A year like no other

Financial report 2020

Nobody will be surprised by this statement, but 2020 was a year like no other. For DNS Belgium, we can safely consider it to have been a good year. 

In the space of just a few months, the level of digitalisation of our society has progressed by several years. The Covid crisis is certainly responsible for this. Not only did we all have to work from home, but many companies also had to find a way to work online. We see the result of this digital leap in our figures. A large number of self-employed people and small companies needed to create websites to be able to continue working. 

Combating fraud on the Belgian Internet

During Covid, we continued taking our task of combating online abuse seriously. Working together with the necessary authorities to counter fraudulent behaviour on the Internet is one of our priorities. To this end, we automated and improved our systems. For example, we ensured that a portion of the potentially fraudulent registrations are automatically picked out. With this screening, we block domain names that seem suspicious to us. Although the digitalisation of our world has progressed a great deal, we have noticed that the figures for abuse have not risen accordingly. In total, we had to block 5,235 domain names for the year 2020, a decrease compared to 2019. There has also been great progress in checking the identity details of domain name holders. This is very important to make navigating the Belgian Internet safer. In this way, we quickly detect possible domain name fraud. Our aim here is to increase confidence in the digital economy.

Clear growth

The growth in registrations has not been as high as this year since 2013. To date, more than 1.7 million .be domain names are registered. During the year 2020, we have of course also seen a strong increase compared to 2019. For instance, at the end of 2020, there were over 275,000 new domain names, compared to just over 226,000 at the end of 2019, more than 21% growth year-on-year. 

A well-prepared team, is a productive team

Thanks to thorough internal preparation for all kinds of problem scenarios, the switch to homeworking wasn’t a problem for us. In fact, we fell back on an emergency scenario that everyone knew about beforehand. Despite the uncertain period, our colleagues continued to ensure, with exemplary dedication, that the Belgian Internet continued to run without a hitch. We thank them all for this! 

The productivity of our employees improved by approximately 11% compared to 2019. This is mainly due to higher efficiency while working from home, less time wasted on commuting and shorter online meetings compared to their physical counterparts. We continued to pay attention to the social connection between the different departments and colleagues. Joint activities were organised, such as a quiz, walking meetings, virtual coffee breaks that allowed everyone to catch up, and others. 

Corporate Social Responsibility

Homeworking has also significantly reduced our carbon footprint. According to our calculations, we would have emitted 123 tonnes of CO₂ last year. This figure was ultimately much lower than expected. The lower CO₂ emissions and our CSR programme earned us the title of "SDG Champion", awarded by VOKA. This title reinforces our will to be pioneers in the field of CSR. 

With DigitalForYouth.be, we reached new records. We collected no less than 14,746 second-hand laptops, which we refurbished. We then gave them a second life by distributing them to mainly Belgian schoolchildren during home schooling. This result came out of a weekend of brainstorming, where after a few days of work, we managed to find almost 2 million EUR in funding. The wave of solidarity left a strong impression on us. A clear sign that in difficult times people come together to help each other. We received the support of many companies and private citizens for this. 

In this way, in addition to supplying more than 300 schools with laptops, we also supported more than 60 different projects in 2020. An example is the 'Taalkot' project of Abrusco, which combines language and computer lessons for young asylum seekers. But also Ave Regina, which provides education for children with special mental needs.  

Collaboration, adjustments and challenges

In the year 2020, DNS Belgium was also elected to serve on the board of CENTR . We hope to be able to contribute here, and to continue exchanging our know-how and experience between the various registries in Europe. We are also sure that we will continue to learn from the others and by doing so improve our services. 

Of course, the Covid year was very hard for many, with a lot of challenges and difficulties. We have tried to provide as much care as possible to our staff to ease this unusual situation. Despite everything, DNS Belgium had a great year but it took a lot of work, adjustment, planning, ingenuity and willpower. 

At the end of 2020, DNS Belgium had 35 staff members, 10 of whom were women and 25 men. In HR figures, we had 31.3 FTEs at 31 December 2020, of which 7.6 were women and 23.7 men.

