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BDO sees strong growth, with further boost from gaining SAP as client

05 May 2021

  • Revenue up 8.6 per cent to €285 million

  • Growth in all business areas

  • Other well-known clients gained as well as SAP

  • New audit engagement for Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG

  • BDO Global operates in 167 countries and Top 4 in China

  • BDO Global increases revenue by 7.8 per cent to USD 10.3 billion

Audit and advisory firm BDO is continuing along a path of strong growth. In the 2019/2020[1] reporting year, the German BDO Group generated an 8.6 per cent rise in revenue to €285 (262) million compared to the previous year. This reflects the high demand for BDO expertise despite the impact of the pandemic. All business areas contributed to the encouraging rise in revenue. Over the past twelve months, BDO has gained high-profile companies in tenders for the audit of financial statements. In addition to Dax-listed SAP, these include food group Theo Müller and the global family-owned Vaillant Group, in addition to consulting work for vaccine manufacturer BionTech. Quite recently, BDO gained Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG as a new audit client in the banking sector.

BDO is also growing very successfully in the international arena. BDO Global increased its year-on-year revenue to USD 10.3 (9.6) billion in the 2020 financial year. BDO operates in 167 countries around the world. In the US, BDO has now almost reached the two billion dollar mark in terms of revenue; in China, BDO employs some 11,000 people and is the fourth largest audit and consulting firm.

“We can look back on a very satisfactory financial year with considerable growth”, commented Dr Holger Otte, CEO of BDO. “The fact that we recently won the tender to audit software group SAP marks a milestone for BDO. This is confirmation that we have the capability and expertise, both nationally and internationally, to provide the best possible support to Dax-listed groups. The market is acknowledging our investment in digitalisation and staff. Our existing and new clients in the SME sector will also benefit substantially from this. With regard to the current financial year, we are confident that we will be able to continue our growth trajectory and achieve our ambitious targets.”

Auditing increases revenue to €123 million

Audit & Assurance remains the largest service that BDO provides, accounting for 43 per cent of revenue. Compared to the previous year, it grew 7.0 per cent to €123 (115) million. Growth was seen in all units within the business area, especially the specialist departments ‘Forensic, Risk & Compliance’ and ‘Banking and Insurance’. In the banking sector, Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG is now the second American financial institution to use BDO’s auditing services. Just over a year ago, J.P. Morgan AG had decided on BDO as auditor. BDO will be proposed as statutory auditor at the upcoming annual general meetings of prominent companies. “We feel that we are becoming more attractive as an employer due to the engagements we have gained, especially for highly specialised top candidates in our industry,” said Andrea Bruckner, whose responsibilities on the Management Board include digitalisation and corporate social responsibility.

Double-digit growth for tax and legal advice

Generating 41 per cent of revenue, Tax & Legal is almost the same size as Audit & Assurance. Compared to the previous year, it experienced double-digit revenue growth, up 12.6 per cent to €117 (104) million. BDO recorded greater demand, especially in the context of tax compliance, tax risk management systems and international tax law. Tax & Legal’s clients include a number of car manufacturers and the Panasonic electronics group. “The upper mid-market segment and major companies are increasingly looking for alternatives on the market. More and more often, they see BDO as a reliable partner with a high level of expertise — and international positioning,” said Parwäz Rafiqpoor, who includes Tax and Advisory among his responsibilities as a board member at BDO.

Advisory Services: very strong year for transaction business

Advisory Services, a driver of growth for BDO in recent years, did not grow quite as strongly as usual due to the corona situation. It was noted in the digitalisation consultancy that companies are acting more cautiously and postponing investments. Advisory Services revenue increased by 3.5 per cent to €45 (43) million compared to the previous year. This positions its share of BDO’s total revenue at around 16 per cent. Advisory clients include the TUI travel group and vaccine manufacturer BionTech. The transaction business in particular posted rising demand. In this segment, BDO’s work included advising on acquisition of the Rhön Hospitals by the Asklepios Hospitals Group, and advising Enercon on the joint venture with EWE to form Alterric, the biggest German producer of green electricity. Advisory Services has also expanded its IT consulting for the public sector. BDO is represented on the German Federal Ministry of Health’s digitalisation committee and has worked on proposals for the vaccination strategy.

Strong momentum in international business

Like the German BDO Group, the international BDO Group is also experiencing strong momentum. BDO Global grew 7.8 per cent year-on-year in the 2020 financial year (on a constant exchange rate basis), generating revenue of USD 10.3 (9.6) billion. More than 91,000 BDO employees (+3.3 per cent) work in 1,658 offices throughout the world.

In the field of auditing, BDO is driving forward the integration of member firms by implementing joint IT projects on a centralised basis. BDO has already rolled out standardised digital auditing software worldwide, setting the same standards in all countries and consequently guaranteeing consistently high quality. “Only a few firms in the world can deliver this,” said Andrea Bruckner. “This is also one of the cornerstones of our success in winning engagements.”

Expansion of the CSR business segment

Demand from companies for sustainability-related consulting and auditing services is increasing significantly. For this reason, BDO is developing its expertise and strengthening its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department at the beginning of the new financial year on 1 July. BDO experts support companies in the preparation and auditing of sustainability reports for example, in ESG due diligence and in sustainable finance risk management, with assistance also for issues relating to non-financial reporting.


[1] The global BDO organisation and so also the German BDO Group report worldwide on a uniform basis for 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 30.06.