Globalisation – a double edged sword for our profession

20 September 2016

Tony Schiffmann , Brisbane Office Managing Partner |

The consolidation theme continued at the BDO Global Board meeting in Frankfurt recently, but this time it was complemented by discussion about the impact increased globalisation is having on our profession.

With globalisation comes growth opportunities

At BDO we’ve always maintained a strong focus on our core capabilities of Audit, Tax and Advisory, and nothing is likely to change there. What will change though is which of these areas present the strongest opportunity for growth over the long term. Globalisation is creating many opportunities for our consulting, forensics and cyber security teams, both in their countries and as a global team, to deliver exceptional value to companies and individuals looking to make the most of a new frontier in business engagement.

An unwelcomed side effect

While globalisation certainly brings many positives, it also presents many challenges for our profession as a whole. The fall-out from events like the Panama Papers and Luxembourg Leaks has seen a greater focus from regulators around the globe, in an attempt to demonstrate their proactivity.

Many are now calling into question the impact of this increased regulation and the level of influence the regulators are having on the ability of businesses to achieve their growth ambitions.

At BDO, we take the approach of actively engaging with the regulators all over the world. We appreciate that our own actions directly influence the attitude of politicians and, in turn, regulators.

Continued consolidation

Our network continues to see a lot of change on the horizon, with increased opportunities presenting themselves for discussion with other firms across the globe.

This active movement in the mid-tier, combined with a demonstrated desire from our counterparts to join the BDO network, speaks volumes about the attractiveness of the BDO brand around the world. Importantly, global organisations are also continuing to recognise the capability we bring, with many approaching us directly when looking for an alternative to other large international networks.

Facilitating growth through increased investment

As we grow, we are investing more in our infrastructure, particularly our people and IT environment.

Among other things, our Global IT Strategy brings a focus on data security, a goal to create efficiencies in our traditional services (eg audit) and the introduction of new offerings for our clients (eg digital services). This focus and commitment is underpinned by partnerships with some of the world’s leading IT providers.

It is initiatives like this that allow BDO to lead the way for the mid-tier and consistently compete with other large international networks. As the end of another calendar year approaches, I look forward to reflecting with my Global Board colleagues about how we leverage the success of such initiatives from 2016 and maintain our momentum into the year ahead.