BDO announces financial results 2021

Solid growth takes global revenues over US$ 11 billion

LIMA, 13 December 2021: BDO announces a total combined fee income1 of US$11.8 billion/€ 9.8 billion for the year ended 30 September 2021, representing a year-on-year growth of 10.8% at constant exchange rates (+14.8% in US$, +7% in €)

Conscious investments, enabling BDO’s clients to be well positioned for the economic resurgence in the year ahead, have driven BDO’s balanced growth across the board, with global revenues reaching US$ 11.8 billion, supported by a strong 6.8% increase in headcount.

  • A solid 10.8%2 increase in global revenues to US$ 11.8 billion, up from US$ 10.3 billion in 2020, reflecting the strong demand from clients for BDO’s expertise in a fluid business landscape.
  • BDO’s clear focus on audit quality, innovation, transformation, technology and sustainability has helped both BDO firms and their clients to easily adapt to a new future.
  • People numbers have significantly increased, with a marked shift towards new profiles. BDO’s 97,292 professionals are combining future-oriented technology with authentic intelligence to create smarter working environments in 1,728 offices.
  • BDO’s stated purpose, our WHY, has proven its worth. It is a core element of our culture, shaping who we work with and how we support our colleagues, our clients and our communities. It is reflected in everything we do.

Despite the continued uncertainty in market conditions and the impact of the health crisis, the performance of BDO in 2021 demonstrates that the agile decisions and technological investments made have equipped the organisation with the global infrastructure and digital solutions to deliver long-term value for our clients.

BDO has 1,728 offices in 167 countries and territories worldwide and growth has been consistent across all regions. EMEA saw a revenue increase of +17.4% and Asia Pacific +16.9%, while the Americas grew by +12.6%. The EMEA and Asia Pacific regions contribute 35% and 12% respectively to global revenues and the Americas is the organisation’s largest region (contributing 53%).

Audit and assurance continues to be BDO’s largest service line, accounting for 42% of revenues. Tax and advisory each contribute 21.5% and business services and outsourcing 15%.

Over the last two years we have seen the biggest shift in the business world since the industrial revolution. The pandemic has driven us to think and work differently. BDO’s ongoing willingness to invest in cutting-edge technology has allowed us to stay close to our clients’ new needs and immediately respond, providing them with tools to help them achieve successful digital transformation and become a modern organisation of the future. Our firms are now more connected than ever, sharing resources to support our clients and committed to growing business together.

Keith Farlinger, Global CEO, said “I am extremely proud of how our organisation and our people, through relentless agility and team effort, have turned around our entire operating model to redefine the future of our work. At the same time, our firms have continued to operate with purpose; helping their people, their clients and their communities. Our WHY – People helping people achieve their dreams – has never been more pertinent.”

The future is now - Growing business together

The business world has entirely changed. IT Technology is at the epicentre of our very existence. The crisis has demonstrated that we can work remotely without problems, that hybrid working is a valid alternative and that we can access talent anywhere. We are prepared for a modern organisation of the future. BDO’s firms are more connected than ever, sharing resources, working together in support of our clients, and committed to growing business together.

A clear value proposition

Our clients have seen rapid and drastic change. Because of the evolving landscape, they expect a seamless service across borders, deep industry expertise and an unwavering focus on quality. These have remained a focus for BDO throughout 2021. Through our ‘digital first’ approach, we have continued to innovate and develop our range of services to provide new solutions with a broader and future-oriented perspective. These include a new set of sustainability services, cloud transformation, predictive analytics and diagnostic tools, AI in professional services and more.

Throughout 2021, BDO invested in market-critical acquisitions, with a strong focus on niche advisory, digitalisation and technology service providers.

EMEA: ProExC, a performance consulting organisation, joined BDO in The Netherlands. BDO in France was joined by BMP Progelink, a digital company and BIPE, specialised in big data analysis. BDO in Belgium concluded two acquisitions, both with accounting firms. CFI Hungary joined forces with BDO in Hungary, thus becoming the biggest M&A provider in the country. RSM Finland joined forces with BDO in Finland, together becoming a strong player in the Finnish market.

