• The Fred Hollows Foundation
Case Study:

The Fred Hollows Foundation

07 December 2021

Leah Russell, Partner, Audit & Assurance |

The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in 1992 by Fred and Gabi Hollows in Sydney, Australia. Their vision was to end avoidable blindness and ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples had equal access to quality eye health services.

Since 1992, The Foundation has restored sight to over 2.5 million people in 25 countries. Today, The Foundation continues to restore sight at a global scale, as well as undertaking critical research, developing technology, advocating for change, and empowering people through training. Their work goes beyond eliminating blindness. It is an integral part of alleviating poverty in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and many low- and middle-income countries.

Having worked with BDO since their appointment as The Foundation’s external auditor in 2020; The Foundation’s finance team describes the BDO audit team as practical, conclusive, and responsive. For Richard Elphick, The Foundation’s Group Finance Manager – Treasury, Statutory and Policy, the BDO team’s ability to “come down to anyone’s level” is what sets them apart.

Following a smooth transition, the BDO audit team has worked to make The Foundation’s global audit more efficient whilst remaining focused on quality. To achieve this, the BDO audit team has provided continuity of the team; pro-actively engaged with international BDO colleagues; utilised the BDO Global Portal to enable clear requests, transparent progress tracking and effective project management; and taken extra time during planning to ensure material items have been adequately addressed ahead of time.

As a not-for-profit, there are additional factors that must be considered as part of The Foundation’s audit to ensure compliance with relevant regulations, including Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) regulations. As engagement partner, Leah Russell has been able to bring her extensive not-for-profit experience to the audit. Graham Putt, The Foundation’s Finance Director, notes that if you have a question, Leah is always able to respond and provide you with a conclusive view.

Looking ahead, The Fred Hollows Foundation will continue to campaign, innovate and strive for equal access to quality eye care and health services; with the support of BDO’s trusted audit capability and not-for-profit experience to maintain confidence in The Foundation’s work in Australia and overseas.  

The audit transition to BDO was one of the smoothest I’ve been involved in as a client. Since then, we have been very impressed with BDO’s work.

Graham Putt, Finance Director, The Fred Hollows Foundation