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Asma, Manager in the Audit, People & Culture team, has seen her career go from strength to strength. From Birmingham to London, manufacturing to mining and oil and gas, she’s enjoyed every challenge and built a rewarding career for herself here at BDO, gaining business skills for life and making a real impact.


Where did it all start?
My journey as an accountant started through my big sister, who had a management accounting qualification and worked in the fashion industry. As the younger sister I was keen to follow in her footsteps – so as I was growing up I wanted the same job! Coupled with just turning 18 and wanting to break free from home in Watford, I signed myself up to an accounting degree at Aston University in Birmingham.

During my time at University, I completed a twelve-month placement at a large American multinational which really showed me what a career in accounting could look like. I had lots of career conversations as I was figuring out what I should do once graduated, and a stint in audit seemed to trump everything else for me as a solid first step into an accounting career.

In my final year of university, I attended a lecture hosted by two Managers from BDO Birmingham. It was then and there that I felt BDO’s values really aligned to me, and I applied for an Audit Trainee role that same evening. I joined BDO in September 2017 as a fresh-faced graduate in our Birmingham office, where I worked for two and a bit years, on a variety of corporate and not-for-profit jobs.

In December 2019, I decided to move back home to Watford. This is when I joined the London Audit Group, working on the Natural Resources, Energy and Shipping sector. I had one exam left to take and qualified within my first year in the London office, after which I was promoted fairly quickly to Assistant Manager and then ultimately to my current role as Manager in the Audit, People and Culture team.


How was progression made easy at BDO?
BDO made my transition from Birmingham to London incredibly smooth. I started getting new sector experience, which came with lots of opportunity to develop in my role.

I started out by gaining experience on smaller jobs but was quickly able to progress to larger ones that allowed me to expand my technical skills and gain important industry experience. I have also travelled the world in the process, which has allowed me to see things that I didn’t think were possible working at an audit desk. A highlight has been being on an entity’s charter plane flying into a gold mine in Burkina Faso while sat in the cockpit with the pilot. Incredible. Such experiences have been gateways to excelling my technical audit skills but have also given me life skills that will stay with me for the rest of my career, and it was all possible because of BDO.

What’s so special about working in audit?
There are many special things about working in audit, but the thing I like most is the camaraderie of working with your team. We’re all in it together with a shared objective of delivering a high-quality audit. Due to the nature of audit, you find yourself working in different teams. As a result, I’ve met people from all walks of life, with different cultures, and experiences and a different outlook on life. Those learnings have really helped me in being an effective manager.


Tell us a bit about High Performing Teams…
High Performing Teams is our framework and focus on the Audit stream and represents our culture of challenge. We define a High Performing Team as “The Right people supported to do the Right work, in the Right place at the Right time. In short doing the Right thing. Always.”

Its concept is underpinned by our four Audit Specific Behaviours which reflect how we will deliver consistent high-quality audits that serve the public interest. The four behaviours are: ‘We have a challenge mindset’, ‘We are proud and accountable’, ‘We prioritise our teams’, and ‘We recognise and celebrate each other’.

It goes without saying that Audit Quality is at the top of our agenda. So High Performing Teams is a welcome framework in providing transparency on what really matters when it comes to delivering consistent high-quality audits that serve the public interest.


What impact do you have on the wider community?
For me this all boils down to doing the right thing. When we say we are delivering consistent high-quality audits that serve the public interest, ultimately it means we are working diligently to challenge management on whether their financial statements provide a true and fair view of the financial performance and position of the entity they are responsible for. We build trust into the decision-making of the users of these financial statements.

At BDO we have many high-profile entities – names we know and recognise in our day-to-day lives outside of work – so our impact on society is huge. We have access to a lot of information that others don’t, and we interact with some really senior people in key management positions within our audited entities who share information in confidence so we can get “under the skin” of their financial reporting. After a few audits you really come to understand why what we do is so important in the market.

What are your next steps at BDO?
I’m starting to tell people I’m part of the furniture around here! I just don’t see a day where I’m not working for BDO – I’m very happy here. Throughout my career I’ve been supported by the right people; they’ve allowed me to challenge and be challenged in a way which has meant I continually grow and develop in my role. It’s been fun getting to know the people I work with, and I’ve had many-a-laugh on the audit table. I look forward to seeing what’s next in store for me with the firm.