BDO Seidman using SugarCRM to manage office network

Kind of old news (it’s from January last year) but BDO Seidman has implemented commercial open source software to manage their nationwide network of member firms. Open source software is software whose underlying source code is openly available and is usually licensed under the GNU GPL.

What I like about open source is that the software is generally more stable and lightweight than closed-source software. This is due to the open nature of the code, which allows anyone to submit bug fixes or more efficient code.

Firefox, for example, is much more stable and reliable than Internet Explorer, and allows the user much greater control of the browsing experience. So it comes as no surprise that BDO Seidman chose SugarCRM for its adaptability to their specific needs.

[BDO] had never dealt with SugarCRM before, but she said that the lead project manager for the migration project was familiar with open source software. Helping matters was the fact that BDO Seidman’s IT team was very open to the SugarCRM application and regularly volunteered time and effort to work closely with the vendor’s own team when it came time to integrate the product into the environment.

This is where open source can be used more effectively within organizations with specific needs. Getting people from both the customer and supplier to work together to make sure the software fits the organization like a glove.

I wonder whether they would have considered open source if the lead project manager wasn’t already familiar with it. There is still a lot of FUD out there when it comes to open source, so it will take someone like the project manager did at BDO to take the reins and get everyone on board.

As well, BDO looked at other options before deciding to use open source. They even considered going with Microsoft CRM (now Dynamics CRM), but in the end chose something a little sweeter.


BDO Dunwoody merges with Goodman Rosen

Hot on the heels of their announcement that the merger discussions with Grant Thornton were called off, BDO Dunwoody’s insolvency practice BDO Dunwoody Ltd. has joined forces in Nova Scotia with Goodman Rosen Inc.

Expanding one of Canada’s most comprehensive financial recovery practices, BDO Dunwoody Limited, Trustee in Bankruptcy and Goodman Rosen Inc., Trustee in Bankruptcy have agreed to merge their professional practices effective July 1, 2007. In Halifax and Sydney, the merged firm will operate as BDO Dunwoody Goodman Rosen Inc.

HandshakeGoodman Rosen Inc. is a boutique firm specializing in financial recovery services in Halifax and Sydney. The merger heralds a bold move by BDO to grow their full-service practice organically throughout Atlantic Canada.

In an ironic twist, Goodman Rosen currently offer (according to their website) appointments in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at Grant Thornton’s offices.

What do you think? Is this a better growth option for BDO in Canada versus the attention-grabbing Grant Thornton merger talks announced earlier?


BDO and Grant Thornton decide against merger

It was only a few weeks ago I was blogging about the the potential merger in Canada of BDO Dunwoody and Grant Thornton. They announced that they were in talks and conducting the necessary due diligence procedures to see if a merger would be good for the two firms and their clients.

They announced today that the merger talks are off.

BDO Dunwoody LLP and Grant Thornton LLP announce today that their respective Boards have agreed to discontinue merger discussions. No specific reason led to the decision to cease discussions; however, both firms recognized that despite the potential of the union, a merger of this nature also presented significant challenges.

HandshakeFirst and foremost I’d say the fact they belong to their respective international networks and one of the two firms would’ve had to dissolve in Canada and the merged firm continue as the remaining firm. That’s a lot of brand value up in smoke for either one of them. I’m not sure the merger’s potential benefits would’ve been great enough to overcome even that sole stumbling block.

So Grant Thornton merges with RSM Robson Rhodes in the UK, and the Grant Thornton merger with BDO in Canada is kaput. Who’s next?


BDO and Grant Thornton in Canada discuss merger

It was announced on Friday that the number five and six accounting firms in Canada, Grant Thornton LLP and BDO Dunwoody LLP, have entered into discussions on the possibility of merging. The firms are both members of their international networks, Grant Thornton International and BDO International. If merged, the combined firm would take the name of one of the firms.

Grant Thornton, with about $400 million in annual fees, is currently the country’s fifth-largest accounting firm, with more than 2,900 employees and 370 partners in 99 offices across Canada. BDO, with $300 million in annual fees, is the sixth largest, with more than 1,900 employees and 315 partners in 95 offices across Canada.

HandshakeThe decision to merge will be done by early July, and will require the support of at least 75% of the partners of both firms. This could be pretty huge in Canada, as the combined firms would be 2nd in the country in terms of the number of partners.

Grant Thornton LLP and BDO Dunwoody LLP said their proposed merger will create a national firm with 685 partners and 4,800 staff operating out of 194 locations. A spokesperson for the firms said that no offices will be closed and there will be no job cuts as a result of the merger. The combined entity will be the second biggest accounting firm in Canada, with only global giant Deloitte and Touche LLP larger in terms of number of people.

By revenue, however, the combined firm would still trail the Big Four by a large margin. The two firms simply don’t target the top level of public companies in Canada, from which the lion’s share of the Big Four’s revenue comes from.

The comment about job cuts is pretty funny, for anyone following the red-hot market for accounting professionals. I suppose it’s pretty standard fare for the business journalist writing about a potential merger to mention any foreseen effect on jobs. But really, I’m sure no one at either firm is worried about their job security.

This is probably the most interesting story in Canadian accounting so far in 2007. The effect on the audit market in the country could be substantial, as the combined firm would present a strong alternative to the Big Four for that second-tier of public companies whose needs may be better met by a smaller firm with a better partner-to-staff ratio.

The main question is what this new firm, if it materializes, will be called and how it will fit internationally. If it becomes GT in Canada, does BDO International start looking for a new firm here to take on the BDO name, and vice versa? Both firms have strong brand value, so it’s hard to see either international arm simply giving up on the country.

Accounting Blogs

Blogs catching on for BDO in the UK

This is cool: BDO Stoy Hayward‘s Managing Partner Jeremy Newman has a blog.

It’s no surprise he was voted Accountancy Age’s Personality of the Year – this guy is switched on. I think it goes without saying – and it’s a constant theme for my fellow accountant bloggers – that we need more folks at the top catching the blogging fever.

My comments echo those of Dennis Howlett, made last week when a journalist at the British Accountancy Age shone the spotlight on Newman’s blog.

BDO in the UK is sizzling these days. And with a Managing Partner this in tune with technology, it’s not hard to see why.