We’ve prepared a list of answers to the questions we’re asked most often. Find out more


Yes, but please bear in mind, you must submit your previous exam transcripts for us to determine whether you are eligible for our programmes. If you’ve had any relevant previous employment experience you may wish to consider going through the experienced hire route at BDO

We cannot accept your application for our graduate and apprenticeship programmes if you are already qualified. You may wish to consider going through the experienced hire route at BDO instead.

We ask candidates to apply to the programme and office location that interests them the most. You can apply to one programme per year, but you do get the option to enter a second choice office location in case your first choice is no longer available.

We traditionally have two main intakes for Graduates and School Leavers – September and January (please note that not all offices have both intakes). This ties in with the start of the professional qualification course start-dates. If you are available and there’s space in the team, you could start earlier and work with BDO until your college course starts in September/December. However, it’s worth remembering that you’ll still be allocated to a September/December intake-and we’re expecting to adapt if Covid-19 restrictions remain in place. You‘ll be able to see which intake you’ll be part of on the information about your chosen role.

You may only make one application per season, and there must a minimum of six months between your applications.

International qualifications can be verified using NARIC.

You will be responsible for the cost of translating them before you apply.

Online tests

Click here to practice questions for the interactive assessment. If your application is successful, we’ll send you the information you need for the next stage of the assessment process. If you have any special requirements, please get in touch.

Don’t panic! All you need to do is log back in; the system will let you carry on from where you were. If you encounter further technical hitches please screenshot the page you are on and email earlyincareer@bdo.co.uk and we will be in touch to help resolve the problem.

Virtual Assessment Centre

Work experience

We do not offer work experience as such, but we do have a Summer Internship programme for university students in their penultimate year. We also have a Summer School and Virtual Insight Days, which provide an opportunity for you to get to know our firm. Application for both our Internship and Summer School will open in early January.


School leaver/ Apprenticeships

We are unable to provide visa sponsorship if you require a work visa for our school leaver/apprenticeship programmes.


Unfortunately we’re not able to sponsor work visas for internships. However if you are in full time education in the UK, depending on your educational sponsor, you may be able to take up temporary work either as part of your studies, or during your holiday period in accordance with The UK Home Office rules.

You would be required to provide us with a schedule of your term times to prove you are working in accordance with your visa conditions.

To check your eligibility to work in the UK please visit the UK Government Home Office website for further information. In addition, you may be eligible to obtain a visa under the graduate route open to international students who are studying in the UK from 1 July 2021.

Graduate Roles

You are able to apply to our vacancies but you and the role you are applying for must meet the UK Government Home Office visa eligibility criteria for a skilled worker visa, and you should check this before you apply for a career with us: https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa

You can find out about your eligibility through the UK Government Home Office immigration website here. In particular, you may wish to consider if you are eligible to obtain a visa under the graduate route open to international students who are studying in the UK from 1 July 2021

Due to the time required to process a skilled worker visa and co-ordinate this within our own processes, you must have submitted your application a minimum of 7 months before the programme is due to start, if you require sponsorship. For example, if the role starts in September, we must have received your application by the end of February.

The UK Government Home Office rules determine which graduate roles are eligible for sponsorship. We are unable to support sponsorship for any other Early in Career roles due to the salary benchmark required.

The roles we can sponsor are:

  • Graduate programmes in Business Assurance or Advisory for all locations
  • Tax graduate programmes in London, Reading, Cambridge, Ipswich, Gatwick or Guildford

The UK Government Home Office changes its immigration rules from time to time and, in such instances, we will be required to process your application in line with the rules that apply at the time of your application.

We work with a team of specialist immigration providers who will process your application and keep you updated throughout.


An apprenticeship is a nationally recognised qualification that you can study while you work. It offers a combination of relevant work experience, achievement of a professional qualification and the development of skills and behaviours required to be a competent professional in your chosen field. At BDO this relates to becoming a professional Accountant or Tax professional.

If you successfully complete an apprenticeship at BDO you will gain two qualifications/certifications: your professional qualification and the apprenticeship.

BDO is committed to supporting the government’s apprenticeship initiative, and we offer many of our study programmes in the form of apprenticeship programmes. Please click here to find out more about apprenticeships at BDO.

Absolutely not! Our programmes are open to all ages and anyone at any stage in their career can apply for an apprenticeship. They are ideal for people in work who want to extend their professional qualifications and business skills, for people looking to retrain in a new career, and for people returning to work after a career break. We positively welcome applications from mature applicants. There are, however, a few rules about entry.

You must:

  • have a right to live and work in the UK;
  • hold GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade 4/Grade C level minimum;
  • not already have been educated to the same level in a similar discipline.

