In celebration of BDO’s anniversary, we are starting an initiative: 30 facts for 30 years of BDO in Poland.
Throughout the year we will regularly publish information about BDO’s history, interesting facts and trivia about our company. This will include information that some of you already know, but also facts that may be completely knew to everyone. We hope that this will let you get to know our company even better.
See below for #FactsaboutBDO. New facts will continue to appear. The last – 30th, will be published in December 2021.
The year in which the company began operating in Poland is 1991. However, the company’s beginnings go a little further back. Before joining the BDO Network, the company operated as RIR Revision. Later it was part of the Moore Stephens Network.
We assisted with first privatizations after fall of communism
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: “After the fall of communism decisions were made on the first privatizations. The Transformation Agency initiated a project to select five companies to be the first to go on the stock exchange. They were: Tonsil, Próchnik, Krosno, Śląska Fabryka Kabli and Exbud. Each of the companies was assigned a consulting group to help them get listed. All of those companies had one thing in common: their managements and trade unions alike consented to the transformation, and so there was social consensus to privatize. We were given Śląska Fabryka Kabli.
BDO as leader in servicing listed companies
When joining the BDO Network, the company’s then presidents – Dr. Andre Helin and Dr. Kristof Zorde – pledged that BDO in Poland would be the number one audit firm when it comes to listed companies. It only took two years for the company to fulfil this promise.
Individual privatizations took too long. Thus the idea to work in sectors
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: “After the privatization of the first five companies in the 1990s it turned out that the process has to be sped up. We therefore came up with the idea of sector privatization. What had to be done was to take an industry and for each prepare a set of what could be referred to as commandments to be met during privatization. Those commandments included such elements as the methods to be used in analyses, valuations, presentation of results to investors, marketing.
We developed such guidelines for the brewing industry. This sector was privatized the fastest – and what is more – without any social conflicts.”
BDO was a pioneer
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: “When we started to work in Poland at the turn of 1989 and 1990 we had the privilege of being pioneers in many fields with the knowledge and experience we were bringing with us. Privatizations, including sector privatizations, were first. National Investment Funds were next. We then introduced the first companies to public trading. Leasing companies were our next pioneering project. After that it was merger accounting and spreading knowledge about International Accounting Standards.”
30 facts for 30 years of BDO in Poland
#Fact 6 about BDO
We have been auditing insurance companies for 18 years
Edyta Kalińska, Regional Managing Audit Partner, Region West: “We started working with insurance companies in 2003. From that moment on, we have audited companies from that sector practically every year, which makes us a major market player in that area. It all started with Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń Europa S.A. and Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń na Życie Europa S.A. The companies had their registered offices in Wrocław, so it was natural for BDO Poznań to submit an audit proposal. It was interesting enough for us to get invited to talks. As a result, BDO was chosen as their auditor. What helped us? It seems that it was our experience in the audit of leasing companies, knowledge of the financial sector and access to the BDO Network, but mostly our success in working with companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In the 2000s BDO was a leader in the audit of public companies, as well as in the number of IPOs. At the time, the Europa Group was listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Fact #7 about BDO
Do you have knowledge? Then share it.
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: When I came to Poland, it was my knowledge that was most valuable. My main objective was to share it with others. Sharing my knowledge – for me personally – was a kind of mantra. I repeat it to this day: if you have knowledge, share it. This is why it was natural to start working with the National Chamber of Certified Auditors and its then President Jerzy Sablik. In addition to taking part in the creation of legal regulations, we also focused on information and training. All to share as much as possible with as many as possible.
When the first seeds of audit began to appear in Poland, our firm was the first to 1993 publish a handbook on the audit of financial statements. We published its second edition in 1997. To this day it remains a sort of an audit bible.
Our next handbooks were dedicated to accounting. They included, for example, “Consolidation of Financial Statements”, with its first theses appearing at the turn of 1993/1994 when the law didn’t even yet require the preparation of consolidated financial statements.
We also didn’t forget about IAS. My handbook on the subject was published in the year 2000, i.e. five years before International Accounting Standards became obligatory in Poland.
#Fact 8 about BDO
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: In the 1990s BDO had engagements throughout Poland. In addition, we worked with very large companies that often employed thousands of people. Work on site lasted for many weeks before we were able to return to base to complete our work and prepare the reports.
Geographical distance, being away from our families and very week infrastructure – when IT technology was only beginning to take shape in Poland – constituted major management challenges. Today, when Poland has a network of highways, 5G technology and high IT saturation, it is hard to believe that 30 years ago a car, a highway or a mobile phone were the subject of dreams.
