StartUp - Aryan Azizi van IBOSAF Belastingadvies
Twenty-three years ago, Aryan Azizi’s father fled from Afghanistan to the Netherlands. Aryan grew up here, but still feels connected to his home country. “I’m an Afghan Dutchman and a Dutch Afghan. This both makes me who I am and helps me carry out my profession. Working in fiscality means working with people, and I like helping them with this difficult subject.” As a tax advisor, Aryan helps expats to comply with complicated Dutch laws.
According to Aryan, it can be pretty difficult for expats to adhere to legislative demands. “The trouble already starts when you apply for a bank account, one of the first steps you must undertake if you want to start your own business. For a Dutch citizen who was born in the Netherlands, this is relatively easy: you only have to show your passport or ID and sign a contract. Someone from Afghanistan or Pakistan, however, has to go through a bureaucratic circus that can last months, during which you have to show all sorts of proofs and fill in mountains of forms.”
Because Aryan wasn’t born in the Netherlands, he understands the frustration caused by this process very well. “When I started my business, I had already become a Dutch national – I already was one during my studies. I understand the difficult situation these expats find themselves in very well. The rules surrounding it are very odd.” Aryan explains that on one hand, the Netherlands signals that it is a wealthy country that needs the help of educated foreigners. “But, on the other hand, working here requires you to go through a whole bureaucratic process that isn’t easy to understand. This can be very frustrating.”
“I could do better”
Aryan started off studying notarial law, which also had a lot of fiscal-related courses. Taxation seemed like an abstract and boring field, but Aryan discovered that it’s rooted in social interaction and humanity. “People should know their rights and obligations. This is very important to me because of my own background, which helps me explain everything to expatriate entrepreneurs. That’s why I switched to fiscal law.”
He started off working for an accounting and tax law firm, but started thinking ‘I could do better’. When he started for himself, Aryan thought that getting customers would be easy. “I was educated, offered a fair price, and had a lot of experience. However, it wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be. I think that’s the most important lesson I learned: as a starting entrepreneur, you actively have to chase after potential clients. Otherwise, you won’t come into contact with anyone.”
A different job
Aryan started IBOSAF Belastingadvies to help entrepreneurs and expats with major tax-related questions. “For example, what you should do when switching from a sole proprietorship to a private limited company, or how to legally pay less taxes if your sales have increased significantly. Initially, my clients mostly asked administrative questions – like what kind of information should be on an invoice. My job shifted from giving fiscal advice to giving administrative advice.”
“Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise. The clients I’d been helping started to grow, after which they ran into the kind of questions that I’d studied for. Because I already knew my clients and their companies, I could give them better and more detailed advice. This confirmed my belief that taxation and fiscality are about people: the better you know your clients, the better your advice will be.”
Among other entrepreneurs
In May 2019, soon after Aryan started his company, he decided to join StartUp Nijmegen. “Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely business. I was used to having colleagues, and suddenly I was on my own. StartUp solved this issue for me; not just because I was among other entrepreneurs, but also because of the BAM groups that StartUp put together. Brainstorming and discussing my ideas with other starting entrepreneurs showed me that everyone has trouble finding a client base.”
However, it was more than just the good environment at StartUp and the energy of other entrepreneurs that helped Aryan get started. “Meeting with their partners helped me a lot. I had hopes that they would all become clients of mine, but that fell through. Still, talking to them netted me a lot of inspiration and energy. Right now, a year and a half later, I’ve started doing a second round of meetings. We’re looking back at the start of my company, and what it looks like now. By evaluating your business, you keep learning new things, allowing you to keep improving your enterprise.”
In this blog series, The Life Net and StartUp Nijmegen like to show what an attractive region Nijmegen is to start and establish as an entrepreneur. It spotlights various internationals or companies that attract internationals. They like to share their inspiring story about how they started and grew with their business. Check StartUp Nijmegen for how they pay attention to this.