BDO Seidman: Growing with the 20th Century and Beyond
In 1910, Maximillian Leonard Seidman (1888–1963), the son of Russian immigrants, founded the accounting firm of Seidman & Seidman in New York City. The profession of accounting was also brand new, but that situation soon changed.
When the income tax on individuals was established in 1913 by the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Seidman recognized the potential for growth as accountants took on a new role in tax planning for individuals. And when Congress enacted legislation in 1917 creating corporate income taxes, Seidman—now joined by two brothers—expanded the business to include corporations. The firm opened a second office in Michigan, just when the federal government converted furniture and woodworking factories to airplane manufacturing for WW I. Seidman & Seidman quickly became known for serving this industry when it developed a successful system for keeping track of furniture-plant costs.
Maximillian Seidman ran the firm for 45 years. He wrote many articles and served in many industry organizations. He advocated Total Involvement” of his firm employees in the business of their clients. In 1944 he declared, It is the manner in which we serve our clients today that will determine whether we shall have them to serve as clients in the future.”
Seidman & Seidman continued to expand, becoming a truly national firm by the 1960s. In 1963, it joined other accounting companies from Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and (then West) Germany in an international organization. In 1973, these firms formed a new group called BDO (Binder Dijker Otte & Co.). This group, now called BDO International, is the fifth largest accounting firm in the world, with 1,138 branches in 115 countries. The U.S. member, BDO Seidman LLP, has 17 branches and more than 400 independent locations.
Albert Lopez is the Southeast Regional Business Line Leader for Assurance Services at the Miami branch of BDO Seidman LLP. Its team-oriented approach and experience has enabled it to create and maintain long-term relationships as its many clients endure the recent ups and downs of the economy. Lopez says, Success is about service. In this economy, it is especially important to be collaborative and to bring a variety of offerings, including tax, assurance and consulting to the table . . . we want our clients to know that senior team members are always available.”
As BDO celebrates its 100th anniversary, it has received a number of industry honors. BDO recently announced that 39 of its U.S. offices (including Miami) had won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. This award acknowledges the personal and workplace advantages of flexibility programs when a firm uses them to improve its effectiveness and to benefit its employees. Accounting Today magazine and Best Companies Group named BDO one of the best accounting firms.” The Best Accounting Firms program identifies the best employers in the accounting industry and their benefits to the U.S. economy, workforce, and businesses. And, the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) and the American Woman Society of CPAs (AWSCPA) both named BDO one of the best 2010 CPA firms for women.” Questions
1. What historic and economic factors do you think might have contributed to the growth and expansion of the accounting industry, and Seidman firm, from the early 20th century to today?
2. What advantages does BDO Seidman LLP enjoy in belonging to a large, international group?