Working at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen – by Floortje Schroeder

For the Dutch version, click here.

Started as a Junior Assistant Accountant at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen in 2016 and never left. How did I end up at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen and what is the reason I stayed after my internship? I am happy to tell you all about it in my story ‘Working At HLB Witlox Van den Boomen’.

Who is Floortje Schroeder?

First of all, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Floortje Schroeder and I am 25 years old. I was born in Tilburg but have been living in ‘s-Hertogenbosch for 13 years now.

I remember very well that during high school I had a guest lecture by an accountant. This caught my attention so after high school I started the HBO course Business Economics/Accountancy at the Avans Hogeschool in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. I completed this course in 2018. I was born and raised in Tilburg, which is why I wanted to study in the city I come from. I then chose to take the pre-master’s degree in Accountancy at Tilburg University. After obtaining the pre-master’s I started the master’s in Accountancy and as of September 2020 I started the post-master’s in Accountancy at Tilburg University. I am now in the third and final year of the post-master Accountancy.

My path to HLB Witlox Van den Boomen

My path to HLB Witlox Van den Boomen started in 2016. In that year, I signed myself up for the practical route that was offered at Avans University of Applied Sciences at the time. The practice route is a route that gives students the opportunity to get acquainted with practice for 1.5 years. When participating in this practical route, students must choose an accounting firm where the choices included a Big4 firm and HLB Witlox Van den Boomen. My preference went to HLB Witlox Van den Boomen and my choice at the time was substantiated by the fact that I considered myself to fit better within a ‘smaller’ organization where the lines of communication are short, there are sufficient career opportunities, there is close (multidisciplinary) cooperation, an informal atmosphere and a client portfolio that is very diverse.

The practical route brought me to HLB Witlox Van den Boomen in 2016 as a Junior Assistant Accountant where I could get acquainted with the practice for 1.5 years 4 days a week. Following the practical route at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen gave me the opportunity as a student to get an idea of how things work in practice and what activities an assistant accountant performs. Besides contributing to the expansion of my practical knowledge, this period has also contributed to my personal development and made it easier for me to make my choices regarding my follow-up studies.

Practice versus theory

I completed my HBO education in 2018 and after this I immediately started the pre-master and master Accountancy at Tilburg University. During this period, I returned to HLB Witlox Van den Boomen as an Audit work-study student. Because of my positive experiences during the practical work placement, I wanted to continue to expand my practical knowledge and also continue to develop myself during my studies at Tilburg University. As a work-study student you are part of the team just like all the other colleagues and you carry out activities that correspond to those of an assistant accountant. This work mainly involves performing audit assignments for various clients, where we gain insight into the client, processes and risks and, based on this, create our approach to the audit of the financial statements. The only difference between an assistant accountant and work-study student is that as a work-study student, you are likely to work fewer days. As a working student, you can decide how many days you want to work in addition to your studies and can reduce the number of days in busier periods and increase them in quieter periods. This gives you the opportunity to gain practical knowledge on a flexible basis, learn to apply the knowledge from school and go through personal development.

After completing my master’s degree in Accountancy, I started working as an assistant accountant at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen. HLB Witlox Van den Boomen gave me the opportunity during both my HBO education and my master’s to gain practical experience and to develop myself personally. Because of this, my decision to start as an assistant accountant at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen was quickly made.

Why did I never leave after my internship?

Of course I thought about taking a look at another accounting firm. But working at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen gave me more and more feeling for the motto: ‘Never change a winning team’. I’ll explain why.

Now that I have been working at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen for a number of years, I have come to realize that my considerations at the time of choosing an accounting organization for the practice route internship correspond with the practice. I was looking for a firm where the lines are short, there are sufficient opportunities for advancement, there is close (multidisciplinary) cooperation, an informal atmosphere and a client portfolio that is very diverse. My client portfolio is very diverse and ranges from Retail companies and manufacturing companies to property developers. This diversity ensures that I get to take a look behind the scenes at all types of companies. This keeps my work diverse and challenging. In addition, every year I have influence on my client portfolio because I can indicate which clients I like to work for the most! The advantage of working with our clients is that you often sit at the table with the entrepreneur himself and therefore the relevance of your work is immediately tangible.

I work in Rosmalen and our audit department consists of about 30/35 colleagues. This ensures close cooperation on a daily basis, as well as sufficient room to take and receive responsibilities, and to grow and develop. Because of the close cooperation, there is also a lot of attention for guidance and training on the job. Everyone has their own mentor where everything can be discussed and also how you want to develop further and how that can be realized. Our audit practice is one team, one task and besides everyone having their own mentor, all doors are open. The atmosphere is informal and friendly, with regular outings planned in addition to work. This ranges from departmental outings including pub crawls to paddle nights and a pub quiz. We find it important that you can do what you like, which is why I have been given the time and space (together with colleagues) to organize these outings!

My tips for you

I have now been an assistant accountant at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen for over two years. Looking back, I am happy with the choices I made during my studies. Gaining experience early on has given me an edge over fellow students. It also provides additional (very relevant) baggage when you start your career. Based on this, I would advise you to find out during your studies what kind of company suits you. Go for coffee at companies you find interesting or start working as a working student. Only in this way will you be sure that you can make the right choice after your studies. Don’t follow the most popular route, follow your route!

Does my story appeal to you or do you have any questions about the possibilities at HLB Witlox Van den Boomen? Feel free to contact me!