As part of Inside Careers series of graduate Employer Q&As in November 2012, BDO answered your questions.
To find out more about BDO and their opportunities, click here.
How do BDO support graduates through their qualifications? ➜
The BDO website states that in the tax graduate scheme, Compliance and Advisory are not separated. Is it possible to specialise in just one of these two areas? ➜
Do BDO offer a year in industry or sandwich year placements as well as their six week internship? ➜
What do the tax arm of BDO, and other professional service firms, do? ➜
I would like to know if there are any programmes or positions available for ACCA qualified students? ➜
Do you accept applications from international students or sponsor them for ‘tier 2’ roles? ➜
Would low UCAS points affect the success of an application if the applicant has high grades in both an undergraduate and masters degree? ➜
As BDO train graduates for either ACA or CA, do graduates have the option of which they would like to study? ➜
What level of previous maths training do you need in order to pass the online tests/succeed as a trainee at BDO? ➜
Are applications still open for your December 2012 vacancies? ➜
Do students on an internship work in all areas of can they just work in one? ➜
If applying to the graduate programmes, can you try out both audit and tax before specialising? ➜
Are some locations more popular than others? Would it help me to apply to an office where there are fewer applications? ➜
How do BDO support graduates through their qualifications?
Jon, University of Southampton
There are a number of ways in which we support our trainees. Firstly, our professional qualifications team are there to ensure our trainees are receiving the highest quality of training from our training provider. This team also spend time developing the training programme to ensure our people are successful with their exams; this has led to us having one of the highest pass rates in our industry.
Locally each trainee is assigned a counselling manager and buddy to support them in whatever way they need it. As the majority of our staff have completed the qualification, there is an understanding around exams: people have been there, so they know what you are going through and what support you may need.
The BDO website states that in the tax graduate scheme, Compliance and Advisory are not separated. Is it possible to specialise in just one of these two areas?
Ben, University of Oxford
As a trainee, the tax programme gives you the opportunity to work in both compliance and advisory. There is not an opportunity to separate these areas in the first three years, however upon qualifying people tend to move into a clear specialism.
Do BDO offer year in industry or sandwich year placements as well as their six week internship?
Natasha, University of Exeter
We do not currently offer year long placements, therefore the only opportunity for work experience is the summer internship for penultimate year students. We have had a number of students take part in the internship after completing a placement year elsewhere, so you can combine both.
Insight Days are also available throughout the year for students in their 1st year or for students that are unable to apply to the internship due to the commitments of other placements.
What do the tax arm of BDO, and other professional service firms, do?
Razi, University of Bath
Tax involves helping clients understand the legislation and its impact on their businesses, so that they can minimise their tax burden while being fully compliant with tax regulations. Services offered include company tax compliance and advisory, private client services, employment tax, international tax, VAT and support of the corporate finance team during mergers and acquisitions.
BDO’s tax department does not separate its compliance and advisory work as many other firms do so you are given the opportunity to try different areas of work before specialising.
I would like to know if there are any programmes or positions available for ACCA qualified students?
Jerryson, London Southbank University
We do not offer the ACCA qualification with any of our training programmes. If somebody is fully ACCA qualified and has relevant work experience, they are welcome to apply to our experienced hire positions.
Do you accept applications from international students or sponsor them for ‘tier 2’ roles?
Jerryson, London Southbank University
Yes, we accept applications from international students and support any necessary visa applications upon an applicant receiving a job offer with the firm.
Would low UCAS points affect the success of an application if the applicant has high grades in both an undergraduate and masters degree?
Ziad, University of Surrey
To be successful with an application we expect applicants to meet all our minimum entry requirements. A low UCAS score therefore cannot be compensated for with undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
If there are extenuating circumstances around somebody’s academic results, the applicant can make a note of these on their application form and they will be taken into consideration.
As BDO train graduates for either ACA or CA, do graduates have the option of which they would like to study?
Our trainees in Scotland complete the CA (ICAS) qualification while the rest of the country completes the ACA (ICAEW). These are comparative qualifications and there is not an option to pick one over another.
My degree is in history. Whilst your website says that graduates from all degree backgrounds are welcome at BDO, what level of previous maths training do you need in order to pass the online tests/succeed as a trainee at BDO?
Tallulah, University of Glasgow
How good does my maths have to be to work in accounting? I did it at GCSE but that feels like a long time ago and I’m not sure I remember that much!
Toby, University of Warwick
Firstly you do not need to be a mathematician to be successful with BDO! We welcome applications from all degree disciplines and like to get a mix of backgrounds in our intake. There are transferable skills from all degree subjects, for instance with a history degree it is likely that your written skills will be of a high standard, which is really important as there is a lot of report and letter writing in our roles.
The numerical skills are roughly of the same level as GCSE Maths; they ask things such as currency conversions, percentages and ratios. These tests are used to demonstrate that you are comfortable working with numbers and that you can pull out relevant information when necessary.
The best thing you can do is try some sample tests in advance of completing our tests as this will help you master the technique and will maybe give you an idea of anything you need to brush up on before completing the real tests.
Are applications still open for your December 2012 vacancies?
Wei Long, Cass Business School
Our website is kept up to date with what positions are still available. All December 2012 positions have now been filled, however the September and December 2013 positions are still accepting applications.
Our positions open on September 1st each year and we recommend applying early to avoid disappointment.
Do students on an internships work in all areas or can they just work in one?
Kirsty, Birmingham University
During the internship you work in one business area which you choose when applying to the firm. You need to research the different areas available and decide your preference. Your understanding of the business stream you are applying to will also be assessed throughout the application process, so you need to make sure you have a good understanding of what the department does.
Occasionally during the internship people spend a day or two in another steam they are interested in, but this is arranged once you are on the placement and only if there is capacity.
If applying to the graduate programmes, can you try out both audit and tax before specialising?
Cherry, University of Lancaster
When applying to the firm you apply to a specific business stream, for instance audit or tax, and you must be committed to that area for the full three years of your training. It is possible to spend time in other departments, offices or countries, however this is only usually upon qualifying.
One real difference with BDO is that within audit or tax you have the opportunity to work in a variety of different specialisms, unlike other firms which often ask you to specialise in a certain client sector as soon as you join the firm.
Are some locations more popular than others? Would it help me to apply to an office where there are fewer applications?
James, University of St Andrews
If you are good enough to receive an offer from one office you should be good enough to receive an offer from any office, as you are required to go through the exact same recruitment process. Realistically there are offices that receive a higher number of applications, however they typically have a higher number of vacancies, so the numbers balance out.
The best thing you can do is submit an early application to the office and business stream that is your first choice. You will be questioned on things like why you have applied to a specific location and the interviewer will have concerns if it is not convincing that their office is your office of choice.