BDO grows partner team by nine despite Covid-19 crisis

10 August 2020 4 min. read
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Despite the Covid-19-induced crisis, BDO has continued its growth and bolstered its leadership ranks, admitting nine new partners to its partnership in the past months.

At the start of this year, BDO added five new partners across its Australian operations, helping the accounting and consulting firm break through the milestone of 200 partners across its nine offices nationally. But against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, which has caused a fallout of demand for many professional services firms and has seen rivals including the Big Four forced to downsize their teams, not many would have expected BDO to maintain its pre-Covid-19 momentum. 

Yet Helen Argiris, BDO’s national chair for Australia, said that the firm’s teams have “demonstrated great resilience” over the past months, putting their clients first and working with them on their “most immediate needs” and longer-term challenges. 

To some extent, the news was anticipated. Two months ago, BDO’s chief executive Tony Schiffmann told AFR that despite the pandemic-triggered crisis, most of the firm’s divisions have been experiencing the same or even more demand. While demand for mergers & acquisitions support has understandably fallen, and demand for consulting services has been steady, demand in areas including audit, business services, tax, cyber-security advice and digital transformation has increased.BDO grows partner team by nineIn particular the firm’s services related to government stimulus packages have seen heightened demand, with clients wanting guidance on preparing and applying for packages. More recently, the firm is also seeing an uptick in restructuring related work. The consultancy for instance is working on the administration of retailer Kikki K and has been appointed the administrator of Wirecard’s domestic operations, as part of one of the most high-profile international bankruptcies of the year so far.

In June, Wirecard, once Germany’s jewel of the fintech industry valued at US$28 billion, filed for insolvency after admitting that US$2.1 billion had evaporated from its accounts. The news came a year after consultants from McKinsey & Company warned the company’s CEO Markus Braun that “immediate action” needed to be taken on controls, a message re-iterated later on by financial experts from PwC. Meanwhile, Wirecard’s accountant EY has been slammed for not spotting the financial irregularities, and is facing mounting pressure for its role in the fiasco.

At BDO, growing net demand across its Australian footprint will see its revenues hit $325 million in 2020, up from $299 million the year previous. Argiris: “Whilst 2020 is proving a challenging year, we project sustained good growth this year.”

“Attracting and retaining high calibre people is paramount in order to achieve our growth goals,” she said, adding that the nine new partners will play a leading role in the realisation of this objective. “Our newest partners bring a range of additional backgrounds and perspectives across audit, advisory, business services, tax, forensics and risk advisory, to further assist our clients with whatever challenges they may be facing.”

The nine new partners: 

James Dixon, Audit & Assurance, Melbourne
Stan Gallo, Forensic Services, Brisbane
Tom Hogbin, Financial Management Consulting, Brisbane
Joanne Johnston, Business Services, Cairns
Schalk Kock, Technology Advisory, Melbourne
Loucas Mylonas, Audit & Assurance, Brisbane
Faith Page, Information and Technology Risk Advisory, Melbourne
Elysia Rothwell, Audit & Assurance, Sydney
James Trainor, Tax, Sydney

Learn more about the nine new partners in this video:

BDO now has a total of 206 partners, consolidating its positions as Australia’s sixth largest advisory firm with an accounting-heritage. The partners lead a team of around 1,500 accountants, auditors, advisors, consultants and staff.