Innovation – more than a passing ‘fad’ at BDO

14 November 2016

Tony Schiffmann , Brisbane Office Managing Partner |

The term innovation seems to come and go around business circles, yet at BDO it has been a constant focus for some time. Our recent BDO global partner Biennial Conference in Amsterdam – which saw more than 650 partners and leaders from around our global network come together – highlighted to me the passion our people have for innovation and driving long term success through new and improved ways of doing business.

We’re a network that wants to learn – whether it is from each other or even our clients.

Learning from others

Three of our clients presented at the conference and it was remarkable to hear about the way they are each setting new standards for excellence in their fields. An example that stood out for me was Interface, who is tackling the sustainability issue facing the carpet and flooring industry by buying and recycling fishing nets to make new carpet tiles. They are also tapping into the trend for natural indoor styling by recreating nature scenes in their carpet tiles so customers can design a truly unique space.

Innovation driving our strategy

I’ve spoken before about how innovation is one of the cornerstones of our Global Strategy and the Biennial really reinforced this for our leaders.
In particular, the opportunities our new tools and relationships in the Global IT space are creating for our people and clients were a key takeaway for me. Examples include:

  • Enriching our audit toolkit with the next generation of our Audit Process Tool and our new data analytics solution, BDO Advantage. Demonstrations of these tools at the Biennial provided great tangible insight into the value these tools will deliver our clients
  • Collaboration with IT industry leaders, including Microsoft, to develop tools tailored to our and our clients’ needs
  • Rethinking the way we do business in particular service lines to take advantage of on-shoring and offshoring processing hubs and automation technology
  • Collaboration across the network to develop tools together, minimising duplication and allowing for focus on innovation in a wide range of markets
  • Focus on digital security for both us and our clients. More than 20 of our member firm countries now have dedicated digital security teams servicing clients.

Learn more about how we are driving exceptional client service through our commitment to leading edge IT solutions in this video.

Demonstrating our innovative client solutions

One of my favourite sessions from the Biennial was the App Fair. This was a ‘market stall’ styled session where selected BDO member firms showcased their innovative client solutions. Two that stood out to me were:

  • Denmark - BDO ONLINE app that provides business owners with an online service that matches their digital documents and invoices against the bank's postings. This frees up time for business owners, allowing them to work with their BDO advisers to focus on future growth
  • Indonesia - BDO Entira, a human capital management system that allows clients to seamlessly connect their regional offices.

App fair

Innovation and our people

One thing that is clear to our leadership team is that you cannot drive innovation without having people dedicated to the cause. Attracting and retaining the right people is vital to our success.

With the continually evolving digital and technological landscape, I am also fast learning the value of the insights that millennials are bringing to our business. I am continually impressed with the ability of our young people around the network to bring forward new ideas and work with their teams to deliver new solutions for the issues our clients face.

As we look forward to 2017, it’s clear our focus on innovation is set to continue.