Since joining BDO Christchurch in 2018, Jessica Powell has led a trip to China, become a Chartered Accountant, and progressed to Assistant Manager.
We spoke to Jess about her professional growth with BDO - and how she’s been empowered to make her mark, locally and globally.
Tell us about your BDO journey to date.
“After completing my bachelor’s degree majoring in accounting and tax at the University of Canterbury, I joined BDO as a graduate in 2018. I led the China tour at the end of my first year and around my third year I completed my Chartered Accountant accreditation. I’ve been involved in many events through BDO, including running Xero masterclasses, and have taken an active role in buddying staff and running training sessions, even earlier in my career.
I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how senior you are, if you want to be involved in something you’re supported to do it. I’ve been able to develop quickly, progressing to Senior Accountant then Assistant Manager, managing staff along the way. I'm always looking to challenge myself and gain new experience, which has seen me work for three different partners and gain exposure to different types of work, including tax and group structuring.
By being able to try different things and take on new opportunities, I’ve found I haven’t had to go anywhere else to keep progressing in my career.”
What does it mean to you to be locally relevant and globally connected?
“I believe the most important thing about any job is the people. BDO prioritises people first, whether that’s the colleagues we work with, clients we engage with, or connections we have with bankers, lawyers, and the wider community. To me, it’s important to have relationships that go beyond simply that of an accountant and a client; at BDO, there’s a whole community behind every engagement.
Growing up in a small town, I’m a local person at heart. I love the opportunities BDO gives me to be involved in the local community and how receptive my managers have been to my international aspirations.”
Jessica Powell, Assistant Manager – Business Advisory Services, BDO Christchurch
How does BDO help with this?
“Along with my connection with University of Canterbury, I’ve recently started to work with Enterprise North Canterbury, and this has been backed by BDO. I see this with my colleagues too; whether it’s philanthropic work or networking events, engagement with the local community is supported.
For me, the global connection was explored during my time in China, where I have clients and which I’ve visited twice. In my first year at BDO I led a University of Canterbury study tour there, giving back to my university and introducing some of my BDO clients to the next generation of accounting professionals. It was incredible to achieve this so early in my accounting journey.”
What do you value most about BDO’s approach?
“It makes me feel important and like I work for a company that really cares. I feel like I work with people, not for a firm, with a genuine focus on our community. There are so many non-client things we do – sausage sizzles, team events, masterclasses – that make work feel like a family that gives back to the local community.”
At BDO I am my best when… “I am challenged, supported, and surrounded by good people. And BDO has all those things!”
Interested in a career at BDO? View our current opportunities here or read our other BDO colleague stories.