WHY SHOULD YOU READOUR CULTURE STORY? Start by asking yourself a question: One year ago did I think that the UK would be staring down the barrel of another 12 months of Brexit, a new Prime Minister, a proposal from the Competition & Markets Authority that, unless a large company uses a non-Big-Four firm, it will need to appoint joint auditors, a Cricket World Cup victory, another Royal baby, more people applying for Love Island


We’ve created a global centre of excellence for Robotic Process Automation. And as a £600m business, we are campaigning for the interests of the entrepreneurially spirited, fast-growth and ambitious UK businesses and individuals. We are confident that this report will give you a sense of what it’s like to work with us or alongside us. The content and stories are for our financial year ending 5 July 2019.


02 04 06 08 12 14 16 20 22 25 33 34

than Oxbridge and more young adults watching YouTube than the BBC or ITV? Then ask yourself: If the world continues to change so quickly and unpredictably, is it important for you to work in or with an organisation that has a purpose and culture to help navigate that future? If the answer to this question is ‘yes’, then we would love to introduce you to our culture at BDO. It’s a culture that has helped us navigate a period of extreme change; just in the last year, we’ve grown to 5,000 people in the UK and 80,000 people globally. We merged with fellow accountancy firm, Moore Stephens LLP, to create a market-leading firm. More people are applying to work for us than ever before. A sixth generation of workers has now joined our workforce.








+6,000 +3%

Our employee engagement scores have increased to 68% . See page 34 for more

BDO and Moore Stephens LLP merged to create a 5,000-

BDO’s global population has increased to 80,000. See page 10 for more

strong workforce . See page 5 for more



+45,480 Number of training courses completed on our new

All our people now feel proud of BDO 75% of the time . See page 34 for more

1,500 people have been promoted across BDO. See page 2 for more

e-learning system . See page 9 for more


+20% +16

20% increase in number of school leavers and graduates applying for our trainee scheme – now at 10,800 applications ! See page 8 & 30 for more

300 new trainees joined us last year – and it will be more

We rose up 16 places on the Rate My Placement Top 100 Undergraduate Employers . See page 11 for more

than 400 next year! See page 9 for more



everything changes but What’s been happening in our Culture Story since we first launched our report in October 2018? U +1,520

We Increased the number of female partners by 1% so we now have 17% female partners . See page 28 for more

We promoted 13 people into the partnership and hired in 14 new partners – and that’s

on top of the merger. See page 2 for more



15 more people have participated in the 30% Club mentoring scheme . See page 28 for more

BDO’s Gender Pay Gap has decreased again by 1% – with mean now at 16.7%. See page 29 for more

An additional 1,520 recognition awards were handed out to people – taking it to 5,000+ . See page 9 for more




We’ve launched a new Citizenship approach to

1,000 BDO people took part in our Wellbeing Step Challenge this year – that’s

Our BAME Network doubled in size to 344 members. See page 30 for more

make more of a difference to society with our ten CSR days. See page 22 for more

up from 800 last year. See page 20 for more

+20 +23%


Reusable water bottles handed out to replace single- use plastic cups in the office. See page 24 for more

Individuals we’ve helped through their first experience of Shared Parental Leave . See page 28 for more

Increase in number of international BDO secondments into and out of our UK firm. See page 10 for more



That’s why culture is a core component of our business strategy. Our internal strategy is known as ‘BUILD’, and the U in BUILD stands for ‘Unifying Culture’. That means a culture where we are encouraged to be ourselves, inspired and challenged, collaborative and successful. Creating a culture of this kind provides an obvious business benefit: it results in a confident organisation that is resilient – for example in being prepared to deal with whatever disturbance Brexit brings. This requires a determined and perpetual investment in people. This year alone, we promoted 1,500 people in the UK, recruited 14 external partners, promoted a further 13 internal people to partner and welcomed 300 new trainees – all on top of the merger, where we celebrated another 1,000 people becoming part of a merged firm. If ever there was a time for professional service firms to turbo-charge their growth, it’s now. The Competition & Market Authority review of the audit market will bring a once-in-a-generation change. While we will play our part in providing greater choice and competition in the top-end of the

Our strategy specifically includes fostering a Unifying Culture , where you are: X X Encouraged to be yourself: we value you as an individual and want you to realise your aspirations. We know that if you bring your ‘real’ self to work you are far more likely to be successful. You have a voice and your opinion counts. X X Inspired and challenged: few firms offer the same breadth and quality of work at all stages of your career. Your personal career plans are designed to inspire and challenge; we enable you to shape your career according to your strengths, skills and personality. X X Collaborative: sharing and applying knowledge and ideas remains one of the most powerful things an organisation can do, it provides a competitive advantage. We are moving towards a culture of innovation to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas and share knowledge with colleagues. X X Successful: each of us has our own definition of success, we want Our internal people survey data and the great stories in this report show what our Unifying Culture means to us. We hope these resonate and would love you to join our next chapter. audit market it will not be at the expense of our culture – protecting our culture comes first.

