Atterbury Europe’s accounting team has gained a valuable asset with the joining of CA (SA) Marelize van der Merwe, who has lived in the Netherlands longer than any of the other South African team members. She filled us in on her background.

How did it come about that you joined the Atterbury Europe team?
I started working for Atterbury Europe in September 2019 and it has been a great experience so far. I am very happy to be back in a professional environment after taking a break for a few years.

Unlike the other South Africans on the team you were already living in the Netherlands – when did you move across?
We moved to the Netherlands in July 2011 through my husband’s company. At that stage my two daughters were still very young, and I decided to focus on settling the family for the first few years.

Did you work in the financial sphere in the Netherlands at all before taking on this position with Atterbury Europe?
I put my finance and accounting skills to use as treasurer for a couple of charitable organisations during this time. I also used the opportunity to enjoy my love of sports, particularly tennis, and completed an exam in Dutch as second language. I was active in the international school community from the start and found it an excellent environment to expand one’s network; that is how I came across the opportunity at Atterbury Europe.

What made you decide return to a corporate environment?
There are a few things that attracted me to the job: I find the industry fascinating, having worked in property financing in the past; the culture, due to the South African connection and last but not least that it offers flexible working hours, which suits my current situation perfectly, with my children becoming more independent by the day.

Has the return lived up to your expectations?
Yes! The atmosphere in the Leiden office is very welcoming, which made me feel part of the team quickly. l really enjoy the social and professional interaction with my colleagues.

How do you fit into the accounting team at Atterbury Europe?
I work mostly with head office accounting and also help out with general office tasks.

The coronavirus is causing travel havoc in Europe – how has that impacted on you or your colleagues?
Covid-19 is very much a reality in Europe and poses some significant challenges, as everyone faces the challenge of balancing the personal wellbeing of their families, while working from home. In the Netherlands most businesses have sent people home to work from there; and restaurants and schools have been closed officially until 6 April. I guess it is a wait-and-see period for all companies and economies across Europe and further afield. Hopefully, with almost a worldwide lockdown the spreading of the virus can be contained and we will soon return to the days when Corona is simply enjoyed as a beer again.