of a chartered accountant
  • Koppel seeks out what it needs to know to get ahead rather than weighing its clients down with unnecessary details
  • Easily accessible
  • Personal touch

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