Fact #9 about BDO
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner: As the Polish capital market grew, so did the need for specialists with an extensive knowledge of economics and finance.
Valuation and privatization of companies were slowly beginning to constitute a smaller portion of our services, whilst audit and broadly defined accounting, audit and tax advisory services were on the increase. It was in this period that BDO created Poland’s standards on the issue prospectus, acquisition accounting, leases, long-term contracts and taxation of groups.
Throughout the years, and to this day, we look after growth by acquiring and sharing our knowledge. For me – as the boss – the image of the company based on knowledge is as important as achieving good financial results.
Fact#10 about BDO
Dr. Anna Bernaziuk, Audit Partner
Mergers and splits – we have been active in these areas from the start
BDO did a lot of pioneering work in its early days. One such area was merger transactions. The first reverse acquisition took place with our participation and involved Mostostal Siedlce and Polimeks. Mergers were not very common back then and the literature that was available did not describe how to recognize their effects in financial statements. Each such project was a challenge. We also took part in splits, such as the split of Operator from Polskie Sieci Energetyczne, valued at around PLN 9 billion.
Fact#11 about BDO
Hanna Sztuczyńska, Audit Partner
BDO - 30 years of strong and stable growth
We’ve had several periods of dynamic growth, of particular acceleration. When I first started in 1994 we had an office on Marszałkowska Street. I remember all of the rooms and all of the people who worked there. Our first Christmas party in December 1994 consisted of one table at Magda Gessler’s restaurant in Old Town.
Later we had an office on Mokotowska Street, and after that we moved into our Postępu Street building. There were also the separate offices in Katowice and Poznań. Today the company has nearly 400 employees and 5 offices.
Fact#12 about BDO
Anna Pacanowska-Stasiak, Audit Partner, BDO Audit Department
BDO focuses on specialists and a well-coordinated team
BDO has nearly 400 employees at 5 locations in Poland. At every one of our offices we choose our employees to ensure that our clients are professionally served and everyone can work well as part of our team. When I became a certified auditor and was putting together my team, I could always count on the help of my senior colleagues, and we have always shared knowledge with each other. Our team is made up primarily of specialists of different ages, people with various skills, capabilities and interests. We focus on diversity and competence, and commitment to work and acquiring knowledge is our priority. I am happy to have been a part of this team for more than 13 years.
Fact#13 about BDO
BDO has been sharing knowledge for more than 30 years
One of the mottos of BDO in Poland is: if you have knowledge, share it. And so for more than 30 years BDO’s experts have actively written books, articles, as well as taught numerous professional training courses.
- Training courses organized and conducted by BDO are visible on the market, have an excellent reputation and our Clients like to come back for more. This was not affected by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions. This is why we continue to invest in this area of our operations, by widening the subject matter of our training, as wells as adding to our group of experts who want to share their knowledge as part of the BDO Academy – says Sławomir Chrzanowski, Head of BDO Academy.
Here are some figures from the last few months:
Since the start of the pandemic – April 2020, BDO Academy:
- has trained 6284 people in on-line form
- has held 541 on-line training courses
- has performed 396 closed and advisory training projects in on-line form
- the largest group during a single on-line training course consisted of 74 participants
BDO, Fact # 14
Piotr Gracz, Partner, BDO Business Services & Outsourcing
Accountants will not disappear, they are merely evolving
The value of the BDO Network is stated in USD and EUR. As they say in business: “You Are What You Charge For”. In Poland, BS&O generates revenues comparable to those of Audit, the core activity of every audit firm. It matters.
Today, BS&O of BDO Polska has the staff of 111. We started with 17 employees working in 3 office rooms and providing comprehensive accounting, tax, HR and payroll services.
BDO, Fact # 15
Rafał Kowalski, Partner w Dziale Doradztwa Podatkowego BDO
We are a tax practice with a number of specializations and close ties to business advisors
When I joined the tax team in the year 2000 it had consisted of 5 people who for the most part supported audit teams. Today there are 20 of us and new people continue to join. But it is the change in quality that is significant. We have a balanced proportion of high-class experts and support personnel. We look at taxes from a financial side and work very closely with BDO’s business advisors.
