The latest top accounting firm to turn its back on Russia and Belarus is No. 5 on your global scorecard, BDO, which said in a statement on Tuesday that “no BDO firm will work with any sanctioned Russian and Belarussian entities including the Russian and Belarussian government, Russian and Belarussian state-owned enterprises and sanctioned individuals as a consequence of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.”
The statement also addressed BDO’s presence in Russia and Belarus going forward. Here is the firm’s statement in full:
The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine continues to dominate our thoughts and actions.
Our priority continues to be the safety of our colleagues and their families in Ukraine. Our focus is providing financial assistance, transportation, accommodation, safe passage, where possible, and ongoing employment for when they’re ready. BDO firms across the world have come together to support our colleagues and find solutions to help mitigate the immediate humanitarian crisis that is engulfing the region.
Our focus on carefully coordinated support for our people needs to be backed up by carefully considered policy:
- No BDO firm will work with any sanctioned Russian and Belarussian entities including the Russian and Belarussian Government, Russian and Belarussian state-owned enterprises and sanctioned individuals as a consequence of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
- BDO does not have a network firm in Russia. The former Russian member firm operates entirely independently under the name of Unicon.
- BDO is removing BDO Belarus from its global network. We will work to support our clients in fulfilling our legal obligations and commitments.
These changes are effective immediately. Implementation may take longer as we need to ensure an orderly transition. We will discharge our professional responsibilities and obligations to all relevant parties.
Since the outset, we have stated that we deplore the violation of international law and military aggression in all its forms. That continues to be our position and we hope that the loss of life and livelihood soon ceases and that all parties come together to establish an enduring peace.
City A.M. noted today that Unicon is not currently a part of BDO’s global network after BDO divorced itself from the Russian firm last year due to a conflict of interest. According to the website Archyde, the conflict of interest arose when BDO became the global auditor of the German IT company SAP. Unicon was already a technology partner of SAP in Russia, therefore auditor independence could be violated, Vladislav Pogulyaev, CEO of Unicon, said last September.
Cooperation with BDO will continue, but in a different format, says Pogulyaev: Unicon will not be a member of the network, but will receive the status of a member of the global alliance. This will preserve all the advantages of participation in the international network, namely the right to use intellectual resources: methodology and a global knowledge base, special audit IT applications, Pogulyaev lists. The BDO network itself will no longer be able to receive from mutual projects the same amount of payments and rewards from the transfer of clients to Russia. This meets the requirements of independence, he added.
BDO told City A.M. in a statement that “[a]ll clients and opportunities with Russian links are being referred to BDO Global and we will be reviewing our approach on an individual basis.”
Founded in 1997, BDO Belarus was previously part of the KPMG network. BDO didn’t say whether its firm in Belarus would still be a part of BDO’s global alliance.
The top six global accounting firms by revenue have now pulled out of Russia and some from Belarus too: Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG, BDO, and Grant Thornton.
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