You can find out more on the following websites:



At BDO we offer apprenticeships at Level 4 via the AAT (equivalent to the first year of university) and Level 7 (equivalent to a Masters level qualification). Apprenticeships give you the flexibility to start working and studying towards your professional qualification at a time that is best for you, whether that is after you have completed you’re a levels or attended university.

Apprenticeships can be studied up to the equivalent of Master’s level, in conjunction with many professional tax and accountancy qualifications such as ACA and CTA. This makes them ideal workplace study routes for graduates.

However, apprenticeships aren’t simply about technical knowhow. They also cover broader business skills such as communicating with clients, problem-solving, team leadership… everything you need to become a fully rounded finance, audit or tax professional.

ACA Association of Chartered Accountants

ACA/CTA Joint Prog. Association of Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisor

AAT Association of Accounting Technicians

CTA Chartered Tax Advisor (commonly known as CIOT)

ATT/CTA Tax Pathway – Association of Taxation technician and Chartered Tax Advisor

  • Structured training and support to help set you up for success in both your qualification and your career
  • Training in knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to your role
  • Study leave, study support and exam fees for a relevant professional qualification
  • Support of a buddy, where appropriate an apprenticeship coach and an individual People Manager

There is no cost to you, the apprentice. Apprenticeships are funded by a levy that BDO pays into the national scheme, and by the government.

If you join us as a graduate, you can expect to spend around 36 months gaining your professional and apprenticeship qualifications. Non-graduates typically take 48 months to attain the same level.

What happens if I’m not eligible for an apprenticeship?

Whilst the majority of our trainees join on an apprenticeship route, not everyone will be eligible, this could be for a number reasons, most commonly because you already have an equivalent level qualification or have not been resident in the UK for the previous 3 years.  Should you not be eligible under an apprenticeship, do not worry, you can still join BDO and study towards your professional qualification with the same high level of robust tuition and support.

Not all qualifications being offered, eg ICAS and ACCA are apprenticeship programmes.

Combining work and study with BDO

Whether you apply for the graduate or school leaver programme, once you are accepted you are a permanent employee. Gaining your qualifications is just the start: you can look forward to a long, varied and exciting career.

Yes, this will be a step up from previous studies you have undertaken at school, college or university as you will need to balance work and study. However, there is plenty of support available to ensure you are successful.

A People Manager in your department will support your performance, development and progression. You will also be assigned a buddy who has followed a similar study path to you, and so can offer first-hand advice and tips. Additionally, our dedicated Professional Qualifications (PQ) team are always there to help you and answer any questions.

You’ll learn through a blend of face-to-face tuition and self-directed study via specialist online learning platforms. We use only industry-leading tuition providers, so all tuition, however it is delivered, is of the highest quality.

Each BDO office has been aligned to a local or regional tuition provider. In some instances, travel may be required to access face-to-face tuition, however given the current C-19 restrictions this is subject to change. For those joining the Audit or Tax practice, there may be some offsite departmental training. Details of any travel or accommodation for departmental induction training will be advised via the New Joiner portal.

You may be able to apply for exemptions. Look at the relevant institute’s Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) directory to find out more. Please also check the New Joiner portal as BDO may require you to take some examinations even if you have an exemption.

Life at BDO

In the weeks leading up to your start date you will be sent key information and reading to help get you ready for your role at BDO. Much of this will be delivered via the New Joiner online portal. You will be notified of access to the portal closer to your start date.

You will have a dedicated EIC Induction where you will hear from your Partner Sponsor, and a range of speakers such as current trainees, BDO Partners, Training Providers and Institutes – it’s a great opportunity to hear what life is really like at BDO and ask questions.  Full details on the induction will be provided on the Welcome Portal.

We aim to create a positive working environment and way of working where our people can thrive, are happy and each bring their best self to work. Advice on practising BDO’s 5 Ways of Wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give – can be found on the New Joiner portal, along with other health and wellbeing support.

BDO’s Unifying culture is fundamental to our success. We pride ourselves on our inclusive and empowering culture that encourages people to be themselves, work together and deliver exceptional client service to achieve their potential. You can read more here.

5+5: Everyone at BDO has 10 paid days a year to devote to sharing time and skills with the community. This is done in a structured way – known as 5+5 – so it’s collaborative and sociable. Five days can be used for personal volunteering, fundraising, team giving and BDO-sponsored activities – we call them action days. Five further days are called strategic days – where people can use their professional skillsets to really make a difference.

We have a number of networks representing and promoting the interests of different communities within the BDO workforce. These include: BLEND (our LGBTQ+ network), BDO Inspire (our women’s network), Islamic Network, Jewish Network and BAME Network.


Applying online

How to present yourself at your best so we can learn more about you.

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Virtual Assessment Centre

Learn about yourself and what it’s like to work at BDO.

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Graduate programme

From tax to forensic services, we have a development programme that suits you.

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Talk to Us

The simplest way to get to know BDO is to talk to our people.

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