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Another successful year for BDO – course set for the future

12 March 2020

The financial year 2018/2019(1) was again a successful year for BDO, both nationally and internationally. Revenue at the German BDO Group rose by 8.6% to €262.1 million. All operating segments of the integrated audit and advisory firm contributed to this positive revenue increase. At the same time the course was set for further growth: a modified strategy and significant investment in digitalisation ensure the Hamburg-based company is well positioned for the future in its 100th anniversary year.

Positive performance of tax and legal advisory with new emphasis

Parwäz Rafiqpoor, the member of the BDO Management Board responsible for tax and advisory, is pleased with the strong performance: “In Tax and Legal Advisory we passed the 100 million mark last year.” BDO reported growth of 4.7% and revenue of €104.1 million. The company saw greater demand, especially in the context of tax compliance, tax risk management systems and international tax law. Many well-known new staff members in these areas and its advisory work for family offices enable BDO to look to the future with confidence: “Last year we really expanded specialist areas such as tax litigation and advisory for family offices. And we are continuing to drive the digitalisation of our business. We have brought in more experts to push the development of digital solutions and are also using the latest technologies for existing services and products”, says BDO Management Board member Andrea Bruckner, who counts digitalisation among her areas of responsibility. 

BDO advisory in high demand

The Advisory area was again a growth driver for BDO. This segment grew by 17.1% to €43.2 million. “It was not only due to our Corporate Finance practice, which has been growing successfully for years. Establishing BDO Cyber Security also made a contribution to this excellent result”, explains Parwäz Rafiqpoor. Many companies have a lot of catching up to do in terms of IT security architecture and network equipment – BDO Cyber Security provides the necessary advisory, programming and implementation services along with the BDO subsidiary BDO DIGITAL.

Well-known clients including XING SE, the Novartis Group, Vossloh AG, Douglas GmbH and the “Wer liefert was” Group also used the advisory of BDO in Germany last year. Rafiqpoor adds: “2019 was an absolutely record year for us on the international stage – with BDO Global we advised on more than 1,500 deals with a volume of US$ 73.1 billion, which puts us in 4th place for financial due diligence.”

Focus on the client – with digitalisation at all levels

Andrea Bruckner on BDO’s pursuit of client focus: “Our clients’ worlds are changing rapidly. We not only have to keep up, but take the lead and show the way. “Clients with ever more digital and global business processes expect high quality and performance from BDO. So it goes without saying that we offer innovative, integrated solutions and meet the highest quality standards.”

“The strong financial background of the global organisation enables investment in digitalisation projects that are noted throughout the industry”, says Andrea Bruckner. In addition to substantial investment in the BDO audit tool APT NG, which as a global solution also enables highly efficient audits of large groups, BDO has invested in a collaboration tool for worldwide use, the BDO Global Portal. It makes it possible to network clients, advisers and auditors.

And the experts at BDO are continually developing the existing IT-enabled workflow system, which ensures efficient audits and provides data analytics tools. AI solutions developed in cooperation with Prof. Dr Oliver Thomas in the joint digital centre of excellence are ready for use and can be put into service on real-life projects. BDO in Germany also has other products in the pipeline, including solutions for IFRS financial reporting and intelligent solutions for tax declaration obligations and investment funds. “I am also very pleased about the recent go-live of our BDO Innovation Platform, which aims to use modern didactic formats to convey digital and innovative contents in an entertaining way”, reports Andrea Bruckner.

War for Talent

“Our active role in the digitalisation of the profession also puts us in a very strong position in the “war for talent”. Anyone who wants to work across a broader range of topics will find attractive opportunities with BDO”, says Bruckner. “Another advantage for us is that we are not managed like an industrial company. Here the colleagues can do their own thing and we set great store by leadership development.” BDO Global recently launched a joint project with Harvard Business School in order to provide a good range of personal development courses, especially to younger partners. The opportunities are well received by staff, as can be seen in the development of the workforce. The number of employees in Germany is up by some 9% and there are some well-known new partners, taking the total to around 140.

BDO shines on the international stage

In financial year 2019 BDO Global increased its revenue by 10.1% (at constant exchange rates) to US$9.6 billion. The Global Organisation founded in 1963 is now active in 167 countries with more than 88,000 employees.

A combination of significant organic growth and strong M&A activity was behind this positive result. BDO in the UK completed an impressive merger with Moore Stephens, which makes BDO the fifth largest audit and advisory firm in the country, with more than 5,000 employees. In the USA BDO remains the merger leader. BDO is in third place for audit and advisory companies in China.

In October 2018 BDO Global was voted “Network of the Year” for the second time by the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB). The IAB Awards are given by the leading professional journals for outstanding performance by audit and advisory companies. “For 10 years we have been the fastest growing global audit and advisory organisation. That shows that our quality and innovation-driven approach is spot on”, explains Dr Holger Otte.

Looking to the future

“In our jubilee year we expect to expand at a similar pace. Based on its 100 year-old heritage, with a focus on quality, trust and a clear client focus, BDO is an agile company. We adapt to the needs of the market and are currently making a few adjustments that will ensure the firm keeps delivering good news in future”, says Dr Holger Otte.


(1) The global BDO network and so also the German BDO Group report worldwide on a uniform basis or the period from 01.10. to 30.09. of each year. The disclosures in this press release relate to the period from 01.10. to 30.09. of the following year in each case. To this extent the disclosures are not wholly comparable with the disclosures in the national consolidated financial statements of BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft as of 30 June.