Our Graduate Programme lasts for three years, and as part of your programme, we’ll support you to obtain your professional qualification alongside your Level 7 Accountancy/Taxation Professional Apprenticeship*, the equivalent of a Master’s Degree.

This means that on successful completion of your programme, you’ll complete your relevant qualification and have developed the skills and behaviours that you’ll require for your future success.

BDO is fully committed to the government initiative to increase learning and training through apprenticeship standards in the accountancy profession. Therefore, as part of your graduate programme, you’ll sign up to these apprenticeship standards.

*Please note that the following qualifications are offered as Level 7 Accountancy/Taxation Professional Apprenticeship ACA, ACA/CTA Joint Programme, CTA, ATT/CTA Tax Pathway qualification pathways. The apprenticeship programme is based on eligibility criteria. In some cases your prior qualifications may mean that you are not eligible to complete the full apprenticeship however you will still complete the professional qualification.

Onwards and upwards


Regardless of which graduate programme you choose to follow, our induction course will set you on your way. It’s an overall introduction to our business, as well as a chance to meet your fellow trainees. Friendships and internal networks are an important part of life here, and this is where it all begins.

From this point your Graduate programme will combine three key elements:

  • study towards your professional qualification
  • practical client experience and commercial awareness
  • tailored training programmes – covering both technical and client-facing skills

Constant Support


As well as supporting you through your professional training, BDO will  also provide an extensive network of support – including mentors, partners and your individually assigned counselling manager, who will work with you from day one. Their role is to help you settle in during your first few months, to stretch you and help you realise your full potential during your training contract. You will also be given a ‘buddy’ before you start – another trainee who’s further through the programme. There is also the professional qualifications team, whose focus is to support you through your professional examinations.

Graduates find that certain business areas suit their interests and skills more than others. To help you make that choice, we’ve included details of the training programmes in this section.

The information below tells you more about the training each business area requires.

The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), is regarded worldwide as a premier financial business qualification. The ACA is our main qualification for the Audit business area and is taken by most Tax trainees in the form of the ACA/CTA joint programme.
To achieve the ACA, you must complete a three year training agreement and complete the Institute exams which are made up of:

  • 15 exams, depending on your exemptions from University, this may be less.
  • A minimum of three years relevant practical work experience.
  • An online Ethics and Professional Scepticism module and assessment, which you will need to take complete.

All study is a blend of classroom, online lectures and distance learning, for greater flexibility.
Below we have outlined the typical path you would expect to take during your Graduate Programme if studying for the ACA and Level 7 Apprenticeship.

1st Year
• Familiarise yourself with the firm and our processes
• Manage low risk areas within audit such as; testing cash, invoicing and verifying accounts

Qualification

• Start the training contract for the ACA.

  • Start to record your practical work experience
  • Complete the Certificate and start the Professional Level – this depends on the number of exemptions you have gained from your degree.

2nd Year

• Manage more complex areas of a client’s audit.
• Semi-senior position so able to delegate to first year Graduates.

Qualification

  • Complete remaining Certificate and Professional Level exams.
  • Start to complete and record your Apprenticeship Skills and behaviour activity.
  • Continue to record your practical work experience
  • Complete your online Ethics module and assessment

3rd Year
• Manage more complex areas of the audit.
• Delegate work to year first and second year trainees.
• Senior trainee and point of contact for clients.
• Attend planning meetings and speak directly with managers and partners.

Qualification

  • Complete remaining Advanced level exams.

The joint programme is an excellent way to qualify as an Associate Chartered Accountants (ACA) and Chartered Tax Advisors (CTA) under a Level 7 apprenticeship. It means you complete fewer exams than sitting both separately.

The ACA/CTA Joint Programme gives you the opportunity to specialise in areas such as taxation of major corporates, owner-managed businesses or indirect tax depending on your area of the Tax business. You also have to study for the CIOT Ethics Computer Based Assessment which has to be passed before you enter for the CTA Case Study exams.  Membership of the CIOT is recognised as the gold standard for tax specialists.

In order to become a tax practitioner, you can study to be a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). This may be as a single qualification or as a joint qualification alongside ACA. You’re likely to study for the single CTA qualification with us if you work in Private Client Services, Tax Disputes Resolution and Human Capital.

By following our CTA tax training programme (whether as a single qualification or a joint qualification), you will learn how to be a skilled tax adviser. In addition to the qualification itself, you will be taught certain discipline-specific skills as part of our training partnership.

The CTA programme (taken as a single qualification) will help you develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes that are not only essential for passing the exams, but also for building a successful tax career with us.

Our CTA tax training programme is designed and delivered by our in-house team of qualified tutors. You benefit from a very generous amount of blended learning (as compared with industry standards), accompanied and supported by your peers, as well as the opportunity for the completion of homework exercises, private study and work-based experience in the office. You will also be assigned a dedicated personal tutor.

