Sarah Bonnici and Adam van Haandel - Our careers at BDO

“From the day we started as cadets, BDO’s leaders have supported our career progression and trusted us to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients. We’ve reaped the benefits of working together to develop ideas, relationships and trust.” 

“From the day we started as cadets, BDO’s leaders have supported our career progression and trusted us to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients. We’ve reaped the benefits of working together to develop ideas, relationships and trust.“

Sarah Bonnici and Adam van Haandel, Assistant Managers, People Advisory

What do you value about working for BDO? 

Sarah: My team! It’s a great group of hard-working people. It’s really motivating to complete jobs collaboratively because everyone is like-minded and enthusiastic. 

Adam: Working with a talented and friendly group of individuals makes each day at BDO a great one. Coming together as one team to help our clients always provides a satisfying outcome each day. 

What attracted you to BDO? 

Sarah: BDO has a great cadet program, and that’s how I started here. This program gave me work throughout my university years, at the end of which I was able to skip the ‘graduate’ level and start working as a consultant. 

Adam: Like Sarah I came to BDO as a cadet straight out of high school. As far as I was aware BDO was the only firm offering secondments at that time. That spoke volumes to me and it showed that BDO had a mindset to developing its employees.  

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

Sarah: Other than a retail job when I was at school, I’ve not worked anywhere else. Working at BDO to both support me and develop my experience whilst at university was fantastic. 

Adam: There’s not much of a comparison given that my last job was mowing lawns! The work is obviously quite different but the core aspect, people, stays the same. At the end of the day it’s about performing the service and keeping the client happy. 

Why have you stayed with BDO? 

Sarah: The retention rate at BDO speaks volumes about the great culture and leadership here. Throughout the pandemic lockdowns our team has made a real effort to keep spirits high and morale up. Career progression is another standout. Junior team members can move to more senior roles. The performance reviews are really valuable because the managers at BDO care about what you want and will discuss how to go about the career progression you seek. 

Adam: Likewise, I’ve always felt supported at BDO and have been lucky to continuously work with a team of fantastic individuals. I’ve had key mentors who were an inspiration to me, and I’m constantly challenged by new work that keeps me sharp. 

Do you think BDO lives its values? 

Sarah: Yes, I do. There is a real emphasis on building relationships with clients that demonstrates ‘heart’ as a value we practise in terms of being authentic and real. This human element really comes to the fore at BDO, both from a client and internal perspective. I really feel BDO looks after its people. How the firm has looked out for us during this pandemic illustrates the ‘one’ BDO approach.

Adam: Yes! Throughout my career at BDO I have seen our firm consistently demonstrate the values it preaches. I’ve seen us work together as one, watched as we have boldly embraced innovation, always striving to obtain the best outcome. This can all be traced back to the heart of this business, which is that we empathise with and care for our clients. 

Do your personal values align to BDO’s?  

Sarah: Absolutely. Our focus on being human and remembering our clients are human is key. I like having a genuine relationship with my clients. I think it’s important that we offer not just an accounting service but a relationship where clients can count on us to be their trusted adviser on a range of matters. I also value the support we get to deliver the best outcome for our clients. BDO prides itself on its client relationships and quality of work, and as the person that provides that work it’s good to know that it’s appreciated by both the client and BDO.

Adam: Yes, especially because I always try my very best and take pride in the work I deliver. Whether it’s a simple tax return or a complex penalty remission request, I always ensure my work is something that I can be proud to submit with the knowledge that I’ve done the best I can. Striving for success is a key BDO value and it’s important to me. 

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

Sarah: I feel very well supported. It’s really satisfying that I’m able to go about the work by myself. I like that I’m responsible for managing work and clients, but also know that if I need help there’s a broader team to support me. I also really appreciate the cultural element at BDO - it’s not just about work. 

Adam: I am happy to come in and work with a close-knit and supportive team, assisting clients with their tax obligations and issues they cannot deal with alone. 

How would you describe the BDO culture in just three words?  

Sarah: Supportive, uplifting and friendly. 

Adam: Supportive, open and human. 

How does BDO support you to be successful? 

Sarah: I guess it’s the relationships more than anything. There’s a close relationship between my manager and myself, and the Partner and myself. It’s those informal development chats around work related things and personal things - they’re of the greatest value.  

Adam: BDO provides me with opportunities to develop myself through new avenues of work; and my leaders also ensure I have a support network to rely on if things are too difficult. 

Why do you think your clients trust you? 

Sarah: I think BDO has a really good reputation and so our clients come to us having that trust already. When we perform the work, we build on that trust. They can see our expertise and the quality that goes into our work. 

Adam: From my perspective it’s because we have demonstrated we are there to assist them, and that we communicate openly and honestly with them. 

How do you build trust with your clients? 

Sarah: Providing them with quality work! Also, being reachable is really important, especially in COVID times. Being ready to jump on the phone at any point helps to build that trust. 

Adam: We build trust by communicating openly and honestly with them. Where there is an issue we’ll always be sure to raise it, and also take responsibility if it was on our watch. 

How do you demonstrate trust to your clients? 

Sarah: Good communication, such as status updates about the work we are doing. Also, if we go to them with a problem we always have a solution at hand. 

Adam: We rely on the information they provide us rather than interrogating them over the details. At the end of the day we are there to assist them. 

How do you know BDO and its leaders trust you? 

Sarah: I’m given responsibility for my work and for my clients, and I’m able to run with the work myself until I ask for the support, which is always there. 

Adam: Like Sarah, I’m given freedom to perform work without controlling mandates. I can communicate directly with clients, am trusted to manage myself, and my leaders share information with me knowing I will handle it appropriately.  

The BDO values we most identify with are:

STRIVE - BDO nurtures and supports employees to develop personally and professionally. We pride ourselves on delivering quality work for our clients. 

HUMAN - BDO treats employees and clients as people. There is a real emphasis on trust and relationships which makes the work all the more rewarding. 

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