CEDA member profile: BDO




Tony Schiffmann,
BDO Australia

What are BDO’s main operations?

BDO is a global organisation operating in 162 countries and territories, with 80,087 people working out of 1,591 offices. In Australia, BDO has offices in each state and we provide services across tax, business services, audit & assurance, and advisory.

We believe that people do business with people, not organisations. So our business is about helping people, whether you’re running a business, heading up a major corporation or just need personal advice. 

What do you think is unique about BDO?

Our culture. People within and outside our firm always comment on our great culture. From graduates working with Partners who have an open door policy, to clients telling us about our approach to client service, as well as our commitment to diversity and a flexible work environment, culture is one of our many stand outs.

What are the public policy issues most of interest to you and BDO right now?

Along with the rest of the world: COVID-19. We are first and foremost a people organisation and the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients come first. As a firm, our actions are also focused on reducing the spread of COVID-19 within the communities in which we live and work, so many of our people are working from home. We’ve long been committed to a flexible workplace, and we have the technological, cultural and operational infrastructure to enable all staff to work from home, so in that respect our operations have been seamless from a client and business continuity perspective.

Our advisers have also been busy interpreting and providing commentary on various government stimulus packages. One of our main roles during this challenging time is to use our expert knowledge to guide organisations with their business operations and finance-related issues affecting individuals.

How is BDO dealing with COVID-19? 

BDO is continually monitoring possible impacts on our business and further refining our plans to ensure that there is minimal risk to the provision of our client services over the coming months. We are working very closely with our local teams in Australia and globally. This is how we operate under normal conditions but during these unprecedented times, our combined effort is invaluable. We are sharing resources and thought leadership content with our other firms across the globe as we unite and work together.

On the home front, while some BDO offices remain open with key personnel, most of our teams are working from home. Over the past few weeks we have had more than 1,000 people a day logging in remotely to our system without any major issues.

How is BDO assisting clients with the COVID-19 business impacts??

With the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, we are focused on continuity of service and helping our clients navigate through this challenging period.

We’ve found that our clients are looking for reliable and practical information about how their business and/or personal financial situation can weather this storm. Our professional staff are in constant communication with our clients to provide advice and guidance.

Our experts across a multitude of service lines including Tax, Superannuation, Business Services, Risk, Cyber, People Advisory, and Business Restructuring are delivering their views and expertise every day to assist our clients and the public to understand how they can access the different stimulus packages and respond to the impact on their business.

How do you feel the Australian business community is grappling with the crisis? Is there anything you would like to see them do differently?

I think we have seen the Australian business community move swiftly into action in terms of care for their people and the community.  Organisations are implementing business continuity plans or reaching out for support. In the coming weeks and months, I’d encourage organisations to continue assessing and mitigating short term risks but also focus on long term responses to mitigate any business disruption.

Generally, the business community should be developing, implementing and maintaining viable business continuity plans where they can effectively maintain or restore business critical functions and processes. They should also be looking to protect their most important assets: people, information, cash flow and reputation. 

In this environment being flexible and agile is key.

Why is BDO a CEDA member? 

We see a synergy between BDO and CEDA for a number of reasons. In particular, our advisers are independent, critical thinkers which is very much aligned to CEDA. We also aim to share our thought leadership with our peers and in turn, learn from them too. CEDA provides opportunities and events, in person and virtual, to foster knowledge sharing and thought leadership.