PAUL EAGLAND Managing Partner, father, husband, son, brother, swimmer, mountain biker, passionate about walking everywhere and avid reader of business psychology and philosophy You’ll know the often-used phrase * : “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. But I definitely think that culture gets its appetite from purpose. When we introduced our Core Purpose – ‘Helping You Succeed’ – three years ago, it unlocked something very powerful for our culture. We’re a people-powered business. Our clients choose us because of our people who deliver great ideas to help them succeed: for their knowledge, their skills, their technical abilities, their digital mindset, their independence, their objectivity and their diverse characters. BDO is made up of 5,000 individuals, who each bring something special and unique, and we want to celebrate every single one. Which means our culture isn’t something we ‘create’ from the top – it’s made up of daily interactions between 5,000 people.

to help you define, achieve and celebrate yours. In doing so, we will ultimately contribute to the overall success of the firm.

* Attributed to Sheila Teasdale

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I asked a group of people who had returned to BDO after a stint at competitor firms or roles in industry about why they’d come back. The unanimous reply was ‘the culture’. For one person, it meant getting more direct access to partners so she could learn more quickly. For another it meant picking up the phone to anyone and knowing they’d be happy to help them. For another, it meant being able to be himself and work in a way and at a time that suited both his clients and his family. It was brilliant to hear. As someone who cares for our business, I feel responsible for leading that culture for everyone for the future. It’s strangely exhausting yet exhilarating at the same time!”

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CHRIS GROVE Head of Transaction Services, chair of BDO’s U Board, very, very keen cyclist and sometime surfer and skier. One thing is certain: we don’t establish a culture by sitting in U Board meetings! Instead we use this leadership group to:


Our BAME Network held an afternoon tea debate at the House of Lords with Baroness McGregor-Smith on ‘Breaking The Mould’. That was a great initiative in itself – but just as inspiring was that representatives from our women’s network and LGBTQ+ network asked to attend to show their support for their BAME colleagues. Allies like these are vital to our ‘Be Yourself’ work.”

UNDERSTAND The U Board hosts long-term strategic discussions about how to protect and celebrate


what makes our culture special. Importantly, we have a community of 45 people, whom we call U Leaders, across the UK to be a ‘link’ between central and local initiatives, so we can make things relevant locally and celebrate them more broadly across the firm. This helps to set the tone at a senior level and highlights to our people the importance we place in developing their talents and in helping them to succeed.

UNCOVER We’re overseeing some important debates. For example: how is our culture

We have three initial priorities – which will naturally evolve as we develop as a business and respond to the changing world and workforce:


1. Wellbeing 2. Be Yourself 3. Citizenship

going to evolve and adapt to the workforce of tomorrow? How can we be future-ready to ensure our people have the right skills to be Advisers of the Future? How can we protect the parts of our culture that people love, as we move to more agile and flexible working styles? We’ll continue to explore these long-term topics with our people.

As a result, we now offer an impressive suite of Wellbeing support tools for our people, a clear ‘Be Yourself’ strategy and a new Citizenship programme which encourages people to take their CSR days in a really meaningful way. That’s progress to be proud of – and you can read more detail in this report. We believe that by driving success in these three culturally-important areas, we will achieve our vision to be an independent, sustainably profitable and globally focused firm, known for helping businesses and people succeed.

UNIFY We’ve been making connections between existing and new communities


across BDO to share their stories. We meet regularly with our various network groups – individually and collectively such as BLEND (our LGBTQ+ group), BDO Inspire (our women’s network), Islamic Network, Jewish Network and BAME Network, to help us better understand barriers and opportunities.

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sets of values, which told us that we were all working to achieve the same ‘greater good’ and that our purpose-led cultures guided behaviours, as well as sustainable and profitable business decisions. We knew that, together, we would have an exciting and important mix of clients to advise and help succeed: fast-growth, ambitious and entrepreneurial businesses and individuals. For our people, we knew that we could give them all the opportunity to access or work with a broader client base, as part of a market-leading firm. It’s well-known that cultural integration takes time and effort from everyone – and our enlarged Leadership Team’s philosophy has been to take the best of both and to allow teams the time and headspace to get to know each other. We have so much to learn from each other’s experiences and expertise. Now a few months into the merger and we’ve seen some brilliant #workingtogether stories. I’ll pick two favourites: Internally,