We’ve outlined below the typical path you would expect to take as a graduate on our CTA programme, taken as a single qualification.

1st Year:

  • Getting to know the firm, our processes and clients
  • Plenty of shadowing more senior colleagues and managers to learn key skills

Qualification

  • Accounting and Ethics exams (CTA Direct Tax Pathway) – Computer Based Examinations
  • Accounting and Ethics exams (CTA Indirect Tax Pathway) – Computer Based Examinations

2nd Year

  • Increase the amount of contact with clients
  • Less hand holding and shadowing of managers
  • With more responsibility delegating work to first years

Qualifications

  • Law exam (CTA Direct and Indirect Pathways)
  • CTA Awareness Exams (CTA Direct and Indirect Pathways) in a single sitting
  • Start to complete and record your Apprenticeship Skills and behaviour activity.

3rd Year

  • Amount of clients you interact with increases
  • You attend more meetings and have even more interaction with clients
  • Take ownership of client relationships

Qualifications

  • Two CTA Advanced Technical exams and a Case Study exams (CTA Direct and Indirect Pathways) over two sittings
  • Two CTA Advisory and Case Study exams (CTA Direct Pathway only) over two sittings
  • Complete your Apprenticeship End Point Assessment

The learning part of the Advanced Technical and Case Study exams is undertaken throughout the programme.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (ICAS) qualification is a prestigious and internationally respected qualification that will provide you with the knowledge, skills and values to be a highly regarded and sought-after business professional.

The qualification is comprised of professional study and relevant practical experience. To study for the CA qualification, you must meet ICAS’ entry requirements for your chosen route. Find out more information about the CA qualification and the qualification structure.

1st Year

  • Familiarise yourself with the firm and our processes
  • Manage low risk areas within audit such as; testing cash, invoicing and verifying accounts

 

Qualification

  • Start the training contract for the ICAS
  • Complete at least TC level exams
  • Start to record your practical work experience

2nd Year

  • Manage more complex areas of a client’s audit.
  • Semi-senior position so able to delegate to first year Graduates.

Qualification

  • Complete TPS level exams
  • Continue to record your practical work experience

3rd Year

  • Manage more complex areas of the audit.
  • Delegate work to year first and second year trainees.
  • Senior trainee and point of contact for clients.
  • Attend planning meetings and speak directly with managers and partners.

Qualification

Complete TPE level exams

The CA qualification is comprised of 3 levels, with relevant, practical experience and business ethics gained throughout.

Students can obtain the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) qualification. This is the largest professional body for those who work in the securities and investment industry in the UK, and in a growing number of financial centres globally. The programme sets the standards of conduct and ethics for individuals working in the securities and investments.

BDO offer the option to achieve the Certified Internal Auditor programme (CIA) followed by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) qualification.

Focused on risk management, operation effectiveness, governance and controls, this internationally recognised qualification will enable you to develop and apply knowledge to a wide range of internal audit scenarios.

We offer the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries qualification (IFA) for those looking to join the Actuarial practice. The Actuarial qualification is globally recognised and will enable you to use your mathematical skills to become an expert in evaluating financial risk, problem solving and strategic thinking. You will also learn how to interpret and communicate data to the business and clients.

BDO offer the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification. Globally recognised, the qualification provides you with the skills and knowledge to become strategic leaders of the future. The duration of this programme is 36 months. All study is a blend of classroom, online tuition and distance learning, for greater flexibility.

The firm supports a wide variety of qualifications, including the SAICA qualification. SAICA forms part of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) offerings and is known worldwide. Trainees studying SAICA will normally join the firm having passed the Initial Test of Competence exam and continue to complete the final Assessment of Professional Competence paper and gain work experience until contract completion.

We try to make training as flexible and relevant as we can for all trainees. And we believe there’s no substitute for first-hand experience. Learning is a two-way process. We will work with you to develop your potential to be the best. But to get the most from the programme, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone, reflect on your experiences and develop new and creative solutions.

Our learning management system, iLearn, is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all learning activities at the firm – covering both technical and client-facing skills. It combines simple and convenient virtual learning online with face-to-face training and development.

As well as offering you technical seminars and courses that build the specialist knowledge and practical skills you need for your business area, we’ll also train you in a range of personal, management, client service and client-winning skills. This supports our strategy of putting clients first and helping businesses succeed by developing fully-rounded and versatile individuals to work for us.

Later in your training, you’re likely to be involved in bids for new BDO work. Our experienced bid team will be ready to offer you advice on strategy, help you to develop key messages and differentiators, and coach you in putting together presentations to potential clients.

Our induction course will set you on your way

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Apprenticeship Programme


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Internship programme


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