Inspiring workplace - A word from HR

In 2020, the covid crisis hit us. Nevertheless, we were able to work from home starting from day one of the lockdown thanks to our business continuity plan. Keeping our finger on the pulse was essential, and through regular surveys we were able to monitor how that home working was going, what the needs were and what initiatives we could take to help our employees balance their work/life. We also set up a think tank to define what the new (post-covid) working environment will look like for DNS Belgium.

Despite the covid crisis, we have been able to realise a number of HR focal points in 2020:

  • In 2020, the classic evaluation principle, whereby the annual evaluation interview is central, has stopped being part of our organisation. From now on, the focus will be on peer reviews and continuous feedback. In addition, we are launching an award principle where we appreciate colleagues on the basis of exceptional performance but also pay extra attention to monitoring low and poor performance.   
  • The S3 principle is introduced in the organisation and more than half of the employees have participated in an intense online training course spread over three half-days. Following this learning journey, several initiatives and an S3 task force were launched that focus on improving efficient and constructive teamwork and meetings across the organisation. Debriefing of lessons learned helps us to continuously improve.   
  • Since May 2020, we have offered our employees a mobility budget that allows them to trade in their company car for an amount that they can freely spend on mobility solutions according to their specific needs.   
  • As every year, a cafeteria plan is offered in 2020 with choices tailored to DNS Belgium.   
  • In 2020, we note that there is not always a clear perspective for development and expectations within a particular role. We need a framework to stimulate self-reflection and constructive and development-oriented feedback. In order to work out such a framework, we are entering into a partnership with an external party with a wish to define our vision of career planning and developing competency profiles that are tailored to DNS Belgium.

 

Annual accounts 

                                                  Profit-and-loss account in euro

  2020 2019 2018 2017
Income
Income from registration fees  7.253.079,83 7.032.392 6.952.837 6.864.036
New names 1.040.330,00 939.371 970.672 1.031.574
Renewals  5.753.721,66 5.667.617 5.531.609 5.383.036
Transfers 332.030,33 292.908 301.422 316.341
Reactivations 93.889,17 101.014 114.672 99.182
Services 15.286,00 14.079 17.122 17.366
Transfers from quarantaine 17.822,67 17.403 17.340 16.537
Application validation/Auction (new gTLDs) -   - - -
Financial income  7.321,36 839 7.972 8.358
Produced fixed assets  -   - - 541.224
Exceptional income    2.140 - 2.913
Total income  7.260.401,19 7.035.371 6.960.809 7.416.531
 
Expenditures
Personnel costs 4.006.353,69 3.815.099 3.641.717 3.317.571
External consultancy 263.551,25 243.776 235.113 590.433
Costs of technical operations  705.795,07 755.227 679.902 925.546
General overheads 1.005.672,67 963.576 1.007.957 1.207.431
Depreciation 732.781,95 776.883 778.139 522.075
Financial costs  17.580,64 20.371 19.939 15.372
Sustainability 351.351,10 152.428 46.659 92.497
Total costs 7.083.086,37 6.727.360 6.409.426 6.670.925
 
RESULT 177.314,82 308.011 551.383 745.606

Balance 

Assets 2020 2019 2018 2017
Restructuring charges
Herstructureringskosten   525 15.717 30.910
Intangible, tangible and financial assets 875.728 1.540.787 2.221.192 2.882.806
Current assets
Receivables due within one year - Trade debtors 953.018 809.828,94 867.836 833.895
Receivables due within one year  - Other amounts receivable 13.831 21.584 20.405 21.642
Cash at bank and in hand 6.596.790 5.897.010 5.069.236 3.674.035
Deferred charges and accrued income 356.947 280.195 179.382 225.574
Total assets 8.796.314 8.549.929 8.373.768 7.668.862

 

Liabilities           2020 2019 2018 2017
Capital and reserves
Surplus carried forward 2.398.929 2.090.918 1.539.535 793.930
Result financial year 177.315 308.011 551.383 745.606
Liabilities
Suppliers 739.726 813.946 874.805 751.117
Taxes, remuneration and social security costs 829.892 722.210 814.250 805.581
Advance payment registrars 1.250.389 1.349.572 1.367.225 1.371.357
Accrued charges and deferred income 3.400.063 3.265.272 3.226.570 3.201.271
Total liabilities  8.796.314 8.549.929 8.373.768 7.668.862