OUR MERGER: CULTURAL INTEGRATION Simon Gallagher, Head of BDO’s Advisory Services, lover of hill-walking In February 2019, Moore Stephens LLP and BDO merged to create a market- leading firm. As former Managing Partner of Moore Stephens LLP, it was clear from my first meetings with the BDO team that we shared three factors in driving the decision to merge: Core Purpose, client focus and culture. Our two firms shared strikingly similar Core Purposes and

‘Helping You Succeed’ welcome pack

on Day One, everyone received a ‘Helping You Succeed’ welcome pack, which helped us see how BDO’s Core Purpose could really help our integration process. Externally, legacy Moore Stephens’ clients are seeing so much benefit from access to BDO’s $9bn global network – and BDO’s global network is all the stronger for now including legacy Moore Stephens partners who have very impressive international credentials.



WELLBEING ‘Successful and Collaborative’

BE YOURSELF ‘Diversity and Inclusion’

CITIZENSHIP ‘Challenged and Inspired’



Focus Groups

Gender Balance


Giving back

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NICOLA LALLY Director of Communications, ((BOUNCE)) addict and had two children in two years so is just pleased to achieve selecting a matching pair of shoes every morning Our Unifying Culture allows us to respond and adapt to important topics happening in the outside world. After all, our 5,000 people (me included) still carry the same ambitions, motivations and concerns with us from our personal lives as we walk through the office doors. As Chris says, the U Board don’t ‘set’ a culture in board meetings – which means they don’t get the right to only answer the questions they choose either! So, I asked people across BDO what was on their minds and how our Unifying Culture will help:


We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we talk. Our U Leaders, Network groups and Listening Programme ensure we’re paying attention to what’s happening in local teams and what topics really make a difference to people.”

How can ‘U’ help us restore trust in audit? From Israh Shabbir You’ll notice that we’ve recently put ‘Trust’ right up there in our brand strapline: Ideas I People I Trust. That’s how important this topic is to us. We’ve been actively contributing to the various reviews into the future of audit, and our ‘Unifying Culture’ focus has helped us to do things: 1. Use our Core Purpose to respond to the Government’s review. Our ideas for how the audit market needs to reform are based first and foremost on what will genuinely help UK plc succeed. 2. Ensure that it’s not just our auditors who recognise the importance of quality. Our strategic framework has one important phrase for all our 5,000 people to unite behind: “Quality is explicitly and implicitly included in everything we do”. Read more on page 18 and also take a look at BDO’s Transparency Report.

How does our positive focus on ‘U’ allow us to tackle poor behaviours? From Chris George

How are we getting on with gender balance? From Anne Clark Overall, our BDO population

Philosophically, we believe more people want to do the right thing than actively do the wrong thing. But we’re all human and are definitely fallible; people are complex – life is complex! So the first step is to always acknowledge that poor behaviour will happen. We all have a line and we know how we feel when someone crosses that line. As an employer, our Unifying Culture helps us put some things in place to help people understand what’s expected of them and where to go if they need help. For example: X X Our Values: these are so important and guide our behaviours. We encourage people to use these to both celebrate good behaviours and call people out should they see poor behaviour. X X Our Code of Conduct: we’ve launched a new Code of Conduct this year which articulates how we should all be operating – not just as employees or partners, but actually just as decent human beings!

is 47% female, 52% male and 1% prefer to describe or to not say. As is common across our profession, gender balance then shifts at management level. Which is why we have been working to better support and mentor senior females wanting to progress further – and as a result now 17% of our partners are female. We signed up to HM Treasury’s Women In Finance Charter this year, with a target of reaching 20% females by July 2021, and we’ve seen a decrease in our Gender Pay

Gap data again this year. Read more on page 28.

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How can we be a better corporate citizen? From Michael Yeboah We all make a difference in our

Does U include how we can support people with ‘digital overload’? From Gemma Salmon

X X Our Code of Ethics: Because BDO LLP is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), all 5,000 people are required to abide by the ICAEW Code of Ethics. At BDO, we don’t see this as an undue burden; instead we’ve embedded these behaviours in the firm’s values, commitment to quality, our strategic framework and – critically – our culture. X X Our HR policies: every case will be individual, but we’re transparent with our HR policies to support our people and help them know who to turn to. X X Whistleblowing: we have both an internal and external whistleblowing service which anyone can email or call – completely confidentially. the process of calculating our ethnicity pay gap. Our first step has been to ask our people (legacy BDO, legacy Moore Stephens and new joiners) to share their ethnicity information with us in a way that is compliant for us to then use it for ethnicity pay gap reporting purposes. We plan to use National Inclusion Week 2019 as a hook to boost our internal data collection, helping us to be as statistically representative as possible. Our HR experts will then be able to analyse the figures, openly review what the data tells us with our Leaders and BAME Network, and discuss what actions and communications we need to progress as a result. Read more on page 27. Read more on page 16. What are we doing about the ethnicity pay gap? From Aminata Pungi We’re working through

