BDO Partner David Fechner Strengthens AIB’s Finance Curriculum
One of South Australia’s leading finance experts, David Fechner, has partnered with the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) to share his expertise as an Industry Guest Lecturer. Guest lecturing in international business finance, David will draw on his significant experience in the accounting field, including the insights gleaned through his role as Corporate Finance Partner with BDO Australia.
Reflecting on his career, David quips, “I feel like I’ve been working in accounting forever.” Starting out as a tax consultant with a big four firm, David recalls it as an interesting time to be building a career in the industry, as this was when tax legislation was doubling in size every year.
In 1994, David formed a firm with some colleagues, which predominantly provided tax and strategic advice. In 2003, David merged his practice into PKF Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers where, as a Partner, David developed the firm’s services in corporate advisory, litigation support and transaction support. In early 2013, PKF merged with BDO Australia, where David remains to the current day.
Highly regarded by his peers, David has presented to prestigious industry bodies including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, CPA and the Taxation Institute of Australia. He also provides insights towards BDO’s specialist economic and business survey publications, driving engagement with industry, government and policymakers.
At BDO, David leads the corporate finance team in South Australia and supports the business services team. He advises on valuations, mergers and acquisitions to support rapid growth businesses. “I’m spending a lot of time concentrating on the identification of value streams, what value that brings, and how we can present transactions around those,” he explains.
David’s expertise includes providing advice to clients who want to expand internationally. He starts by warning them of the complexities. “Clients will always assume that because they’ve had great success in Australia, those results will be easy to achieve in an international environment,” he explains. Opportunities abound, but there are a number of things to establish first. These range from product and service labelling to marketing, cultural and legal differences, and the ability to obtain finance.
BDO also uses their international network to support their clients’ expansion plans. “We have offices in over 160 countries around the world to assist with regulatory taxation and networking into those countries,” David explains. “We will also likely have other clients that have experience in those countries as well as contacts through industry and trade organisations, all of whom can provide informal advice on what is happening on the ground in those new markets and comment on whether the product sounds like something that would be successful.”
The factors to consider are innumerable, ranging from the influence of the internet to the rise of cryptocurrency. One example that concerns many clients is the issue of foreign exchange rates in a volatile world. Australia is enjoying a period of strong currency and global stability, especially in comparison to economic giants like the EU and US. While that has helped Australian businesses, it’s another factor to consider when expanding overseas.
Ultimately, David believes that there is no better way to understand the risks and complexities of a new international market than to go there yourself. “You need boots on the ground,” he says. “Jump on a plane, go into your market, understand what you’re doing.”
It’s clear that David’s insights on international business finance will bring great practical depth to our MBA finance curriculum, which is often regarded by students as the most challenging area of study. Welcome to the AIB team, David!