Awards 2005: large firm of the year – BDO Stoy Hayward

The Big Four may be looking nervously over their shoulders.

In the last year, BDO Stoy Hayward has won significant new clients, including
some that would traditionally not have been served by the mid-tier, and
delivered impressive financial results. As a result, it is the winner of our
Award for Large Firm of the Year, improving on its runner-up position last year.

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When poker website PartyGaming announced its IPO, it put BDO in charge of the
biggest UK flotation for five years. This makes BDO the only firm outside the
Big Four to audit a FTSE100 company. The first-ever Chinese company to float on
the AIM, Chinese Wonder, also chose BDO to act for it.

Earlier this year, the DTI appointed a BDO partner, Gervase McGregor, to
investigate MG Rover’s accounts in the wake of the car firm’s collapse.
Admittedly, this was partly because all of the Big Four firms were already
involved in proceedings, but it is a measure of the inroads the firm has made
into business that would traditionally have been won by its larger rivals.

The UK government clearly shares the view of a growing number of large
clients ­ that it is worth looking outside the Big Four when looking for
professional services work.

In all, BDO handled 149 corporate finance deals and acted as reporting
accountants on more AIM flotations than any other adviser in 2004. Fee income
rose by 11% last year and strong growth is expected to continue.

‘A very impressive entry,’ said our judges. ‘A focused organisation with real
expertise, looking to open access to new markets.’

In the past year, BDO has launched new services for clients, including the
largest global risk advisory group in the UK. It has focused its resources on
key sectors including property, retail, manufacturing, leisure, financial
services and not-for-profit to give clients a greater depth of expertise. Around
10% of its clients buy more than three services from the firm.

The firm is part of a network of more than 600 offices across 100 countries,
giving it international coverage that is unmatched outside the Big Four. This
year, it acquired Leeds firm JGW and three offices from Numerica in Bristol,
Southampton and Manchester. It now has 16 offices in the UK, having rationalised
its national network.

As well as recruiting partners from its acquisitions, it also hired five from
Big Four firms. BDO made 11 internal promotions to partner level this year, a
reflection of its successful training schemes and investment in staff.

The firm increased its investment in training this year and employee
satisfaction is high. For the second year running, our judges chose BDO as
Employer of the Year. It was the only accountancy firm in the Sunday Times 100
Best Companies To Work For this year and also featured in the newspaper’s top
100 list of graduate employers.

BDO has shown that a mid-tier firm can challenge the established order

It has managed to compete with the Big Four for important clients without
overstretching itself or losing its focus.

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