day jobs at BDO: the role we play in capital markets, in supporting an entrepreneur to succeed, in providing assurance to Audit Committees, in advising a business owner on their next step towards successful growth, in helping a British company take its first steps to internationalise. We understand that the talent and energy we have can contribute to the kind of society we all want to live in. We should each take pride in that. There are things we need to do as a firm to maximise our positive impact on the world around us; just one example is that we’ve signed up to the UN Global Compact Agreement. But if we enable our people to make a difference at the same time, then our impact will be far greater. That’s why ‘Citizenship’ is a priority for the U in BUILD – and why we’ve launched an exciting new programme called 5+5 to encourage people to give more back to society. Read more on page 22.

At times, it can feel as if the pace of life in 2019 is relentless. UK workers now consume the equivalent of up to 20 DVDs worth of data every working day; that’s double compared to 20 years ago – but we still have the same brains! At some times or for some people, that’s exhilarating and challenging; at other times or for other people, that’s overwhelming and hectic. If you don’t keep this in check to get the right balance for where you are at in your life, your wellbeing is likely to suffer. What we’ve seen – and encouraged - in the last couple of years is that people are utilising changes in technology and societal norms to work in a more agile and flexible way. But having access to always-on technology doesn’t mean you have to be an always-on worker. And we’ve used our Unifying Culture priority of Wellbeing to socialise that concept across BDO. We’ve chosen not to make a ‘central intervention’ – for example switching all emails off after 6pm or at weekends – because our people told us they want the flexibility of being able to work when and how they want. Instead, we’ve introduced practical workshops, such as ‘Performance under Pressure’ training, and tools, such as MyAnalytics, which help people reflect on their own working patterns and personalise their own response so they maximise their productivity, as well as their wellbeing. Read more on page 20.

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AGILEWORKING, AGILE MINDS Over the last two years, we’ve been remodelling many of our offices to create a workplace that better reflects our collaborative culture and digital mindset. This has involved more areas for informal meetings and collaborative working, dedicated team zones and improved technology such as extensive Wi-Fi and SurfaceHub technology in meeting rooms. In our London HQ at 55 Baker Street, we overhauled our staff café – called Fibonacci’s – and it’s buzzing from 8am to 5pm with people working together in the new booths. The change – which we’ve internally been calling our ‘55 Live’ project – has kick-started greater agile working, and has been matched

with similar projects in other offices, including Reading, Birmingham and our new City office in Aldersgate Street.

Andy Butterworth , our Chief Operating Officer, says: “I don’t need a desk just so I can hang my jacket on a chair at 8am and

come back to collect it when I’ve finished my meetings at 5pm. I strongly believe people should work where best suits the task at hand. That might be at home, at a client office, in a café or in a collaborative area where the whole client team can sit together to work through a proposal. And the ‘agile working’ mindset is one we continue to promote.”

ROBWORRALL Head of People and HR Director, father to teenagers and lover of his garden office It’s when you are encouraged to be yourself that you can truly achieve your full potential. Work together One of our ambitions is that a Unifying Culture helps us to work better as a collective team. Sharing and applying knowledge and ideas remains one of the most powerful things an organisation can do. It provides competitive advantage, and we need everyone to feel able to play their part. We need the right ‘tone from the top’: X X 90% of our people say our partners always or often display a positive attitude. X X 89% of our people say that our partners always or often demonstrate empowerment and personal responsibility. And it can’t be just in the UK: X X We now work with every single one of our 162 BDO firms across the world on live client projects.

THE IN CROWD 18,000 people applied to work at BDO this year.

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BE SUCCESSFUL Each of us has our own definition of success. We want to help our people define and achieve theirs. In doing so, we will ultimately contribute to the overall success of the firm. Last year, we gave more than 5,000 awards to our people to thank them for going the extra mile. These awards can be anything from a £75 instant award to a quarterly award of up to £2,500 for individuals and up to £5,000 for teams.

ALISON EAGLE, Head of People Development, keen gardener and cake baker In career development, we’ve revamped our trainee recruitment and Early In Careers programmes, as well as how we support people through exams. This must be working as we have some of the best exam scores in the country! We have a really comprehensive Learning Catalogue – with thousands of online training courses, TED Talks, Virtual Classroom events, technical workshops and over 250 days a year spent learning business skills, leadership programmes and development centres – to help people succeed in a way that matches their personal ambitions. We’ve formalised sponsorship for, and mentoring of, people with ambitions to be partner, and created a new range of partner development programmes so we can support our inspirational leaders of the future.”

