BDO announces ‘newest’ partners

01 February 2021

Accounting and advisory firm, BDO, is proving to be somewhat of a magnet attracting an impressive list of new hires since July 2020. 

Meet BDO’s newest partners and read their micro-stories

The facts:

  • In January, BDO on-boarded five new partners and promoted two internal candidates to Partner positions across the country.
  • Accelerating some of the firm’s growth plans, most of the new-year hires will be based in BDO’s Melbourne and Sydney offices and will (1) build upon already strong expertise in areas such as infrastructure advisory (Darren Black and Grant Morris) and automotive (Grant Cameron and Sam Venn), (2) will support high-growth areas like cyber (John Borchi and Ross Widdows) and, (3) supplement our internal promotions where the growth in some areas of the firm has accelerated, such as audit (John Bresolin, Steve May and Salim Biskri). [see list below]
  • BDO’s newest partner update released today (3 Feb), shows the firm has appointed 15 new partners since July and another ten or so are in the firm’s sights for this year; making it a record number of partner hires for the firm.
  • At time of print, BDO also confirmed that they’re in advanced stages of contract negotiation with an additional three partner candidates.
  • In addition to maintaining the internal partner promotion pathways in 2020, BDO acknowledged that the current environment has prompted people to assess their career priorities and explore opportunities in the market. 
  • In the last 12 months, BDO reported that more than 50 partners from other firms have had discussions with the firm about employment opportunities at BDO; this is a fivefold increase on the previous year.
  • All appointments announced today will underpin the growth of the firm in the 2022 year.
  • Firm culture is the key factor that attracts new hires to BDO. BDO will continue to invest heavily in its people-centric approach and build upon the positive brand values and behaviours that are espoused across the firm. Culture will become a more prominent differentiator in a post-COVID world and BDO has a strong advantage in this area.

The firm’s executives, (Chief Executive Partner, Tony Schiffmann, OMP Sydney, Grant Saxon and OMP Melbourne, David Garvey) outlined the firm’s thinking around its most recent hires, how culture (whilst always been important) is proving to be a key differentiator for the firm and its growing success, the ethos behind its people strategy and hiring decisions and the reasons why they’ve seen a fivefold increase in the number of people wanting to join BDO.

BDO in Australia Chief Executive Partner, Tony Schiffmann, commented:

“With the focus on digital over the last year or two, the emphasis on people seems to have been lost somewhat across our profession. We are still very much an industry built around our people” commented Mr Schiffmann.

“The way our people responded during COVID was simply outstanding. This reinforced the quality of the BDO team. Our view is that the ability of firms to attract and retain the right people will be a key success factor for all firms in a post COVID world.

“Also, the legacy of how firms treated their employees during COVID will have a lasting impact on their employer brand and there are likely to be winners and losers around this issue.

“I believe BDO is above the line in this equation. BDO will continue to increase its investment in its people, and especially through COVID. The investment will be across three main areas, (1) maintaining existing people-centric personal and professional programs, (2) COVID related investments, in particular mental health initiatives to manage the impacts of COVID, especially in the offices such as Melbourne that experienced long lockdowns and, (3) increased investment in digital skills to meet the future demands of our clients.

“[I think you’d agreed that] 2020 challenged many of us to reassess our priorities and it is no secret that our distinctive, people-centric firm culture is well regarded in the industry … that is not going unnoticed; our staff retention rates are at record highs while the number of people approaching us has increased significantly.” 

Office managing partner, Sydney, Grant Saxon, commented:

“During 2020, BDO was a standout in my opinion having successfully executed a concerted effort to keep teams together during COVID with no redundancies and very limited disruption to working patterns and salaries. Many areas of the firm, such as Audit and Business Services, were busier than ever and, where there may have been quieter divisions, we were able to redeploy people across to areas of higher demand.” said Mr Saxon. 

“I’m really proud of the way our people came together and got behind our strategy to help clients and colleagues through a really difficult time. 

“We start 2021 cautiously optimistic and from a very strong position. We have created a culture that is an attractive proposition to quality talent who are looking to grow and become part of our ongoing success. Looking forward for this year we will continue the investment in our people and build upon the programs that were introduced this year, such as The Resilience Project with Hugh van Cuylenburg, and continue to nurture, promote and attract superior talent.”

Office managing partner, Melbourne, David Garvey, commented:

“These most recent internal promotions and appointments strengthen our market offering, particularly in advisory areas such as automotive, infrastructure and cyber, and sharpen our competitive edge,” said Mr Garvey.

[At BDO,] “We look to the future through three aspects, (1) Advisers of the Future; developing and investing in our people, (2) Market Leadership; building talent, expertise and services to lead in market and, (3) Innovation; creating the environment that allows out people to seek out new ways of working to achieve great outcomes for our clients. If we get that first point right, looking after our people, then that will underwrite the success in the other two areas.

“In relation to the employment market generally, as the world comes back to some normality, employer brand (of all firms) will be critical. There is already shortages of some skills now. Any professional, whether they be an experienced partner or a new graduate, will usually have multiple employment options. I believe the investment we make in our people creates an authentic experience for people joining the professional services profession and that resonates positively with individuals, especially in the current environment.”

Recent recruit to BDO, John Borchi, has worked all over the world in the realms of cyber security and most recently he headed up the Queensland Government Health Department’s cyber division as CISO. When asked what the key driver for his wish to join BDO was, he replied by simply saying, culture.

“My previous roles have taken me around the world and, as Tony said before, people are assessing the career options in front of them. The cyber team at BDO in Brisbane is first class and the people-centric culture at BDO was the needle in the haystack for me; combining excellent opportunities for challenging client work in a location that is safe and secure for me and my family, especially during these COVID times.”

Meet BDO’s newest partners and read their micro-stories