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BDO is a leading mid-tier accountancy and business advisory firm that provides services to ambitious businesses in the UK and worldwide. With more than 3,500 employees generating close to £400m in UK revenues, it describes itself as the leading accountant for the UK mid-market and has been voted number one for client satisfaction three years running
Sungard AS supports the critical systems and applications at the heart of BDO’s tax and advisory business including its all-important audit process tool, a proprietary system used by its auditors attending client premises. BDO’s applications, its email system and a number of portals and client sites, in the UK and internationally, are among the other platforms supported.
BDO IT Director John Turner explains, “Sungard AS hosts literally all the critical applications BDO depends on. We didn’t want to go for the firm that’s the cheapest or most expensive but the one that gives us best value for money – it’s the reliability and quality of service we’re paying for.”
Having been a Sungard AS customer since 2006, the relationship between the two companies predates the appointment of John Turner who confesses, “I admit I was sceptical about switching to Sungard AS from a competitor I’d been using at my previous firm. I thought as a large company Sungard AS would be rigid, inflexible and we’d have to do things the Sungard AS way – fit into a sausage factory. I discovered the service Sungard AS provides is quite the opposite. I’ve been converted – and am very happy to have been!”
In fact, John Turner is so satisfied with the service BDO receives that he has expanded the services he contracts from Sungard AS, adding managed back up services in the form of electronic data vaulting and failover to a second data centre for added reassurance. He says, “These add-ons show the level of trust we place in Sungard AS. To say I’m very, very happy with the quality of service we receive would be an understatement.”
Commenting on the partnership, John Turner remarks, “I went into the relationship with a somewhat negative view of Sungard AS’ capabilities but I’ve been very happy to be proved wrong. The hygiene factors have to be there – you have to get what you pay for – but over and above that, for me it’s about Sungard AS’ flexibility. Knowing we can phone up to ask for things and get a very reasonable, accommodating response.”
BDO and Sungard AS are currently working together on the migration of BDO’s systems and applications into its new data centre environment. Sungard AS had already proved its capabilities in this area when, following BDO’s merger with PKF in 2013, it successfully amalgamated the two companies’ IT infrastructures into one. John Turner remarks, “Without a doubt I consider Sungard AS to be our technology partner and you treat a partner very differently to a supplier. We share our plans and ask for advice as well.”
As for the future, he says, “I can only see our relationship going from strength to strength. We are poised on the threshold of bursting out of our infrastructure into the cloud and when that day comes we will consider Sungard AS first and foremost when looking at providers.”
Top five accountancy practice BDO needed a reliable hosting partner it could trust to support all of its most critical applications including a proprietary audit system. With exceptional client service of supreme importance for the firm, it needed to ensure the applications its employees depend on would always be available. Sungard Availability Services has fulfilled its expectations.