Each year, we host an annual awards dinner, which recognises the ‘best of the best’ quarterly award winners. 52 people

across the firm gathered to receive their awards at a very special and celebratory event in London (and the next day off work too!). Last year’s ‘Managing Partner Award’ was handed to a team of 17 people from across our Global Outsourcing, IT, Legal and Marketing departments – a great example of collaboration in support of our clients.

At BDO, we have one very clear framework to guide our personal career development. Called ‘Achieving My Potential’ (AMP), it gives us a set of criteria that underpins our journey through our lifetime at BDO. This year, we have broadened our scope. In addition to the 1,000 Counselling Managers that attended the workshops in 2017, we have developed videos to support Objectives setting, guidebooks, templates and a video, in which our


Managing Partner, Paul Eagland, talks about his key tips for career development, using AMP.


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WE’LL BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS Eric Wong , Audit Trainee, London: “I leapt at a job opportunity captioned

WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER Andrew Hoover , Audit Trainee, London: “After working as a personal

‘Audit International’. With destinations like Arizona

trainer for eight years, I wanted to move into a career with more opportunities for progression. Whereas my previous career was physically challenging, I now feel mentally stimulated by my work. At the same time, I’ve been able to use the interpersonal skills gained as a PT to my advantage when dealing with clients and colleagues alike. I work in corporate audit, where I’ve had the opportunity to work with a range of clients from small charities to software companies – and even a high- level football club. I’m already seeing this as a career in which you can always grow and learn something new.”

NEW INTOWN? Each year, we welcome many people from BDO offices around the world to work in the UK with us – and we arrange international secondments for many of our people from the UK. In the last 12 months, we’ve helped more people than ever before do this – from Australia to South Africa.

and Singapore under my belt to date, I am thrilled to have a fine blend of personal development, client exposure and overseas leisure!”


Ben Hines , Business Adviser, Business Services & Outsourcing, East Anglia: “I began researching different firms and BDO stuck out in

my mind due to the emphasis on people and the Values. I now work on clients of various sizes, ranging from small non-VAT registered companies to larger multi-million pound turnover companies. The needs and demands of each client are different, but the benefits of my work remain just as important for each client.”

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TOTHE FUTURE Martha Jary, Audit Senior, London: “There is such

great variety when working in the audit department, and this enables you to meet so many new people. There is always a new challenge to get involved in and constant progression. There are plenty of new opportunities to take advantage of.”

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BE INSPIRED AND CHALLENGED Your personal career plans at BDO are designed to inspire and challenge at all stages of your career. We expect you to shape your career according to your strengths, skills and personality. We have introduced a new Career Pathways programme. A Career Pathway is an organised and structured approach to career planning and development. There are a number of different routes for career progression and everyone’s journey will be unique, as ‘success’ is different for each individual. Through a number of different activities, it seeks to develop all employees throughout their career life-cycle, as well as identify and support high-potential performers within the business. The world is moving at a fast pace, and we all need to keep up with the latest trends and changes in our own areas of work, as well as further developing our skills and competencies. We hire quality people to deliver great results. Being challenged and inspired in the work each of us does is vital to a healthy and fulfilling career. We recognise this and encourage working beyond our immediate BDO goals, considering wider societal dilemmas and problems, and encourage our people to give back to the wider community in which we work.

ANDREA HUNT Global Outsourcing Partner in Bristol, Core Purpose Champion, keen skier and wildlife enthusiast We truly care about our people, helping everyone to be themselves and to have the flexibility and encouragement to add value in what matters to them the most. Our clients see this commitment and enthusiasm and enjoy working with a motivated team who want to provide a high-quality service and help them to develop their business and be successful.” LISA CLAMPIN Lead Partner in East Anglia, Head of Public Sector Assurance, photography fan and keeper of Schnauzers Imagine how proud I felt when one of our senior managers, Emma Smith, let me know that she had – voluntarily – just nominated BDO as ‘Best Employer’ in the Suffolk Business Awards. We made it through to the final shortlist: all because of how Emma herself articulated what she thought was great about the firm. It was a heart-warming moment that reassured me why the time we spend preserving and celebrating our Unifying Culture is time well spent.”

