One graduate shares what it's like working for global Professional Services firm, BDO

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

With a global network of clients, the potential to progress up the ranks and vacancies available all over the country, BDO's range of graduate programmes offer you the perfect platform to launch a successful career in Finance. 

We spoke to Sadjida, who's currently in her third year of BDO's Graduate Programme, about her experience working for this major global player in the Professional Services industry. 

She studied Accounting and Finance at the University of Leeds and now works as an Audit Trainee in BDO's Leeds office. Alongside working full-time, Sadjida is studying to become ACA qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. 


How would you describe working at BDO? 

It sounds a bit like a cliché, but no day is the same. We're in the midst of our busy season at the moment so I might spend three weeks with one client, two weeks with another and another week somewhere else. Even when you first start you're rarely in the office, and with every client your team changes, so you get to work with a lot of different people, managers and clients. You're thrown in from day one. 

What is it about BDO that appealed to you? Why did you apply to work here over any other financial business? 

It appealed to me that because BDO wasn't as large as other firms, there were less trainees and it's more of a team. [This means] you get to have more interactions with management earlier on and take on more responsibility, which is good for learning and progression. 

Can you describe the culture at BDO? What is the office environment like?

We hot desk, so one day I could be sitting with a new grad and another day I could be right next to a partner. It means our culture isn't that kind of vertical hierarchy where you don't feel like you can approach those people who are higher up - everyone knows everyone and it makes you feel more valued. 

"Our culture isn't that kind of vertical hierarchy where you don't feel like you can approach those people who are higher up - everyone knows everyone and it makes you feel more valued" 

If you could travel back in time to your first day at BDO, what would you tell your younger self? 

I'd tell myself to work hard but also get involved with things outside of my role, such as clubs, because that has helped me meet other people and give back to the office. Also, don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.

What is your proudest moment so far at work? 

In my second year, I took on more responsibility than was expected of me and was awarded a quarterly and yearly award for it. There's definitely a culture of telling people when they've done well and encouraging them to do better. If you've performed well, gone outside of your remit and asked questions to push yourself, you'll be rewarded. 

What are your future goals at BDO?

Once I'm qualified I'll become a Senior and after that I could become an Assistant Manager, where I could work more at winning clients and on more complex areas of audit. I could also become a Pastoral Manager, transfer to another department or move abroad - there's lots of options. 

BDO are also focusing on getting more women into leadership positions. Some girls and I have set up a Women in Leadership committee where we're doing things with local charities and graduate resourcing teams. It's something the firm are really encouraging - it's giving women the motivation and forum to ask those questions [about leadership positions]. 

"We're focusing on getting more women into leadership positions" 

What advice would you give to graduates before applying to BDO's Graduate Programme? 

The interview process was a strength-based format rather than skills-based. [This means] you can't typically prepare an answer you've said before, it's more about adapting your experience into the questions asked. They want your natural response so try not to be too rehearsed. 

Is there anything else you would like to add or talk about that hasn't been mentioned?

I would also mention the social side of the office too. We have Friday drinks, football teams, lots of social events going on. There's also been a big focus on wellbeing recently, so talking about mental health and doing weekly lunchtime runs. There are lots of things being set up to make sure it's a better place to work and everyone's ideas are shared.