BDO, Fact # 16
Tomasz Rudawski, Partner, Consulting
As long as companies are managed by humans, other humans will be their consultants
Financial analyses and valuations, transactional and strategic consulting have been, are and will be treated as the basic activity of departments such as BDO CF. The only thing that changes intensely are the expectations of our Clients. As years go by, companies gain higher and higher competences and engage in more and more complex undertakings, which requires constant improvement of consultants’ qualifications and of the quality of services they provide. Undoubtedly, effective use of synergies with other specialties within the BDO Group is also more and more valued. What I mean here is the combination of traditional CF services with consulting in the area of optimization of companies’ internal processes in companies and with legal consulting. I am pleased to say that BDO is able to meet this challenge.
#Fact 17 about BDO
BDO Network – since 1963
Did you know that the BDO Network was established in 1963? That was the year Binder Seidman International Group was formed. The Group, the forerunner to BDO, was made up of 5 accounting firms from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK. The objective of the founding members was to form an international network of independent member firms to respond to the increasing needs of their clients while maintaining the highest standard of professional work.
10 years later, in 1973, Binder DijkerOtte&Co. (BDO) was formed, with headquarters in Britain, the Netherlands and West Germany. The essence of the BDO agreement is for member firms to maintain their legal independence and to agree to conduct all international business through BDO in order to provide clients with a comprehensive auditing and advisory service of the highest quality.
#Fact 18 about BDO
BDO Poland continues to widen the range of its services
In 2016 BDO Poland acquired more than 50% of HBC Sp. z o.o. The idea behind the merger was to, among others, widen the range of our services. As a result, this year is the 5th anniversary of this merger, and services such as lean management are offered at BDO as BDO Advisory.
- Combining forces with HBC and creating BDO Advisory was a natural step for both firms. It has allowed us to widen the range of our services in response to the needs of our clients. In addition, advisory in the area of proper company process management ensures that during an audit some of the risks for the audited company will not occur – Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner commented.
#Fact 19 about BDO
Work atmosphere at BDO is like nowhere else
Michał Tomczyk, certified auditor, Audit Partner, BDO Audit Department:
Although my time at BDO has been short, I have always felt at home here. BDO has a remarkable atmosphere and it is without a doubt because of the people who form this organization. What caught my attention at the very beginning was a quote from Mr. Helin I myself like to repeat today: “Auditor is a profession where you keep learning and even get paid for it.” Sharing knowledge is this place’s mantra and that mantra can be seen at every step. It is one of the reasons why working at BDO is a pleasure, and it is also what sets us apart from other audit firms.
#Fact 20 about BDO
You can’t be bored at BDO
Adam Machay, Senior Manager, BDO Audit Department
It would be hard for me to remember the beginnings of the firm, as we are practically the same age😊, but ever since I started at BDO, its annual growth, dynamic changes and increasingly more ambitious projects show that it is impossible to get bored here.
#Fact 21 about BDO
BDO definitely meets a women’s quota
Tomasz Reiter, Regional Managing Partner, BDO Audit, Region South
Compared to my colleagues, my time at BDO has been short, less than 8 years, but what I have been able to observe from the start and to this day is the key role of women in the audit team. Mr. Helin definitely has a very good eye for exceptional women 😉. As we all know, finding and retaining the best team is one of the most valuable skills in business, but what talents are needed to attract and keep such a team of women for so many years…😉?
#Fact 22 about BDO
Rafał Sosnowski, Audit Partner, BDO Audit Department
BDO gives incredible opportunities to grow
When I began working 13 years ago, it never even occurred to me that in a few years I would learn so much in so little time. And it’s not just about substantive knowledge alone, but also such aspects as teamwork, team management, relationship building and many other soft skills. I think that to a great extent this is because of the fantastic people, skillful management, good atmosphere that gives a chance to grow to anyone who likes this work. Throughout my career I have taken part in many projects and it is nice to see how different companies operate and grow, it’s nice to meet interesting people, learn about business, and to pass this knowledge on. Working at BDO really does give a lot of satisfaction. I like Mondays 😉
#Fact 23 about BDO
At BDO the distance from the floor to the ceiling is short
Edyta Kalińska, Regional Managing Partner, BDO Audit, Region West
What undoubtedly sets BDO apart and what was especially valuable to me when I started here 20 years ago is the ability for junior employees, also those most junior, to directly and regularly communicate with the managerial staff. BDO’s managerial staff has always had an open door policy. Junior employees can freely talk with experienced partners, submit their ideas and initiatives that are then quite often carried out. This is beneficial to both sides. Partners and managers quickly take note of their employees’ talents, with even the most junior employees being able to take part in ambitious and interesting projects for important clients. Now that I am a partner, I value this style of management and work relationships even more. I can share my knowledge and experience with others, and at the same time learn a different, often very innovative way of thinking and doing things from my younger colleagues.