BDO is placed in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

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Underpinning everything that we do at BDO is our core purpose: ‘helping you succeed’. Core purpose is a term often used in organisations these days. But what is it and why do we feel the need to have one? Put simply, an organisation’s purpose is its ‘heartbeat’ or ‘soul’ – its most fundamental reason for being. Not to be confused with vision, strategy or services; purpose attracts, motivates and inspires. Plus, empirical evidence shows that organisations that operate from a clear sense of purpose deliver enhanced market performance. So three years ago, we set out to answer: why do we do what we do? Our conclusion – at all grades, in all specialisms – was that we ‘help people and businesses succeed.’ We want to…


Gerald Bates , Director in our International Institutions and Donor Assurance team and former contestant on BBC’s Bargain Hunt: “I am proud to work for a firm where our Core Purpose and values drive the development of our people. Where I am supported and challenged by my colleagues to succeed and achieve my potential.” Freya Holdsworth , Digital Content Developer in our Technical Standards Group and artist, video maker and animator: “I’m proud to work for a firm that recognises it’s a responsible corporate citizen, aware of the wider community in which we work. I have taken advantage of the opportunity to get involved in volunteering and would encourage everyone else to do the same.” Amy Virk , Associate Director in Tax and speaker of five languages (six, if we include tax jargon!): “I’m proud that we have an inclusive and empowering culture that encourages people to ‘be themselves’ and flexibly work together to deliver exceptional client service – so we are all as successful as we can be.” Sakib Isa , Audit Senior Manager in our Manchester office, football fan and property entrepreneur, said: “We’re honestly a phenomenal firm, made up of incredibly bright and talented people. We have so many examples of working together to achieve great quality results and be successful with, and for, each other.” Mark Sykes , Partner, entrepreneur and lover of disrupting the norm: “We work directly with our clients from the earliest stage and have a passion for unlocking their potential. We work together and use the entire resources of our firm to help our clients succeed. Our greatest asset is our people – they have the ideas we need and the trust we share.” Julian Frost , Partner, tech fan and spinning enthusiast: “We help our clients succeed by offering integrated advice and solutions in a changing world. Our clients’ challenges do not exist in silos and neither do we. That’s where a Unifying Culture has an additional commercial benefit.” Adam Spires , Director, young father and advocate for cross-stream collaboration: “Our clients want experts with the confidence and experience to help them navigate new and unfamiliar territory, to provide practical and insightful joined-up advice and solutions – people who have an opinion and who want to help them succeed.”


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Sarah Hillary, Partner, U Board member and Pomeranian dog lover: “Our focus on ‘Be Yourself’ – which includes the diversity and inclusion agenda - is all about encouraging our 5,000 people to feel like they can be themselves at work. If people can be true to themselves, they’re far more likely to succeed in realising their own potential.” Mark Sherfield , Finance Partner, doubles tennis champion(ish): “To me, being successful is about achieving things that matter and the sense of satisfaction and ‘mastery’ this gives us. It’s about having ambition and working towards achieving our personal goals. It’s also important to celebrate success. At BDO, we do this through storytelling and our internal recognition awards, called our Spotlight Awards.” Debbie Thomson , Head of HR Operations, part-time fitness instructor and brains behind BDO’s Wellbeing Programme: “It is through our focus on wellbeing that our people can thrive. Balancing a challenging and inspiring career along with a healthy life alongside work. We achieve this by focusing on clear communication and easy access to all wellbeing services, such as our support helpline.” Andy Butterworth , Chief Operating Officer, National Head of Tax and motorcycle enthusiast: “We have many flexible working success stories which demonstrate how we can combine the right mindset with the best technology to help our people balance their work and home life to achieve the personal and professional success they need.”

JAMIE AUSTIN Head of Private Equity, rugby coach and Core Purpose super-fan I still remember the moment we ‘discovered’ our Core Purpose. We’d held 12 months of exploration with people across the business and externally with the market, and there it was in front of us. Zoom forward three years and I’m so excited to walk past, for example, our Natural Resources and Energy sector team with posters splashed on their walls quoting what ‘Helping You Succeed’ means to every single individual. It makes my grin even wider. And we’re only just scratching the surface! There’s so much more we can achieve as we keep rallying around our Core Purpose as an enlarged firm.”

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OURVISION “To be an independent, sustainably profitable and globally focused firm, known for helping people and businesses succeed.”

Our vision defines the optimal desired future state for the firm ‘what success looks like’. Everything we do is governed by our Core Purpose and supported by our behaviours – known at BDO as ‘our Values’. This ensures that our objectives and actions are delivered in the best way possible.

ZOE BAILEY Chief Strategy Officer, published academic and art lover Every story has to have an ending. And we’re clear on where ours is heading, and therefore why we need a Unifying Culture to help us get there. The purpose of our BUILD strategy is to provide the firm with a set of priorities, with which everyone can identify and which reference their own activity and objectives. It is everyone’s collective efforts that help us achieve our BDO vision of being “an independent, sustainably profitable and globally focused firm, known for helping people and businesses succeed.” Let’s break this down: X X Independent: to choose what we do and don’t do; deeply linked to the autonomy that BDO people thrive on. X X Sustainably profitable: to secure our on- going independence, to deliver reward and create a legacy for the future. X X Globally-focussed: essential in today’s world and a key ingredient to be leveraged in helping our people and our high-growth and entrepreneurially spirited clients fulfil their ambitions. X X Known for helping people and businesses succeed: not just helping the individual BDO people to succeed but to be known for this by our people and our clients.

