Amy O'Connor - Progression and travel: My career at BDO

This article was originally published 18 March 2020.

When I reflect on my career in Business Services at BDO, two things stand out:  career progression and secondment opportunities. I started at BDO as a grad in February 2012, having heard of the firm at university. I was studying Commerce and Economics at the time, and knew I wanted to join a professional services firm — just not one of the Big Four.  BDO turned out to be the right fit.  Big enough to work with sophisticated clients on complex, multinational transactions, and small enough to foster accelerated career progression and on-the-job training for its people. 

Secondment in London

By the time I went on secondment in 2016, I had progressed from Graduate Accountant to Senior Accountant to Assistant Manager. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I decided it was time to work overseas for a while. I spoke with my Partners about it and they supported my decision. They immediately got in touch with the Corporate Tax team at BDO in London, and the next thing I knew, I was on my way!

Working at BDO in London was a great opportunity, both personally and professionally.  It gave me the chance to broaden my experience by learning about corporate tax law in another country while on secondment, all the while being lucky enough to fit in a bit of travel on the weekends. BDO was so supportive during this time. The firm paid for return flights and six weeks' accommodation in Notting Hill to make the transition as smooth as possible. They also paid for me to return to Brisbane for a week midway through the secondment so I could carry out BDO London work from the Brisbane office. This made the transition back to Brisbane much easier, as I was able to maintain a close connection with my team while on secondment.

My role as an Associate Director in Business Services

I returned to BDO Brisbane as a Senior Manager last year. Earlier this year, I was promoted to my current role of Associate Director. My day-to-day tasks include managing my team's workflow, managing client jobs, reviewing work and mentoring my team through the client process. It's great to be able to mix a lot of client contact with regular face time with the Partners, two of whom I work with every day.

The Partners here have an open door policy and are always keen to help. This is one of the key factors underpinning accelerated career development at BDO. BDO is heavily invested in developing its people. Just last month, I went to experienced manager training in Sydney, where the firm flew us down, put us up overnight and organised two days of intensive training from external facilitators.

BDO likes to throw you in at the deep end. Your managers might give you work that feels above your level when you first start out. But they'll support you through it so you can be confident in your work and progress quickly. The firm strives to challenge its people while making sure no one is left behind. It's a great place to work and I couldn't see myself anywhere else.

To find out more about opportunities at BDO, visit our careers website.