We need to change the widely accepted perception that all audit firms are boring and bureaucratic. Here’s what should pop into your mind when I say BDO – Their awesome culture!

With 50 years of history, BDO Malaysia is one of the 5 largest professional firms providing audit, advisory and tax services; and plays a key role in the operations of BDO offices in Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. Internationally, BDO operates in 154 countries, employs over 64,303 people in 1,408 offices.

We sat down with Thong Siew Fong, BDO’s Director of Talent Acquisition, to talk about what it’s really like to be a part of the BDO family – specifically, what is the work culture at BDO really like from the inside?

At its core, our business is not about numbers or spreadsheets, ringgit or sen, but about people working with, for, and in service of others. In short, relationships matter at BDO.

In terms of thoughts on importance of work culture when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, Siew Fong explained that while other considerations such as salary, benefits, career progression, training and development are the standard essential considerations when it comes to recruiting employees, a good working culture is not something to be put on the sidelines.


Siew Fong stresses that a positive work culture is crucial for enhancement of the BDO workplace experience. Great company culture creates a conducive work environment that creates and keeps employees motivated to achieve both corporate and personal career goals.

It’s common that most of us share the same assumptions when we think about audit firms – suits, ties, rules, regulations, long hours, protocol. Siew Fong explained that the challenge in championing work-life integration in all audit firms is the need to meet clients’ tight compliance deadlines as they may hinder the work-life balance of auditors.


However, this is an inevitable challenge because maintaining the highest quality of deliverables at all times and delivering exceptional client service is a promise that BDO wishes to keep. So, how does BDO overcome this? By promoting a “work hard play harder” mindset!

BDO incorporates fun in our work culture with activities such as movie nights, CSR, company dinners, company trips, departmental outings or buddy activities. We also always promote the importance of teamwork and cohesiveness.

In addition to that, BDO is one of the pioneer firms within the BDO network to implement the BDO Audit Process Tool, an online application tool which is easily accessible by staff whether they are in office or at home. BDO employees no longer need to compromise their personal life to complete their job task in office, instead they can simply access audit documentation online wherever and whenever convenient. 

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Siew Fong stressed to us that BDO’s employees are their most valuable resource. The company’s business partners recognise and value the importance of happiness levels at work and building close relationships with the entire organisation. It’s not hard to see that when employees are happy and engaged, work productivity and quality increases.

Lastly, we asked Siew Fong what advice she would give to other business leaders who don’t believe in making a positive work culture a priority especially in terms of attracting and retaining the best of the best.

Crunch the numbers! Trust me, it’ll provide data and analysis on talent attraction and talent attrition that clearly explains the causes and effects of less promising work cultures. Effective and honest feedback often provides concrete evidence of the importance of work culture.

If you need more convincing, simply analyse the financial impact on your company when employees are not engaged or the right talent is not hired. On the other hand, employees too must be clearly aware that it takes time to adopt an ideal work culture. After all, good things take time and they usually last longer.

BDO Team



Posted by Shakira Kavanagh

Passionate about making a positive impact in the world, one way or another. A total coffee junkie with an undying love for animals, her ultimate dream is to completely eradicate the global stray animal problem once and for all. For now, she makes a positive impact by helping people find the job of their dreams.