BDO International is encountering teething
problems simplifying the network’s branding as the name change
comes up against some regulatory barriers.

On 1 October, BDO International firms in 110
countries committed to adopt the global trading name ‘BDO’.
Approximately 20 percent of the network has made the change, while
the remainder will complete the transition by 1 January 2010.

BDO Unicon, or BDO Russia as it is hoping to
be known, is one firm that will have to wait until 1 January. This
is because using ‘Russia’ in a company title has legal
restrictions, so the firm needs to be granted special permission by
its government to include the country’s name.

The change will result in the firm maintaining
its local name, Unicon, for its non-core businesses, such as
accounting outsourcing and consultancy, and using the new name for
its core audit business.

BDO Unicon’s international liaison partner
Alexander Verenkov said the government is asking the firm to do
more work for the state and it is important that the firm
identifies not only with the international community but also
Russian business.

“The name is something that can explain not
only the international membership but can also explain to the state
and state-owned enterprises [our Russian connections],” Verenkov

BDO International chief executive Jeremy
Newman said where the law does not permit it, a firm’s statutory
name will remain, but he imagines this will apply to less than 15
firms worldwide.

He said the brand change is trying to deliver
several messages to the market, including addressing competition
and choice.

“I think changing our name and updating our
visual identity gives finance directors or chairs of audit
committees [of prospective clients] a chance to say ‘hang on a
minute maybe this is a different BDO to the one that I remember’,”
Newman said.

“This is not a group of corner shops
pretending to be a supermarket this is the real McCoy you are
getting here.”