BDO looks back on a successful fiscal year. We, like our sector peers, face challenges from the dynamic pace of change.
The 2017 reporting period went well for BDO. It was a year of rising revenue and growth in the advisory business. It’s encouraging to see that all of our service lines and product groups once again contributed to the positive results. Particularly noteworthy is the excellent development in Advisory, which was instrumental in strengthening the BDO brand through numerous one-off projects, innovative complementary services, and major acquisition activities. Our business success is all the more impressive in light of the tough economic environment, including a strong franc that burdened exports or the chaos around Corporate Tax Reform III.
For us personally, the highlight of 2017 was our move to new premises in Zurich where we occupy what was once the shipbuilding boiler workshop of Escher Wyss AG. BDO has responded to the growth of recent years and is preparing for the future by bringing together four locations under one roof at our new headquarters.
Our industry faces major challenges at present, and BDO is no exception in facing a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of compliance expenses, digitisation costs, and a trend towards falling prices. All service providers, including banks and insurers, are likewise affected. Increasingly dense regulation absorbs enormous financial and human resources. Done well, however, regulatory compliance also boosts quality.
BDO is embracing digitisation. For example, our digital portal for start-ups ‘HelloNina’ enables automated processing of client requests using bots. We also use data and process analysis tools for large audits, while bots also help with certain tasks in limited statutory examinations. Using technology in this way frees up capacity so that specialists across different disciplines can work together to deal with complex questions. We believe that personal contact with clients and tailored advice will continue to grow in importance. The dynamic environment – with its unrelenting cost pressure and rapid pace of change – is forcing companies to seek new growth opportunities, also across borders. Thanks to our global network spanning 162 countries, BDO is the ideal partner for questions that can arise in this context.
As digitisation permeates every aspect of the working world, calls for data protection are getting louder. Switzerland and the EU are revising their data protection laws, triggering far-reaching questions for many companies. Organisations should begin now to analyse what the new requirements mean for them and to adapt their internal processes and documentation to the new legislation.
Change means disruption – and new success stories if tackled appropriately. Or, in the words of the English naturalist Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." On that note, let us hope that all of us have the courage and vision to master the challenges that lie ahead.
Chairman of the Board of Directors