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Lize Turner is an Audit Assistant Manager based in our Manchester office. Find out more below about her move from South Africa to the UK and how BDO has helped her succeed.


How did you hear about BDO and apply?

In my final year of articles (what we call our training contract in SA), I received a call from a recruiter asking if I would be interested in an opportunity working for BDO in the UK. I jumped at the chance as I’ve heard very positive things about BDO from acquaintances who completed their training contracts with BDO. One specific comment was that BDO value their employees and that a work-life balance is important to the firm.

What has your career journey been like to date?

I studied Chartered Accountancy at the North West University in South Africa (fellow South Africans will know this as “Potch”, which is short for the “Potchefstroom campus”).

In South Africa the requirements to become a Chartered Accountant are that you first need to obtain a degree in accountancy and after this you need to complete a “CTA year” (CTA stands for Certificate in the Theory of Accounting and is in essence a Bachelors of Honours degree in accounting). This was by far the most challenging year of my professional journey to date! In 2017, I started my training contract with a “Big 4” firm in Johannesburg, South Africa, the duration of a training contract is 3 years in SA and during this time you need to pass 2 qualifying exams set by SAICA. I completed my training contract at the end of 2019. I joined BDO in January 2020 as an Audit Senior and enjoyed a lovely 2.5 months touring the UK before the first COVID lockdown. I was promoted to Assistant Manager in May 2021.

How is it settling in to the UK/Manchester?

The first couple of months in the UK was wonderful, I enjoyed a great work-life balance, toured various towns over the weekends and enjoyed the commute on the train to clients very much (for those who don’t know, South Africa does not really have a developed public transport system, so you need to drive everywhere). The lockdown definitely made settling in the UK harder as I did not have a lot of opportunity to get to know my colleagues and not being able to travel back to South Africa to see my family for almost two years has been really hard. But I really enjoyed visiting South Africa again at the end of November! Ever since the last lockdown has ended, settling-in has been much easier and I have loved meeting other BDO personnel in person.

What do you like about living in the North West?

I like that it is not as busy as London – the countryside is very accessible and you don’t need to travel far to find a place for a quick hike on a weekend.

What is the difference working in the UK to at home?

The biggest difference for me was FRS102 – in South Africa companies can only apply IFRS or IFRS for SMEs, so I needed to do a bit of studying on FRS102 (luckily Workday has really great training sessions which summarises the main differences between the standards which has been a great help).

How has BDO supported you with your move?

BDO provided a good instruction packet with a lot of useful links and helpful information – for example opening a UK bank account, providing accommodation for a month, etc. BDO has also now implemented the buddy system, and I have received a lot of positive feedback on this.

What experiences have you had so far?

I have worked on clients across a broad range of industries which have provided valuable experience. I have also had the opportunity to be a buddy and counselling manager to new employees which has been great as it allowed me to meet and interact with new employees. I have seen most of the UK by now, and was surprised at the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside. All of this has been valuable experiences and I think it made me a more well-rounded person.