#Fakt 24 o BDO
Marek Sporny, Senior Tax Manager, Tax Advisory Department, Poznań office
A bit of history about our logo and abbreviated name
Binder Seidman International Group, the forerunner to BDO, is formed in 1963. The Group is made up of consulting firms from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the United States. The objective of the founding members is to form an international network of independent member firms able to provide comprehensive consulting services while maintaining the highest standard of professional work.
After ten years of dynamic growth and being joined by new partners, in 1973 the international expert network of Binder Seidman International Group transforms into Binder Dijker Otte & Co. It is the names of the three partners from 1973 that will ultimately define the logo and abbreviated name of BDO.
In 1988, a new standardized BDO logo is introduced to stress the network’s identity and consolidate the image of the firms that comprise it.
BDO starts operating on the Polish market as BDO Binder Sp. z o.o. in 1991, following the expansion in the early 1990s of the international audit and advisory network of Binder Dijker Otte & Co to Eastern Europe.
At the end of December 2020, the BDO Network has 91 054 employees at 1658 offices in 167 countries. Thus the logo and abbreviated name of BDO signifies the world’s fifth largest network of international audit and advisory firms.
#Fakt 25 o BDO
Marcin Krupa, Audit Partner, BDO Audit Department, Katowice Office
Every member of the BDO Team can count on support
Financial audit is not a profession, it’s a state of mind😉. Without realizing this, you cannot do this work and maintain a balance between your professional and personal life. When I joined BDO nearly 8 years ago (time flies 😉), I was told that substantive and methodological support, and good working relationships, will help keep this balance. Today, I can only confirm this to be true.
Sławomir Żołnierek, FCCA, IIA, Director, RISK Advisory services
New services offered by BDO answer Client expectations
At BDO Poland we continue to grow and expand our range of services, such as risk management, internal audit or internal control system reviews. Our Clients’ increasingly complex business models and ties to international markets let us get a wider perspective when assessing risk with the support of other BDO offices in the world. New services are also a source of unlimited growth opportunities for our employees, who can develop new skills.
#Fakt 27 o BDO
Dr. Andre Helin’s contribution to Polish accounting is significant
“As we talk about the development of Polish accounting and auditing, we cannot forget the significant substantive contribution of Mr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner. As a certified auditor and long-time practitioner familiar with the secrets of a market economy and the realities behind such concepts as going concern, prudent valuation, accounting policy, he shared his knowledge and experience with those who were interested in accounting and auditing. We also had the opportunity to work together” – says Dr. Zdzisław Fedak, one of the developers of Polish accounting, long-standing editor of the “Rachunkowość” monthly, author of numerous books and articles.
#Fakt 28 o BDO
Kristof Zorde, BDO Managing Partner until 2014
BDO manages very well in a digital world, responding to the needs of its Clients
Each generation has its own conditions and challenges. I am from the Baby Boomer generation, so I am attached to paper as a medium of information, which you can easily tell by the number of books, magazines and newspapers I constantly surround myself with. Today’s world belongs to digital natives, for whom a work place based on big data, mobility, the Internet of things and a growing number of artificial intelligence elements is a natural environment. Work is losing its mechanical character and is increasingly based on knowledge and creative thinking.
BDO is doing very well in this world, because it has a clear vision of how to turn knowledge into added value for the Client. I wish you all continued success.
#Fakt 29 o BDO
BDO in numbers
Did you know that:
- the BDO Network was formed in 1963
- BDO officially began operating in Poland in 1991
- the BDO Network is made up of 1728 offices in 167 countries
- BDO Poland has 5 offices: in Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, Kraków and Katowice
- the BDO Network has more than 97 thousand employees
- BDO Poland has a staff of nearly 400
#Fakt 30 o BDO
Dr. Andre Helin, BDO Managing Partner
I see the future in bright colors
BDO has been on the Polish market for more than 30 years. It is now a mature organization that continues to grow and change. We have become a corporation in a positive sense of the word, with an established and recognizable international brand. We also feel globalization and our international activities. These will be our continued and main directions of growth looking forward.
The pandemic has strengthened and accelerated the process of digitalization and spread of virtual audit, which gives new opportunities to a company like BDO – with a global reach. It’s a long-term process.
I also know that we will continue to grow as a modern and multi-disciplinary consulting firm. Aside from our traditional departments like accounting, audit or tax advisory, we will develop services associated with IT security, GDPR and AML in the area of financial advisory and reporting and financial management. We will for sure have many interesting projects.