A Day In The Life of A BDO Graduate

By September 14, 2016For Talent

As part of our Grad series we are bringing to you first-hand experiences from different programme graduates to help you navigate your own future choices. In this interview, we caught up with the BDO Graduate Programme participant Elaine Harney. Being a BDO auditor means variety. You get to work with a wide range of companies across many sectors, with each day bringing new challenges. Find out more about the opportunities and perks the programme offers.

BDO grad

Role: Audit Trainee (1st year)
Location: Dublin


Talk us through your typical working day.

I normally spend 2/3 weeks at a time out of the office on site with clients. A typical day out on site involves auditing different areas of the business. As a first year, the areas I typically audit include the bank accounts, the client’s fixed assets, the share capital of the company and the intercompany transactions. This involves obtaining audit evidence from the client, liaising with various BDO departments i.e. the Tax department and Corporate Secretarial for any queries they may have, and also third parties such as banks and solicitors.

As part of the fixed assets testing, I get a tour of the client’s business which helps me to understand how the business operates. Due to the variety of clients we deal with, I find this aspect really interesting as I am always learning about different industries and how businesses within them operate.

What first attracted you to the BDO Graduate Programme?

The size of the firm was initially what attracted me to BDO. They take on smaller groups than the big four. I started on the Audit team with 15 other trainees whom I have grown very close to. I know I have made friends for life here! I believed that in a bigger firm, the integration would have been a lot more difficult and I may not have had the same opportunity to make such close friends.

The variety of experience with clients was another aspect of BDO I found very attractive. When I was speaking to trainees at the Graduate Recruitment Fair, they told me about the variety of clients they work on throughout the year. The day I finished my induction with BDO I was straight out onto a client site to begin working on an audit.

How do you think this programme will help you in your future career?

The BDO Graduate Programme has given me the opportunity to gain a wide range of experience across many sectors and industries. This is a huge benefit to my future career as I do not feel I have been pigeon-holed, I will be confident progressing into any industry or sector.

BDO Graduate

We hear BDO has great perks… which one is your favourite?

During the summer months and the last Friday of every other month, we get to finish at 4 on a Friday.

What surprised you about working at BDO?

BDO is such a friendly and supportive atmosphere to work in. The open door policy is excellent, we work alongside senior managers, directors, and partners who provide an excellent support network while we continuously learn on the job.

Any tips for the application process?

I would recommend that you start your application in advance of the deadline. You should use Word to draft your answers, I found this useful to keep an eye on my word count and spelling. Be honest when answering the screening questions – don’t just give the standard answers that everyone else does.

Describe your BDO experience so far in 3 words

Informative, enjoyable, a great opportunity.

BDO’s Graduate Expert Niamh Dowling gives her top tips for applying to the programme:

  • Begin your application in advance of the deadline – remember you can use the save and return function in the form.
  • Tailor your application and make it relevant. Do your research on BDO and our requirements.
  • Use strong examples for the competency questions – remember the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Activity, Result).
  • Print a copy of your online application before you submit it – this will be useful for your interview preparation.
  • Remember, we’re looking for individuals who can develop great relationships with their colleagues and our clients so be yourself!


If you are inspired by Elaine’s story you can apply right now on Jobbio.
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