Auditor BDO is preparing for a major order

The auditing company BDO has won the contract to audit the DAX company SAP. It is now increasing its capacities and still wants to remain a reliable partner for medium-sized companies.

Major customer: The supervisory board of the software group SAP (here the headquarters in Walldorf) has proposed the auditing company BDO as the new auditor for the annual financial statements.

Dhe auditing and consulting company BDO grew strongly despite the pandemic. BDO announced on Wednesday that sales for the 2019/2020 financial year rose by 8.6 percent to 285 million euros. The chairman of the board, Holger Otte, described the past year as very satisfactory and the growth as remarkable.

The company is the next largest on the German market after the four big ones in testing and consulting – PWC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte – and has therefore rarely been in the limelight so far. That has changed since BDO won the order to audit the annual financial statements of the software group SAP. BDO will check the SAP figures from fiscal year 2023 if the SAP shareholders approve this proposal by the Supervisory Board at the Annual General Meeting in 2022. For the first time in many years, a Dax mandate would go to an auditing company that is not one of the big four – a great success for the challenger.

In order to prepare for this task, BDO started to set up a team for the SAP audit during the 15 month tendering process. Accordingly, many long-standing BDO employees will be employed, but also new staff who have been recruited from other auditing companies. However, BDO has not poached employees of the previously responsible competitor KPMG, and has no plans to do so, as Andrea Bruckner said, who is responsible for auditing on the BDO board. BDO not only needs good people for its future major customer SAP. The auditing and consulting company has also won other prominent customers, most recently the German subsidiary of the major bank Citigroup.

Signal for the entire market

In winning the SAP mandate, BDO boss Otte sees a signal for changes in the entire market. The HR consultant Hellmuth Wolf from Signium Germany, who specializes in auditing and tax advice, asks himself the exciting question of whether the trend is now that other Dax companies are also being audited by smaller companies. “BDO must now increase its capacities and hire more staff in order to be able to cope with the SAP mandate in terms of personnel and expertise,” said Wolf in an interview with the FAZ the worry arises that they will be neglected in the future. “

BDO boss Otte emphasized on Wednesday, however, that his company would remain a reliable partner for medium-sized clients despite the large SAP order. BDO was also able to win the SAP mandate thanks to its progress in digital testing and its strong internationalization. The company employs 2000 people in Germany, but has also co-founded the international auditor and consultant network BDO International, which has more than 91,000 employees. According to Otte, all other clients should also benefit from the expertise gained thanks to SAP.

Correction note: In the version of this FAZ article for the issue of May 6, 2021, it was stated that many “long-term SAP employees” were deployed for the major SAP order. Instead, what was meant was that “many long-term BDO employees” were deployed for this purpose. We have corrected this error here.