• Jeshan Velupillai - My career at BDO
Interview:

Jeshan Velupillai - My career at BDO

27 September 2021

“BDO's leaders put a lot of trust in me. I'm regularly presented with situations to personally and professionally grow. I'm empowered to shape my own journey.” 

Jeshan Velupillai, Senior Manager, Audit

What do you value about working for BDO?

BDO has provided me with continuous personal and professional development, global opportunities and no two days are the same.

Since I started here, there has always been a focus on structured continuous development through regular technical and soft skill training for all levels. Your performance manager works with you on short term and long term personal goals and you receive real-time 360-degree feedback from colleagues and Partners for each engagement, allowing you to understand where you can work better to consistently improve.

I have also been fortunate through my time to go on international secondment as well as work on multiple international clients, which has allowed me to travel with BDO to the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. BDO lives its values, in fact my international secondment was arranged at the same time my wife was going on secondment with her firm. This is something I have always appreciated as we were able to share a global experience together. Global opportunities have also taken me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to understand how business is conducted in international markets. With our clients becoming more global this is a strong attribute for them, because I have demonstrable experience I can put into action to assist with their needs.

At BDO, no two days are the same. I work across a few different industries including financial services and United States engagements. I also work with multiple service lines, including corporate finance, tax and advisory, as well as a multitude of clients and other colleagues. My days are so varied. One day, I may be presenting at a board meeting with a Partner and then heading to a client to discuss the upcoming engagement with a CEO and CFO. Another, I could be working on a proposal/tender for a potential client, working with colleagues and other service lines to solve a complex technical issue, or working with People & Culture and other managers to hire new starters.

What attracted you to BDO?

Two things specifically attracted me to BDO. The first, is when I started there was a slogan, ‘Distinctly Different’. I thought it was very powerful and resonated with me as I interpreted it in a way that the goal was to always put its people and its clients first compared to other firms. This makes up part of our brand promise in client delivery and something that has continued throughout the time I have been here. I honestly believe there is a direct correlation to this and the success and growth of BDO in my seven-year tenure.

The second attraction to BDO was the people I met during the interview process. The People & Culture team, managers, Partners and staff members were all so positive and genuine. This was an indicator to me that BDO’s values and culture weren’t just words on wall or in a flyer, the people genuinely enjoyed working here and lived the values.

How does working at BDO differ from where you have worked previously?

I genuinely believe you are in control of your own destiny with BDO. Hard work has a direct and tangible output on your continuous development and continued progression. Innovation is also a part of the BDO DNA - if you have a great idea we are encouraged to voice it - particularly around how we can continually improve an engagement, the operations of a service line or generally contribute to enhancing BDO.

One example of this was when, as a graduate, I and another graduate came up with an idea to implement a buddy program across the audit service line for new graduates. We felt there was a real opportunity to leverage graduates’ knowledge six to twelve months into their careers and then set up a structured program to pass on that knowledge to the new graduates coming in. We ended up presenting the idea to the CEO and Head of Audit as well as other Partners. This was refined with them and then implemented across the BDO service lines and continues to this day. As a result of this, and my performance on engagements during my first few years, BDO nominated me for an Australia-wide industry award (2015 Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting Excellence Awards - Graduate of the Year). I was fortunate to win the award and this is something to this day I am extremely proud of.

Do you think BDO lives its values? If so, how?

Yes, it certainly does. Collaboration is encouraged and you see this when service line teams work as one with clients to achieve success. BDO is bold by responding to change rather than being reactive, and the firm acknowledges we are all humans. Being genuine, honest and authentic means we have connected with our clients on a deeper level. BDO strives to continually grow and improve, demonstrated by our entry into new industry groups, with the aim of being leaders across key topics and areas. Finally, our firm cares about giving back. We are encouraged to be stewards in our community and care for each other, which is evident through the way we empathetically work with and deal with clients and each other.

Which of your personal values align to BDO’s values? Why is this important?

If I had to pick two, I would say HUMAN and STRIVE. Being human means being authentic, empathetic and honest in all interactions. This is very important to me because at the end of the day we are all humans and we should all be treated respectfully. I love getting to know people, their story, and their business and have a genuine interest in helping in any way I can. To STRIVE is to continually improve and be better. This is something I try to do myself each day, whether at work or in my personal life.

How does it make you feel each day when working at BDO?

I feel immensely proud to work at BDO. I believe it is an organisation that talks the talk and walks the walk. There’s opportunity in each day to develop professionally and personally and I enjoy working and collaborating with my colleagues and clients.

How would you describe the BDO culture in three words?

Collaborative - Working together with colleagues and clients to achieve successful outcomes.

Nurturing - Willing to invest in its people and continually develop and nurture their talents and opportunity to continually grow with the organisation.

Inclusive - Diversity is a focal point and we can always learn something from others to continually improve and develop as an organisation.

How does BDO support you to be a successful leader?

BDO provides me with continuous internal and external training programs to develop as a leader and I have access to Partners and various initiatives to participate in, observe and learn from others.

Why do you think your clients trust you, and how do you build and demonstrate that trust?

I believe I bring technical expertise and honesty when dealing with clients. I am passionate about what I do. I build trust by listening to my clients and understanding what they want to achieve. Being a continuous learner in the industry also helps to constantly build trust as a technical expert by speaking knowledgably about various areas. Engaging with clients and being available is crucial to a successful working relationship. I demonstrate trust by keeping my commitments to my clients and being available to them.

How do you know BDO and its leaders trust you?

I know BDO and its leaders trust me because they continually put me in positions to grow personally and professionally. They trust me in my role and want to see me continually progress through the firm, which is very empowering.

The BDO values I most identify with are:

STRIVE - Our people continually strive to grow and improve.

HUMAN - We are encouraged to care for each other and our clients.

ONE - Collaboration brings opportunities to grow.

Find out more about what it’s like to work at BDO.