Making a name for BDO

previous icon Hans Wilmots may be softly spoken and have a practical outlook on the current market, but his deep-seated confidence in BDO underlies everything he says. “We are facing a lot of challenges,” he admits. “Competition is getting harder. Our auditors and accountants are facing a lot of changes from the regulatory authorities. Clients are becoming more demanding, wanting more value for money. And, at the same time, the war for talent has increased.”

 “We had one big handicap in the market: our name. People didn’t know us. We had a lot of work to do making publicity to let the world know what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. This is one of the reasons we wanted to work with Vlerick. The school has a good reputation and could help us build our brand, and besides it was a good way for us to take contact with students and the Vlerick network, and tell the marketplace what we’re capable of.”

Along with Professor Miguel Meuleman, Vlerick’s entrepreneurship professor, BDO have launched the Entrepreneurial Buyout Centre, a research and education facility focussing on management buyouts and buy-ins. Wilmots explains why: “More than 80% of small and medium enterprises in Belgium will be facing the problem of generation transfer in the next few years. With Vlerick, we thought it would be appropriate and interesting to study the impact of private equity on buy-out and economic situations, as well as foreign investment. There is after all, a lot of money in Belgium, but people don’t spend it.”

The centre will provide seminars and courses for entrepreneurs who want to explore buyout opportunities, rather than setting up a business from scratch. By combining Vlerick’s academic reputation and BDO’s practical expertise, Wilmots believes they can create something exciting that offers more than either could alone. “We’re working together, and they’re helping us come out with our knowledge. They have their network and a very good reputation. It’s a good cohesive story. They’re adding credibility to our project.”

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Making a name for BDO

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