Transitioning working at BDO in Singapore to BDO in Australia

This article was originally published 4 March 2020. Michelle is now Senior Manager, Audit, with BDO in Australia.

I commenced my auditing career in early 2014 as a graduate auditor at BDO in Singapore. Working in Singapore was very rewarding and once I was promoted to Senior Auditor, I thought it was a great time to seek a new challenge, so I started looking abroad and considered moving to Australia. I saw a position advertised with BDO in Brisbane and immediately applied as I viewed Brisbane as one of the fastest-growing capital cities in Australia.

Transitioning from Singapore to Australia

The application process when applying to BDO Brisbane was seamless. Firstly, I submitted my application via the BDO Careers website and then Brisbane’s People & Culture team got in touch within a week to book a series of interviews, and they all went very well.

Once I was successful in securing the role, the Brisbane People & Culture team helped arrange the formal migration process, which was a great help. I think the whole process only took about four months in total and before I knew it, I was on my way to living in Brisbane.

Adjusting to a new office

Adjusting to working in a new office always has its challenges; however, in Singapore, I was fortunate enough to have worked on a number of audits for multinational companies. This required reporting to, or reviewing files from, other BDO firms in the network such as Thailand and Malaysia. This previous experience working with other BDO firms has definitely helped.

Furthermore, the transition from the Singapore office to the Brisbane one was made easier as they both use a similar audit methodology and audit-processing tool (APT). This has definitely made a huge difference as these two components are such a large part of my job. 

One very notable difference was in regards to financial statements because in Singapore there is only one type of statement, whereas in Australia there are three. To get me up to speed when I first emigrated, I undertook a lot of face-to-face training and attended a number of IFRS update presentations. The Partners and managers have also been very supportive at BDO helping me get up to speed.

BDO’s open-door policy ensures you can easily walk into a Partner’s office to ask a question and by sitting with the Managers and Directors, it is easy to update them on the status of a particular job or discuss any challenges you are having on a client’s job. The team culture across both offices I have worked in is very similar. Everyone is like a big family - if you need to do overtime, you all stay back together as a team. The whole team stays to get the job done. 

Highlights of working in Australia

As part of my role at BDO in Australia, I have had to opportunity to work in different parts of Queensland and I have also been able to travel interstate. I think the most exciting client location I visited was a health retreat in the Hunter Valley for a week. I love the variety of my role. I am constantly on the move and I spend very little time in the office, which allows me to work directly with clients, communicate with new people, and expand my network.

I would encourage anyone following a similar path to me to try new things, develop a new understanding of their career and abilities. Take charge of your career journey - do not just stick to your comfort zone. You never know where it will lead you.

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