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BDO USA Internship Program


Vault’s Verdict

BDO USA is ideally looking for curious, dynamic, motivated, outgoing, enthusiastic candidates who are eager to learn and grow professionally. BDO’s valuable internship program provides students with hands-on experience, great training, a mentorship program, and networking opportunities with other interns and staff. For its full-time staff, the firm offers extensive growth opportunities, including a fantastic formal mentorship program, bi-annual performance meetings, and live and virtual training covering technology tools, soft skills, industry trends, and more.

In general, BDO offers its staff great work/life balance. While hours can certainly be long during busy season, team leaders are mindful of their team members’ workload, evenly distributing work and making sure no one feels burnt out. Meanwhile, compensation is competitive and fair, although some insiders say the pay could be better. The perks and benefits, though, are generous. BDO offers flexible hours, a good amount of PTO, a casual dress policy, hybrid work arrangements, a 401(k) match, and access to counseling, therapy, and the Total Brain app.

Diversity and inclusion is a focus at BDO. There are a number of BDO team members who are women, and a number of LGBTQ+ identifying staff. While diversity with respect to race and ethnicity is improving, the firm could still improve in this area. In addition, the firm is not very diverse at the partner level, which is mostly made up of white males. As for BDO’s business outlook, it is positive. Despite the industry-wide difficulty when it comes to hiring and retaining staff, the firm is doing well financially, has a significant share of the markets in which it operates, and is positioned well to continue to succeed.

Hiring Process

“I believe our firm is looking for someone who has a deep interest in public accounting and wants to further their career in accounting. The ideal candidate is well educated, wants to learn and work with great people who will mentor them along their journey, wants an awesome work culture, and wants work/life balance.”

“The interview process for entry-level associates is a series of two to three interviews with HR and a couple of department professionals differing in levels. The firm's ideal candidate would be an outgoing and enthusiastic individual who is looking develop and grow professionally. The firm understands that entry-level candidates may not be technically sound in their knowledge of tax, so want someone with a willingness to learn and who is ready to take on the firm's core values.”

“The ideal candidate takes initiative, is willing to learn, and is thoughtful. One does not need much prior knowledge or experience, as a lot of on-the-job training handles any gaps. Interviewing is handled on multiple levels, so any person applying truly understands the company and/or team they're interviewing with. Callback is quick, within a couple weeks.”

“Ideal candidates are curious, dynamic, and motivated. They love to learn and have a growth mindset. BDO is in a massive growth stage, so joiners can have a real hand in shaping the BDO of the future, which is very exciting. Many people come from the Big 4 because they can actually have an impact here; people are receptive to new services and products in a way the Big 4 teams cannot be because of the crushing amount of work.”

Interview Questions

“I think interview questions and styles vary across the firm and by interviewer. I generally look to understand a candidate’s experience, what they want to achieve for themselves, how they view their own leadership abilities, and how they help others succeed.”

“What is your career development plan for the next 5 years? 10 years? Please describe a situation when you had a hard time communicating with another person. What makes you happy in your work? What are things you are proud of that you have accomplished? Was there a situation you would do differently when you look back at it now?”

“Why do you want a career in public accounting? What do you hope to get out of your experience working in our firm?”

“Discuss your time management skills. Discuss a leadership role you have on campus. Are you a fast learner and do you like to try new things?”

Internship Experience

“I got to meet amazing people that took the time to teach me how to audit real clients. The firm had a lot of events during the summer that let me network and get to know my future coworkers. I was exposed to multiple industries during my internship. As it was our slowest season, work was light at times.”

“My internship was an awesome experience. I was treated like a real professional by my peers, given opportunities to truly provide value to my office, and was able to enjoy myself and the company of my coworkers. Honestly, the only negatives of my internship were the hardships of busy season, which realistically just gave me an idea of what it was going to be like as a staff.”

“There were a lot of intern events where we got to interact with others in the firm and get a good feel for the office culture. We were also given the opportunity to work with different departments if we desired.”

“Best aspect of my internship was all the teaching and training I received by senior managers, directors, and partners on projects. I was not expecting to have such high-level mentors and teachers on the engagements I worked on, but they made a point to pull me into their office and make sure I understood the ‘why’ rather than just the answer for what was needed on a project.”

Career Development

“Career development activities include yearly goal setting, bi-yearly performance meetings, and a fantastic formal mentorship program for every level of staff at BDO that helps you learn how to improve.”

“We have an extensive and well-organized library of self-paced and live training offerings covering technology tools, soft skills, and changes in the industry. They are fairly easy to access. Lots of encouragement to partake. There seems to be positive change in procedures to make career development more equitable and accessible across the firm. It is yet to be seen whether the new procedures will truly result in a more diverse set of leaders at the highest levels. It still happens that one might be in a large (100+) meeting and all the meeting leaders are white and mostly all male, which feels discouraging regarding advancement opportunity for those who are not white males.”

“There are plentiful opportunities for upward advancement, which is one of the best aspects of public accounting. Virtual and in-person training opportunities are also spread over the entire year. During COVID, BDO pivoted to virtual training to replace the national level in-person trainings that previously took place at all levels. As we've now moved back to some in-person events, our national trainings have remained virtual as a cost-savings measure. I've heard complaints about this from our staff and senior associates, who liked having the opportunity to interact with their peers from other parts of the country.”

