Wednesday 6 January 2021 4:47 pm

BDO eases promotion pause and makes 20 new partners

Some 20 employees at BDO have finally been promoted to partner at the firm, having had their promotions delayed for six months because of Covid-19. 

The new partners work across the audit firm’s tax, audit and advisory teams and their promotions are effective from 1 January. 

Read more: Accountants BDO to pay back millions in furlough cash after payout outcry

A total 470 staff that were due promotions in May and June 2020 were promoted at the start of 2021, including the 20 new partners.

BDO’s leadership team is also reviewing a number of additional staff promotions, with the aim to make those effective from February.

The move represents an ease to some of the restrictions it placed upon itself to help deal with the pandemic, including pay and promotion freezes and pay reductions for partners.

Read more: Lookers switches auditor from Deloitte to BDO after £19m vanishes from its books

BDO managing partner Paul Eagland said: “2020 was a testing year for businesses and individuals alike. None of us could have predicted that we would be working as a fully remote workforce for almost 12 months as a result of the pandemic.

“Last spring we put a number of measures in place to help us better weather the storm, including a pause on promotions. As we enter 2021 the country and economy faces ongoing challenges but we are determined to do all we can to invest in our people for the long term, this I am pleased to say, includes the promotion of 20 new partners.”

Read more: Lengthy audits cut into BDO profits as firm defends use of furlough scheme

Profits at the audit and consultancy firm suffered somewhat in its 2019/20 financial year, with the firm putting its smaller profit of £137m down to coronavirus. Had the pandemic not happened, the firm reckoned it would have made £165m.

BDO furloughed 700 of its staff – an eighth of its UK workforce – at the start of the pandemic. Late last year it faced criticism for its use of the furlough scheme, as partners were paid an average of £500,000 each and the firm maintained a profit despite the difficulties presented by the pandemic. 

The firm later had a change of heart and paid back it’s £4.1 furlough cash after seeing backlash played out in the media.