October 29, 2020

BDO Is the Little Dipper of Accounting Firms

While we patiently wait for KPMG’s 2019 global revenue results to be released sometime within the next week, BDO slid into our inboxes today announcing that its global revenue hit $9.6 billion in 2019, up from $9 billion last year.

Wayne Berson

One of the keys to BDO’s growth is all the shopping the firm has done in 2019. Globally, BDO completed more than 20 mergers and acquisitions in the year ended Sept. 30, including its huge merger with Moore Stephens in the U.K., which was completed in February.

Accounting Today asked BDO USA CEO Wayne Berson, who has overseen 45 deals during his time as the firm’s U.S. chief executive, what specific factors he looks for when orchestrating an M&A deal. And here’s what WB said:

“We don’t want to do a deal with a firm that doesn’t share our culture,” he said. “And for us, it’s all centered around our strategic plan. And as we work through the plan, that’s our North Star.”

Because the North Star is so important to BDO, that makes them the Little Dipper of accounting firms, right? Let me explain: The North Star (Polaris) is the most notable star in the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), located at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The name Ursa Minor in Latin means “the lesser bear.” Because BDO is the fifth-largest accounting firm globally in terms of revenue behind the Big 4, BDO is the lesser bear. And the Big 4 firms make up the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). And Ursa Major in Latin means “the greater bear.”

So that is why Bravo Delta Oscar is the Little Dipper of accounting firms. Got it? Good.

OK, back to BDO’s revenue. Audit and assurance generated $4 billion worldwide last year, the most revenue (42.4%) of the firm’s four main business lines. That was followed by advisory at 21.2% of total revenue, tax at 21.1%, and business services and outsourcing at 15.4%.

The Americas region continues to kick ass, posting revenue of more than $5 billion in 2019, up 15.7% from last year. The Americas comprises 52.7% of BDO’s total global revenue. Coming in second was the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, which grew 12.9% over last year and makes up 32.9% of the firm’s global revenue.

The Americas includes BDO USA (obviously), which reported revenue of $1.64 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30, making it the seventh-largest accounting firm in the States.

But the Americas also includes Puerto Rico—whether BDO likes it or not.

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