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ONEVISION, THREE STORIES Our vision to be an independent, sustainably profitable and globally focused firm highlights the need for investment. In the last 12 months, we have invested in a number of areas across our business.

JON RANDALL Head of Integration and Transformation and obsessed with motorcycles that go really, really fast “The merger this year between BDO and Moore Stephens LLP, where I was COO, was a clear step towards BDO’s vision. Carefully identifying two successful top ten accounting firms with both strategic and cultural fit and then merging them to create a market-leading firm is really complex; indeed, one of the most complex programmes I’ve personally tackled. But the investment in everyone’s time and energy to make the merger succeed for our clients and people created a boost in the market for BDO. It should definitely be logged as a huge step forward in BDO’s journey towards our vision.”

NIGEL BRITTON Head of Shared Service Centre, ultra athlete and lover of long-term plans “With our vision in mind, a key strategic move to keep us on our path of being ‘sustainably profitable’ was the creation of a Shared Service Centre. And, given that BDO operates in 162 countries and could have had its pick of locations, it’s fantastic that we chose Liverpool in the UK as the base for our new ‘Shared Service’ facility in 2016. Just three years later, we’re a 250-strong team – far more than when we first placed our bets! We support services across our 17 national locations by bringing many previously disparate but related roles under one roof. In a fast-growing part of the business that works with every single one of our UK offices, we need to ensure we have a strong culture that’s consistent with the rest of the firm – and having the same Values, Core Purpose and Vision is important to ensure that happens. Plus, we’re also helping with the ‘globally focused’ part of our vision with this amazing fact: our Liverpool office has people from 28 countries who collectively are able to speak 36 languages!”

STUARTWALTERS Chief Information Officer and rugby aficionado “The world is changing fast. Technology will continue to reshape our lives over the coming years, whether digitalisation, advanced data analytics, cloud or automation, change will touch many aspects of life and business. It’s also why topics such as cyber security and technology governance are now mainstream agenda items for the boards of UK businesses. Companies with a clear vision will see and deploy technology as an enabler to achieve success; those without a vision can become easily distracted by the latest ‘new shiny toy’ and invest in unsustainable or non-profitable areas. For BDO specifically, an important strategy has been to invest in technology as one $9bn organisation globally, as well as innovate locally.”

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WENDYWALTON Global Head of Private Client Services, concert-goer and wannabe runner I remember being part of the group who came up with our Values 18 years ago. To have had those Values truly embedded in our business for so long says a lot about our special culture. As our firm grows, we want to preserve and build on the strengths of our Unifying Culture and the characteristics that make us successful, different and a great place to work. Living by our Values will help us achieve our Unifying Culture, where we can all be ourselves and be the best that we can be. Having had Values for so many years, they aren’t just etched permanently on our office doors – (although of course they are!); they are fully integrated into our career reviews, reward and recognition processes. A section of our organisational framework called ‘Achieving My Potential’ is dedicated to Values – guiding how we operate while delivering our core and technical competencies. They are used to reflect our individual performance and personal development needs, and to assess, develop and provide feedback to others. We also run facilitated feedback sessions to review each partner against our Values – which is welcomed as a transparent approach to seeking and receiving feedback. We also use our Values to guide our recruitment. We ask questions that lead us to what the individual is passionate about and what motivates them. We know our Values are important to the candidate, as well as us; it’s very difficult to work somewhere where the Values aren’t aligned with our own. Our Values are cited regularly by new joiners as to why they joined us and why they thought BDO is a great place to work.

And to win one of our Spotlight Awards, our internal recognition programme, the nominee has to show how they’ve demonstrated at least one of the Values in delivering their brilliant work. In the last 12 months, a huge 5,000 recognition awards were given to people as either an ‘instant’ award or a prestigious Quarterly Award. Our Values help direct behaviour but also identify inappropriate behaviour. Using our Values, we can work with the person to help them reflect upon and change their behaviour. However, the Values have been so solid and embedded that I’ve only had to do this a handful of times in my 30+ years at BDO. WENDYWALTON An Assurance recruitment candidate had two job offers and said there was little between them. After having a conversation with one of our directors about BDO’s Values and how we truly ‘live’ them, the candidate snapped up our offer.”

