Technology to drive global strategy in a market of change

14 October 2016

Tony Schiffmann, Chief Executive Partner |

Any business person will tell you it’s important to have a long term vision – to know where you want to be and how you will get there. In today’s environment, defining that vision and a path to achieving it is no longer a linear process. Retaining focus requires dedication and long lead time, as there are countless factors at play that can distract from the end goal.

Our recent BDO Global Board meeting in Utrecht, Netherlands saw our leaders look forward to 2025. Our Global Board, Global Leadership Team and 10 future leaders from around our international network all participated in what was a fruitful exercise with Capgemini. We attended Capgemini’s Accelerated Solutions Environment, working together to identify opportunities for growth, challenges in the market we must continue to combat, issues we need to champion for our clients, and how we will deliver on our promise of exceptional client service.

The result was a unified agreement on our network’s future direction, setting the tone for our strategy over the long term. A key take-away from the exercise was that (not surprisingly) the pace of change is high and we need to maintain our momentum to remain a leader in the profession.

Technology will help clear the way

BDO has never been a network to shy away from innovation, in fact, BDO Global IT’s vision is for our network to become the enabler of efficiency in the profession. We’ve built a strong platform in technology and we will continue to build on it into the future to achieve our strategic ambitions.

Our recently announced worldwide strategic alliance with Microsoft will facilitate this, allowing us to accelerate our digital transformation and that of our clients’ businesses.

At its outset, this new global agreement will cover the following three key areas:

  1. Digital relationships: BDO’s leading edge global portal, based in the Microsoft Azure environment, will deliver an online collaboration space to further enhance clients’ digital experience and service workflow, supporting and extending client relationships – locally, regionally and globally.
  2. Efficiency and quality: BDO’s Audit toolkit will benefit from the next generation of the network’s bespoke Audit Process Tool (APT). Through the introduction of new technology, this scalable worldwide tool will now be capable of streamlining and focusing the audit process in even more ways for BDO professionals and their clients. In addition, the integration of BDO’s data analytics tool, BDO Advantage, powered by Microsoft Azure and services such as Cortana Intelligence Suite, will further enrich the audit experience, enabling BDO professionals to better understand and respond to risks. Through deeper analysis of internal and external data, BDO can leverage this understanding to provide additional insights and automation efficiencies to clients.
  3. Foundations for the future: BDO is partnering with key cloud accounting providers across the world to deliver modern and secure cloud accounting services for clients: Microsoft NAV is a key tool in achieving this. BDO Cloud Accounting will give all BDO firms access to global resources, enabling agility and flexibility in their service delivery.

A true business advisory approach

There is a clear theme running through our technology areas of focus outlined above, and that’s enriching our client’s audit experience. The audit profession is evolving quickly and our new Global Head of Audit & Assurance, Chris Smith, is rallying his team to expand upon the in-depth knowledge they have of their clients to provide them with powerful insights, in both a financial and operational capacity.

We are also increasing our capability in the advisory practice areas of forensics and cyber security (which BDO in Australia is playing a key role in through our National Cyber Security Leader Leon Fouche).

More and more, businesses around the world are recognising the diverse breadth of BDO’s service offering, and benefiting from our depth of expertise. It’s this foundation, amplified and streamlined through the use of technology that will guide our future.