A licence from the AFM is needed to perform statutory audits in the Netherlands. Statutory audits are audits of the financial accounts of an enterprise or institution in accordance with Dutch law serving a social purpose, that has been made mandatory by or pursuant to the statutory provisions stated in the appendix to the Audit Firms Supervision Act.
From 1 October 2006 no statutory audit of a company incorporated in the Netherlands may be performed without a licence granted for that purpose by the AFM. The AFM will grant a licence to an applicant who has demonstrated that he himself and the external auditors employed by him or affiliated to him comply with the standards laid down in the Act. If the applicant intends to also perform statutory audits for Public Interest Entities (PIEs), the applicant must also demonstrate that he and the external auditors employed by him or affiliated to him comply with additional standards. When compliant to these standards, the AFM will annotate the licence to the effect that it is also valid for the performance of statutory audits for public interest entities.
The Act contains a transitional provision for licence applications: audit firms that have applied for a licence within one month after 1 October 2006 and that have submitted all necessary data and documents within three months after their application, are allowed to continue performing statutory audits without a licence until the AFM has made an irrevocable decision about the licence application. The AFM has made the primary decisions on applications for a licence to audit PIEs in September 2007. The primary decisions on the remaining applications concerning the audit firms that only audit non-PIEs will be made before 1 October 2008.