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OUR MERGER: IDENTIFYINGOUR SHAREDVALUES KAREN DUFFIN Director of Integration and Transformation and kickboxer extraordinaire When the merger between BDO and Moore Stephens was announced, I was asked by some colleagues why the firms were a good fit. Although there were many reasons, something very reassuring for people was how closely aligned the two firms’ sets of Values were. That meant all 5,000 people as part of the enlarged firm were working to a very common set of behaviours. Now that we’re a few months into the merger and have gone through the very time-intensive but necessary phase of moving onto one set of IT, HR and Finance systems, we’re starting a Values Refresh programme. Over the coming year, we’ll talk to people across the business to explore what they think our Values and accompanying behaviours should be – not just for today as an enlarged firm, but for the future. This work will provide invaluable cultural glue across our enlarged firm and keep us future- ready.

THE POWER OF FOUR We have four Values, which complement each other and all contribute to our success and to that of our clients. They act as a yardstick to measure our behaviours. We advocate:

HONESTY AND INTEGRITY: Be transparent, genuine and fair. Operate with the highest degree of personal and professional integrity.

EMPOWERMENT AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: Work with confidence, flexibility and freedom. Understand that trust and responsibility go hand-in-hand. MUTUAL SUPPORT AND RESPECT: Value and support each other. Maintain a working environment where teamwork and relationships matters. PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS: Understand the person, as well as the business. Build relationships based on respect, trust and exceptional service.

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A matter of quality For the second year running, we are proud that 88% of our firm’s audits reviewed in 2018/19 achieved the FRC’s top ranking for quality, with none requiring significant improvements. In the wider context of the other firms, no one else has been able to surpass these results, and this is against a backdrop of high standards expected by the regulator increasing year-on-year. For many years, commentators have considered audit firm size to be a proxy for audit file quality. If ever that particular view held water, it certainly does not now. Nevertheless, we recognise that we are in a constant improvement environment and we continue to make investments in our people and procedures in order to achieve and maintain the highest industry-wide standards. This is why independence and ethics surround the way we behave in business and underpin our BDO Values. These rely on trust, respect, honesty and fairness, and impact all areas of BDO’s business. Quite simply it’s about ‘doing the right things, right’. Whether it’s the Chartered Institute of Taxation, one of the Institutes for Chartered Accountants, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners or the Insolvency Practitioners Association, each of the professional bodies requires their members to act in accordance with five fundamental principles: 1. Integrity 2. Objectivity 3. Professional competence and care 4. Confidentiality 5. Professional behaviour Because BDO LLP is a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), every single one of our 5,000 people is required to abide by the ICAEW Code of Ethics – even if they

are not a member of the Institute or any other professional body. At BDO, we firmly believe living by these principles is a privilege, not a burden. They are already embedded in the firm’s values, our commitment to quality, our strategic framework and critically our culture. A matter of culture Audit quality and culture are intrinsically linked. Integrity, objectivity, independence and professional scepticism are the foundations of a strong audit practice and are all areas we take extremely seriously. Audit is core to BDO’s business and accounts for a third of our total revenues. It is therefore something we pay a huge amount of time and care in getting right. In particular, we were pleased in last year’s ‘culture’ thematic review to see the FRC highlight our culture of analysing the root cause of any problems and fixing them early on. We were pleased to see the FRC highlighting that firms need a culture where achieving a high-quality audit is valued and rewarded, and which emphasises the importance of ‘doing the right thing’ in the public interest – in helping society to succeed. We continue to work to cement, promote and embed a culture that is committed to delivering consistently high-quality audits. This very report that you are reading reinforces that we’re keen to provide more extensive and transparent public reporting on our culture to enhance engagement with stakeholders and to build confidence and trust. You can also read more in our 2019 Transparency Report. The Financial Reporting Council defines Culture as “a combination of the values, attitudes and behaviours manifested by an organisation in its operations and relations with its stakeholders.”


Ethics Partner and devout Northerner. Participates on committees with many acronyms (WCCAEW, ICAEW, IFAC FOF, AE, GPPC, PRG…) We live and work in a time when the public spotlight is focused on the quality of work from, and the role of, accountants in the UK. Our economy and capital markets rely on informative and accurate financial reporting; and independent audit plays a key role in that. High-quality audit is of significant public interest and societal value, establishing trust in both transparent corporate reporting and integrity in business as a whole. It is clear that the audit market, in particular, is in need of reform to widen choice, ensuring that those outside the very largest firms can compete more effectively, guarding against conflict of interest, fostering innovation and enhancing audit quality. However, solutions that purely focus on improving competition, while ignoring either the regulation of the entire financial reporting ecosystem or the needs of users, will not fix the situation. Every accounting and advisory firm needs to pay attention to quality now more than ever. Through its Audit Quality Review (AQR) team, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) rightly continues to challenge the profession to raise its standard.

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