In terms of size, BDO is the fifth largest accountancy network in the world. It has a place of its own in the market, being significantly (57 per cent) larger by revenue than its closest mid-tier competitor, and competes actively against the larger accountancy networks for multinationals and large audits.

Globally, BDO has a presence in 154 countries; 25 of which are in Asia–Pacific, with 64,000 people working from 1,400 offices worldwide.

The network was established in the early 60s as the Binder International Group with five original member firms in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the US, and Canada. Ten years later, the British, German, and Dutch networks adopted a common name—Binder Hamlyn (UK), Dijker & Co (Holland), Otte & Co (Germany)—and its acronym ‘BDO’ has endured. In 1975, the financial services business opened an association of firms in Australia and its operations continued to grow, with further expansions into the Asia region.

In February 2013, Stephen Darley was appointed to the position of CEO for Asia–Pacific. This was a newly created role as part of a significant drive by BDO to lead, support, implement, and drive new strategic initiatives in Asia–Pacific at an international level. BDO recognised the great potential that was sitting in the region that is one of the world’s largest economies, and knew that it could effectively identify opportunities, align with complementary partners, and find ways to minimise the risks for prospective clients.

Stephen was well-equipped to take on the role and run with it. The Australian executive has resided and worked in eight countries across the Asia–Pacific region, gaining experience from both mid-tier and the larger competitors.He has spent more than 20 years in the financial advisory sector and has specific insight and knowledge on Asian, and developing markets. His previous roles have included working as a director for KPMG in Indonesia and Thailand, a consultant to the alternative investments group for Standard Chartered Bank (HK) based in India, and the Asia–Pacific Regional Director for another mid-tier network.

His role with BDO includes overseeing the operational processes of the Asia–Pacific region, including market analysis, practice management, the development of member firms, and business development initiatives. Stephen is based in Hong Kong and is also the Chairman for BDO’s Asia–Pacific board.