“They are hands-on by setting you up with a mentor and a buddy. They provide many resources to create goals and show how to track them. They have meetings to update them which is helpful. I wish I had more example goals to get ideas.”

Quality of Life

“I appreciate BDO’s policy around the flexible use of time considering everyone has a different personal background. It's good to know that I can make up time as needed throughout the week if unable to do so during regular work hours. I also really appreciate the ability to work remotely. It makes a huge difference in how I achieve my work goals.”

“The firm wants to take care of you and your quality of life. There are lots of opportunities for flexibility, whether that is day to day or formally. If you need a few hours off to go to the doctor, or work four 10-hour days rather than five eight-hour days, or work less than full time to be able to take care of your kids—they're all options. There are also a handful of mental and physical well-being resources you can take advantage of firmwide that are free to use. That said, busy season is busy season, and work needs to get done. I personally took a hit mentally this last year because it felt like busy season never really ended (other than your hours going back to around 40). The job is stressful, and difficult clients or low numbers of staff to meet the office's needs meant that you were stretched thin more than the expected January to April. Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon in the industry right now, but BDO is aware of this and your managers (and office managing partner, if need be) will work with you to help you in any way you might need.”

“I would say the firm offers great work/life balance. Obviously, it can get crazy during busy season, but within my team my leaders are always mindful of everyone's workload, making sure the work is evenly distributed amongst our team and always willing to help out or find resources if needed. They are also very mindful of everyone's hours and productivity, and making sure that no one is feeling burnt out.”

“I work in tax, so obviously there are particular times of the year where things are busy. If we have to work during a holiday, the firm does allow us to take that time off on another day during the year. Also, the firm trusts that we are professionals who will get our work done, so use of PTO is always encouraged.”

Salary and Benefits

“They are transparent about market value and pay, and often provide free meals, celebrations, and in-office events to make people feel appreciated. I wish they had better policies around health/family like freezing eggs, childcare programs, better gym discounts.”

“Very competitive and fair with their compensation and benefits package. I have worked at several different firms, and the benefit package here is the best I have come across.”

“There has been a priority to keep salaries in the Chicago office competitive with the market. There are a variety of benefits to working for the firm, including but not limited to flexible hours, vacation time, casual dress, and hybrid work arrangements.”

“The firm does work toward properly compensating those who work hard as well as allowing for a hybrid work environment. In my location, we get catered lunches every day during winter busy season and dinners if we are in the office. They throw parties for us regularly and we do weekly happy hours that are paid for by the firm. However, I believe the company could offer additional lifestyle benefits and perks such as gym reimbursement which would help improve overall employee morale.”

Wellness Efforts

“BDO provides access to counseling/therapy through our insurance provider. Via our insurance provider (United Healthcare), we also have access to nutritionists and dietary specialists. There's also a grief concierge that can assist with making funeral arrangements as well as arranging for specific grief counseling.”

“The firm encourages wellness for all employees. In our office we have a wellness committee that has initiatives, trainings, events, and activities to enhance wellness.”

“The firm emphasizes wellness and provides lots of information on health and nutrition, as well as counseling and a general emphasis on positive mental health. There are no reimbursements for gym or other wellness programs.”

“BDO puts forth a lot of effort to ensure employees’ health and wellness is a priority. BDO sponsors various local teams (soccer, kickball, etc.) to ensure employees have the opportunity to be physically active. In addition, BDO sponsors virtual wellness courses that include guided meditation.”

Diversity, Philanthropy, and Green Initiatives

“I work with a number of BDO team members who are women. Same for LGBTQ+-identifying colleagues. I am proud that we support women in consulting and the advisory and services practice area. Diversity with race and ethnicity is definitely improving, but we still have a long way to go.”

“Very diverse company. My colleagues come from so many different countries. As a white male, I am the minority, and I think that is awesome. However, the partner level is still overrepresented by white males.”

“The number of women in leadership (MD and Partner) is significantly less than men. It is glaringly obvious and of concern.”

“I think the firm has been very active with respect to women's inclusion for quite some time and the results are there. The percentage of female partners has increased and representation on the board has as well. At the executive level, seems like there still could be more to do. The other inclusion groups have been gaining more traction in the last three to five years and great effort is being made, but I think there is still more work to be done. Love that the firm is dedicated to inclusion efforts and continues to push to ensure all feel welcome and have the opportunity to be successful at BDO.”

Business Outlook

“The firm is doing well financially, and the forecast for next year also looks good. The firm does well in retaining staff, and there is a good mix of clients.”

“The firm continues to be successful with new client work and continues to develop the talent team to optimize productivity.”

“Our people and our leaders are in alignment. There is buy-in in terms of what we want to achieve, which makes getting there much easier. The supply of accountants in the U.S. is diminishing. This is creating opportunities for candidates/employees but also extreme competition for talent with the Big 4 firms.”

“I think the business outlook is very good. It seems that most people are happy in their roles and want to stay at BDO, which I think reflects well on the company. There is a lot of competition in the field among mid-size accounting firms, but BDO has a good share in those markets.”


330 North Wabash Avenue
Suite 3200
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 856-9100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private Partnership
CEO: Wayne Berson

Major Office Locations

Houston, TX
Greater Washington D.C.
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Dallas, TX

Affiliated Companies
Major Departments & Practices

Advisory, Audit and Assurance, BDO Digital, BDO Wealth Advisors, Sustainability and ESG, Tax