Kicking off 2017 with a focus on transformation

27 February 2017

Tony Schiffmann , Brisbane Office Managing Partner |

It would come as no surprise that the first BDO Global Board meeting of 2017 focused a lot on looking ahead. Not just on our plans for the year, but well into the future, as we work towards our vision for 2025.

The key theme for me from all our discussions at the meeting in Curacao in January was ‘transformation’ – whether it is within our profession, our clients businesses, our network or each of our individual member firms.

Transformation can mean different things to different people and organisations, but fundamentally it comes down to the need for a business and its leaders to remain agile. That’s our focus at BDO.

A prime example is our South American network, which is experiencing a lot of change in its local market recently and yet manages to continually increase its contribution to our global firm. We are looking at emerging markets such as this for additional growth opportunities.

Technology is another area where transformation is driving our path. By building on our global strategic alliance with Microsoft we are identifying the impact of technology on our clients and developing new ways to service their needs. Marcus Kammueller, our recently appointed Global Head of Transformation, is working with our other global leaders to drive this focus, particularly in our audit practice, as we continue to design our new Audit Process Tool and implement our industry leading audit data analytics solution – BDO Advantage.

As we work towards our vision for 2025, which includes our target of US$10 billion in fee revenue by 2019, tax is an area that is also gaining increased attention. Changes to the global tax landscape – whether they be in the form of Base Erosion Profit Shifting, transfer pricing, or political influences – are delivering new challenges for our clients to navigate and opportunities for our teams to support them. In Australia, Zara Ritchie from our Melbourne office has been appointed to lead our global transfer pricing practice. We have experienced some exciting growth in this area and that is a great accolade for the BDO global tax team. We are excited by the growth prospects in the tax arena, as our clients across the world embrace the opportunities of globalisation and require our support to navigate the legislative complexities across the globe.

Merger and acquisition activity is another source of transformation and in 2017 it doesn’t look like the interest in the BDO brand will diminish. The interest from partners in other firms to join our network remains high. We will be working hard to maintain this momentum during the year. In fact, BDO is in a unique position, as we have the relationships, resources and responsive approach needed to continue on our growth path.

I hope the year has started out strong for you and your business also. I’m very much looking forward to what the months ahead hold and hope to share some insightful updates with you about the global accounting profession and the BDO network.