Americas: BDO in the US welcomed MBAF, a leading accounting and advisory firm in Florida, plus DemandGen International, a digital advisory services and solutions organisation. Simplicity, providing technology services and DVP Capital, a mid-market investment bank and financial advisory team, merged with BDO in Canada.

This year our Asia-Pacific region’s growth was due to organic growth only.

Additionally, in 2021, BDO firms recorded the largest ever intake of new partners and staff (+6.8%), many of whom are skilled in sustainability and digital advisory or with a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Focus on Audit Quality

2021 has also been a period characterised by evolving regulatory standards and expectations. BDO remains committed to strengthening our culture of quality – enabling our firms to deliver high-quality services. As part of BDO’s ongoing mission to drive quality throughout the organisation, Regional Quality Directors were appointed for each of the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. Their focus is on creating, strengthening and maintaining high levels of quality and consistency in compliance and practice.

The digital client experience

Driven by an ongoing focus to enhance the digital client experience, BDO continues to invest in innovation and technology.

By entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft, BDO will drive digital transformation and help to increase the collaboration and productivity of BDO’s professionals. BDO is converging to a single global digital platform, with an agile service framework providing timely access to high-quality and secure organisation-wide IT services, standards, tools and technology.

Microsoft products and services are often the single largest technology investment made by many of our BDO firms. As such, BDO places user experience at the centre of all our IT systems and infrastructure. BDO provides a structured approach to use the cloud as an innovative and sustainable platform, and prioritise data intelligence, AI and data security to manage and protect our data and our customers privacy. The strategic partnership will also allow our advisers to offer the best Microsoft technology solutions to their clients.

BDO’s connected, insights-driven and compliant audit digital suite supports intelligent processes and maintains business continuity, whilst reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Through connection with our global portal, the exchange of information is streamlined in a secure way.

Finally, at BDO we believe the best ideas for solving critical problems can come from anyone, anywhere. By implementing a successful in-house seed funding and incubator programme, BDO is collecting and nurturing speculative ideas and turning them into solid business cases, progressing from pilot-testing through to large scale implementation. The first best-in-class innovations will be launched as concrete solutions for the benefit of our clients and people shortly.

Our sustainability agenda

In previous years, most of our firms have taken earnest independent steps towards sustainability. However, mounting risks and concerns have led to the emergence of a global sustainability movement. BDO responded. Early in 2021, an all-firm sustainability strategy was launched – both internal and external. It aims to inspire, educate and lead an unstoppable movement for sustainable business practice in our markets and in our organisation. BDO has invested in new talents with a dedicated sustainability skill set. Our sustainability service offering supports our clients through their transformation process, to be fit for a sustainable future and create long-term competitive advantage. 

Our net zero commitment

The demand for transparency and accountability in environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters calls for an effective response.

Our organisation, as part of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance, has committed to supporting the goal of global net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambition to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

To guide us in achieving this important goal, we have established a Net Zero Advisory Council that will make use of the substantial expertise in this area existing in our firms to create a robust strategy for achieving net zero going forward.

Talent anywhere

BDO remains a people-powered business, seamlessly combining digital awareness with a true understanding of clients. We are building a generation of proactive advisers of the future, by attracting employees with diverse backgrounds and expertise. Building on and utilising the skills of this talent will therefore remain a priority. Tomorrow’s organisation will be entirely different to the organisation of today. It will be more flexible. The pandemic has demonstrated that working and collaborating remotely is both possible and beneficial, creating new opportunities for our firms to work together for the benefit of our clients. Outsourcing, flexible resourcing and building expert teams (utilising people from all over in the world) further delivers increased diversity and added value.

The power of purpose

As a purpose-driven organisation, we do better. Our WHY – People helping people achieve their dreams - shapes who we work with and how we support our colleagues, our clients and our communities. It is reflected in everything we do.

Keith Farlinger concludes: “We are at an intersection of people and purpose. It is vital that we keep our culture and our people at the forefront of our business. Our workforce will continue to evolve to adapt to the ever-changing global business landscape, embracing new technology, new ways of working, new skill sets and new talent. High performance teams, built with BDO professionals from anywhere in the world, will be tapping into the richness of that diversity and flexibility to drive success within our organisation. Our purpose will remain our strength, and our people will continue to remain our biggest asset.”

1 Including BDO’s exclusive alliances.

2 At constant exchange rates.