A caring culture: Moving to BDO New Zealand from South Africa

New Zealand has placed audit on the Green List straight to residence pathway which means overseas auditors have the opportunity to live, work and study in New Zealand.  

We spoke to Suzanne Kruger, who moved to BDO Auckland from South Africa, about what made her decide to move to Aotearoa and what her experiences have been of transitioning to a new country.  

Give us a bit of background about yourself – where are you from and what made you decide to move to New Zealand? 

I’m originally from South Africa, and have been in the financial industry for 10 years. I saw a recruitment company that specialises in hiring auditors post about a role in New Zealand. They explained that New Zealand has exemptions for auditors, and I thought well I’ve got nothing to lose so I applied.  

I got an interview with BDO, and I was so impressed by how friendly the vibe was. It was relaxed but still professional, and it really struck me that you could just be yourself. The interview went well and I got an offer. We still weren’t 100% sure about going, because my husband had a business in South Africa, but we’d been through so many hijackings and muggings in South Africa, that we decided it was time for a change. We wanted our son to be able to grow up in a country that was comfortable, where he could walk to school and spend time outdoors. I also already had family and friends in NZ so I already had a network to reach out to when I first arrived.  

Suzanne and family exploring Auckland

How did the transition to New Zealand go? 

In the end I came over first and my family followed me after they’d sold our company in South Africa. It was hard being away from the family, but I was fortunate enough to stay with my sister in NZ for the first few months which helped me get my bearings.  

We’ve been here for a year now and we have loved every single minute of it. My son is thriving, he’s really enjoying school, and though Afrikaans is actually his first language, not English, he is doing really well. My husband has got a role in the industry he was in before, so it really feels like everything’s fallen into place.  

The work-life balance here is fantastic – I can go to the beach after work and enjoy the bike trails all over the Auckland area.  

I really couldn’t believe how supportive everyone at BDO was when I first arrived. The people have just been phenomenal. They are so helpful and approachable and you don’t have to be afraid to ask questions. I love that in BDO Auckland we have audit family groups where we socialise together and also do trainings. In our first audit family gathering one of the senior managers said we could do a family gathering at my new house to help me unpack – just little things like that have been so great. BDO has also been really helpful with all the admin involved in moving overseas – things like showing me where to go for an IRD number and how to get a New Zealand bank account. 

What’s been your highlight from New Zealand so far? 

The thing I fell in love with at BDO is that you can see the culture thriving through the people – I’ve never seen this before and it’s really stood out for me. The Partners are easy to talk to, and BDO genuinely cares about its people. We also do a lot for the community around us, and I’ve really enjoyed taking part in our BDO volunteer days.  

What are you plans for the future?  

My family and I are keen to see as much of New Zealand as possible. We’ve got plans to see the South Island when it’s snowing, and go to the Coromandel! We’d also like to go and see Formula 1 in Australia!   

Be your best at BDO – apply today 

At BDO, we have offices in 19 locations across Aotearoa, providing a unique opportunity to live the lifestyle you dream of while also taking your professional services career to the next level. All our offices at BDO are locally owned. This means our people get all the benefits of working for a leading global professional services firm while also experiencing a business model that’s locally-focussed, and enables your individuality to thrive. 

We strive to create a fun, relaxed and inclusive working environment that enables you to enjoy coming to work every day.  

Grow your future in our BDO whānau – explore job opportunities in New Zealand and apply today