BDO: It Isn’t Just About Numbers

This established auditing firm didn’t thrive for 55 years by sticking to old tried-and-true traditions. Boasting an ever-evolving work environment that puts relationships first, we talk to BDO employees to catch a glimpse of its work culture.
BDO Malaysia

Cultivating a Healthy Work Culture

Founded in 1964 with over 900 partners and staff, it’s easy to assume that BDO is a traditional firm with all its stereotypical images of suits and ties. In recent years, however, the war of recruiting talents has become such a priority in BDO that change is necessary.

‘An organisational shift to be more people-centric is inevitable for us to move forward,’ said Bonnie Tham, Head of People and Support in BDO. ‘Our culture drives our people and they drive the business.’

To entice candidates in a competitive job market, BDO doesn’t try to put up a glamourous front a la tech startups—instead, the firm believes in having a healthy sustainable work culture that puts the people first.

Championing the motto ‘Because Relationships Matter’, BDO’s values can be boiled down to four main components: People, Purpose, Recognition and Development.

Providing People with a Purpose

BDO isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Thong Siew Fong, the Director of Talent Recruitment, admits the difficulty in having a work-life balance in an industry notorious for its tight deadlines and even higher client expectations.

Instead, the firm aims to empower its employees with a driving purpose, whether within the office or beyond. Siew Fong, a career mom of two, could personally attest to this.

‘I’ve been in BDO for over 10 years. I benefitted from our Flexible Work Arrangements where I start work at 7.30am and leave at 4.30pm, giving me quality time with my children. As a working mom, I’m really thankful and it’s one of the reasons why I am happy to be here.’

In addition, to promote health and wellness in the workplace, BDO has a private gym, a private pool, a chill-out room and scheduled fitness sessions for employees to engage in. There are also designated nursing rooms for new mothers.

BDO also encourages a shared purpose among employees outside of the workplace where they can make a lasting positive difference. Establishing an in-house task force made entirely of enthusiastic volunteers, BDO organises wide-reaching CSR initiatives, from animal shelter visits to blood donation campaigns. The firm even dedicates a day off, called ‘BDO Gives Back’, just for community service.

Developing Your Career Journey

But what if your main purpose is to elevate your career? Well, BDO provides the perfect environment for boosting your skill sets as well. The firm makes each employee’s career journey as their top priority, appointing a dedicated Professional Qualification (PQ) team to cater to the trainees’ needs such as assistance while undertaking professional subjects, payments to tuition providers and even study leaves.

‘BDO has been so supportive throughout my career journey, both financially and emotionally,’ said Freddie Kua, currently working as an Audit Assistant Manager, ‘Today, I’ve completed all my professional exams and I am now an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.’

BDO takes pride in the hundreds of its employees who have completed their professional exams while working for the firm, receiving their World Class and Malaysian Prize accolades from esteemed global accounting bodies such as ACCA, CPA Australia, ICAEW and MICPA-CAANZ.

BDO has also organised numerous soft skills training to enhance their employees’ personal growth, such as Persuasive Speaking workshops, and also prides itself with its very own Toastmasters Club.

‘Undoubtedly, BDO is a globally recognised organisation and brand. Being part of the BDO network translates to the instant recognition of the creditability and work experience of our employees,’ said Bonnie Tham.   

Working for Fun

While working with BDO comes with undeniable benefits, it is the little things that make BDO stand out from its competitors. For Shahira Shahar, it is the open communication with her superiors that made her feel welcomed as a newbie.

‘I joined BDO as a junior auditor. As far as I could remember, my managers and partners were very approachable and involved in every audit engagement. Seeing them as my peers, rather than just my bosses, has helped me greatly. Today, I am an Audit Director and some of my closest mentors are my audit partners.’

While making friends is rarely touted as an office perk, it is the reality in BDO. Shahira continues that she has close relationships even with staff members who have left because the relationships kindled in the office are made to last.

A fun office is not necessarily about having beanbags and pool tables—it is having a healthy working environment where your well-being is a top priority.

‘We are not trying to be a fun place to work,’ said Bonnie Tham in earnest, ‘We are here to build a successful business with the most talented people and work towards a shared purpose. Fun is simply a by-product of our united BDO.’

If you are looking to grow your career with BDO, check them out at