1948 was an important year for the Vandelanotte family. It was the year Roger Vandelanotte founded the accounting and auditing firm of the same name. Since then, it has become much more than he had ever dreamed.
Since founding the business 75 years ago, 'Mr Roger' decided to give up his job as a teacher and start an accounting firm on his own. And it proved to be a success.
Yet at the time, his decision was not universally popular. His parents, in particular, did not believe you could make a living as an accountant. Besides, you had to be crazy to give up a reputable job as a teacher for something you might not even be able to make a living at. But Roger Vandelanotte proved them wrong. At the time, the tax authorities were imposing more and more conditions, and companies recognised that they could extract important information from their accounts. The launch of the firm was a resounding success. Since the 1950s, at least one additional employee has been hired every year. Today, the firm has more than 585 employees. And that number is still growing.
Although Roger Vandelanotte never demanded that his children join him in the business, the firm became a successful family business – eventually, three generations took helm. And despite his eldest son, Koen, receiving an offer to work at a large international firm when he finished his studies in 1971, he resolutely chose to join his father's business.
In 1987, his youngest son Hein Vandelanotte decided to follow the same path. It is partly thanks to them that the family business continued to grow, and that it entered the 21st century with the visionary slogan 'more than accountants'. Despite an age difference of 14 years, the two have always worked very well together.
Their father Roger has always remained a kind of mentor to them, a larger-than-life figure who taught them the tricks of the trade.
Koen Vandelanotte's eldest son decided to join the family business in 1998. Nikolas Vandelanotte's arrival signaled the inception of a third generation at the helm. Always his greatest mentor, Nikolas' father was the man who taught him how to run a company.
Nikolas shared the leadership with his uncle Hein until 2019, heading a strong team that was on the same wavelength and looking to a challenging future together. In 2019, Nikolas officially took over from his uncle.
Nevertheless, a third generation brought with it a new approach. One that could be called ambitious, to say the least – and if possible, even more ambitious than that of any of its predecessors. Although Nikolas Vandelanotte would not readily admit that himself.
Nikolas continued to write Vandelanotte's growth story in the years that followed. In July 2022, the company joined forces with Callens, Pirenne, Theunissen & Co. The merger of the two oldest, independent family firms in the sector saw the renaming of the audit department as Callens Vandelanotte.
It was only in 2007 that the Vandelanotte family decided to open up share ownership to external partners; a decision that was strongly influenced by the company's ever-increasing growth.
If your company's growth is ongoing and overseeing everything is impossible, daring to rely on third parties becomes inevitable.Koen Vandelanotte