The firm has recently partnered with ProfessionalMums.net, a service that connects highly skilled women, including accountants and management consultants, with flexible employers.
Peter O’Sullivan, BDO’s head of people and culture, noted that it represented a “great opportunity to improve the firm’s diversity profile”.
“I think having a partnership with ProfessionalMums.net just allows us to access, or have better access to, a segment of the market that is perhaps a little more difficult to access,” he said.
According to Mr O’Sullivan, those firms which are able to adapt and cater to changing working routines are better placed to compete for talent and meet their clients’ needs.
“We already have about 15 per cent of our employees who work with us on a formal, ongoing flexible-working arrangement,” he said.
Mr O’Sullivan noted that BDO has recently recruited a lateral hire partner into the firm's Brisbane office – a working mother who operates on a four-day per week basis.
“We’ve brought her into the partnership as a part-time partner, and I think 5 or 10 years ago that wouldn’t have happened, so I think we are making strides in the right direction,” he said.
With diversity firmly on the industry's agenda, Mr O’Sullivan added that a majority of firms are currently reassessing what constitutes a partner, and how a partner can operate.
“I think we’re all in a similar kind of space: we all recognise that it’s been difficult historically to break through to partnership, and we’re keen to provide the sort of structure and support that will enable more talented women to make it to partner,” he said.
“That’s going to take time – we’re coming off a relatively low base and so it takes time for that to shift significantly – but I’m very confident that over time that will happen.
“We look forward to working with ProfessionalMums.net and continuing to provide opportunities for experienced professional women to contribute to our firm and our clients,” Mr O’Sullivan said.