More and more companies are being asked whether they have ISAE 3402. This enables organizations to demonstrate that the quality of their services meets (international) quality standards. One of Pincvision’s customers even stipulated ISAE 3402 as a condition for agreeing on the contract. At Pincvision, KroeseWevers initially solely carried out an independent audit of the annual accounts. This has now been expanded by including an annual ISAE 3402 audit and reporting. "We see it as a quality mark" says Daniëlle van der Meulen – Idema, Sr. VAT Specialist at Pincvision.
Why is ISAE 3402 of importance for Pincvision?
ISAE 3402 is an assurance report with which Pincvision ensures its customers (often multinationals) that their services in the field of, for example, international VAT meet the set norms, standards and quality requirements. For more and more customers, assurance is important when they outsource their processes to a partner such as Pincvision. After all, even though the work is outsourced, the customer remains responsible for the end result.
"At Pincvision, we take over compliance processes from companies regarding legislation and regulations with respect to worldwide import & export and intra-Community trade. We do this in particular for big international companies. These companies deliver goods worldwide, which means that they are involved in areas such as international turnover tax, environmental taxes, customs, export documents and statistical declarations. For many companies meeting these kinds of obligations is seen as a burden whereas Pincvision is specialized in these areas", explains Daniëlle van der Meulen - Idema, Sr. VAT Specialist at Pincvision.
Since Pincvision is specialized in trade compliance, it is of extra importance for Pincvision to invest in a high quality standard. "We've been asked the question many times in the previous years, but when an American customer stipulated ISAE 3402 as a condition, we asked KroeseWevers to cooperate with us in order to issue this statement.”
The role of KroeseWevers
KroeseWevers has been an accountant at Pincvision since the company was founded. "We already knew the company from the annual audit which was certainly an advantage. However, with ISAE 3402 we now look at internal customer processes even more extensively," says Robert van den Anker, Accountant and Board Member at KroeseWevers. Together with colleague Luuk Egbers, Aspirant Manager (IT)-Audit, one of the first tasks KroeseWevers undertook in this process was to explain what it internally takes for an organization to obtain an ISAE 3402 statement. "ISAE 3402 is a fairly comprehensive report which describes the organization's internal processes and control measures. Laying down such an initial statement is quite intensive", say the specialists of KroeseWevers. "In order to describe the internal processes and measures in a correct way, you have to focus on the processes that are important to your customer", says Robert van den Anker.
Pincvision worked for almost six months to translate the internal processes with the correct focus into an ISAE 3402 report. Robert van den Anker: "Subsequently, we fine-tuned that report and, as an accountant, tested throughout the year whether the descriptions were in line with actual practice. We also checked whether Pincvision has built in certain controls to manage processes and monitor quality, but also whether those controls work. That process runs throughout the whole year. Year after year".
To ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, Pincvision set up a project team on ISAE 3402 for the first 'ISAE year'. "We had already described a lot of internal processes. However, much of this information was scattered across different internal departments", says Daniëlle van der Meulen - Idema.
Nevertheless, the process itself also brought an important result: "We noticed that our colleagues at Pincvision saw the importance of quality control and well-designed processes even more than before. We wanted to deliver everything that we had to deliver as good as possible. We also tightened up our internal reviews based on our findings".
Pincvision is extremely satisfied with the result. The ISAE 3402 statement has been issued. The American customer who asked for ISAE 3402 is still a satisfied customer and Pincvision notices that the company is now one step ahead of competitors in the market. "I see 3402 as a quality mark and I notice that it gives us a competitive advantage. More and more companies are asking for ISAE 3402. We are now able to say that we have such a report while many of our competitors do not (yet). Thus, it was worth the investment in time and money." – Daniëlle van der Meulen - Idema.
According to Robert van den Anker and Luuk Egbers, it is a trend that more and more customers are asking for ISAE 3402. And they expect this trend to continue in the coming years in organizations in all sectors, including service organizations. More and more companies are working with automated processes and customers demand that their service provider is 'in control'.
Pincvision also works with in-house developed software. Our IT auditors check and test whether everything works as it should be working. But we also get questions from the market from sectors where you wouldn't expect it to happen so quickly. For example, in the construction and development industry customers also ask for ISAE 3402. They want to know what measures have been taken to prevent (sensitive) information about the safety of construction projects from being adequately protected.
Therefore, according to Robert van den Anker, a lesson is that companies must be aware of the value of security for their customers. Daniëlle van der Meulen - Idema adds from the point of view of Pincvision that issuing an ISAE 3402 report feels like a statement to the customer. "I would definitely recommend it to other organizations. Of course, it does take time and you do not exactly know what to expect in advance, so you need to create space and time to do it. In addition, it is advisable to put a colleague within your own organization on this project so you’ll be ensured that everything runs smoothly. Since we took that space & time, things went pretty smooth at this project. We collaborated with the experts of KroeseWevers. And if they needed us to provide certain information, they could have contacted a specific colleague within our organization.”
Would you like to know more about ISAE 3402?
Would you like to be able to submit an ISAE 3402 statement to your customers? Please contact Luuk Egbers of KroeseWevers for more information and a non-binding consultation.