The world changed dramatically this year, but NextWave has put EY in a strong position to adapt and innovate.
A year ago, we launched NextWave: the EY strategy and ambition to create long-term value for clients, people and society. Back then, nobody knew how dramatically the world would change in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharpest global recession in a century creating unprecedented challenges for individuals and society.
Yet in these challenging times, NextWave has put us in a strong position to adapt and innovate, and our purpose of Building a better working world has never been more relevant.
Creating long-term value for stakeholders
For EY clients, we create long-term value by bringing the whole of the EY organization to help them navigate extreme volatility. This year we developed the COVID-19 Enterprise Resilience Framework, a tool to help clients evaluate their risks and levels of preparedness to deal with the pandemic. The Framework acts as a map not only to what businesses need to do now to address immediate pressures, but also what they need to do next – and beyond – to help reframe their future.
Through the crisis EY teams worked across borders and service lines to re-route EY clients’ supply chains, manage liquidity, guide them through government stimulus packages, and advise on the impact on stakeholders. Now we’re holding deeper conversations with clients, around helping them innovate and build resilience for the financial, societal and regulatory challenges, and opportunities, beyond the pandemic.
Looking ahead, EY will continue to make large investments in digitization and technology – crucial in a COVID-19 environment – in order to better serve clients.
For EY people, creating long-term value means first and foremost ensuring their safety. In early 2020 we swiftly invoked travel restrictions and have since put in place comprehensive guidance around meetings, events and a safe return to EY offices.
At the same time, we remain committed to enabling all EY people to build the exceptional experiences they need to succeed. A particular highlight this year was the launch of the EY Tech MBA by Hult International Business School – the first ever fully accredited virtual corporate MBA, which is open to all EY people.
We also remain committed to providing stable, high-quality jobs. Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, this year EY welcomed more than 76,000 new colleagues and honored our long-standing commitment to 15,000 interns around the world.
For society, EY creates long-term value through the work we do every day – fostering confidence and trust in the world’s capital markets, and having a positive impact on communities and the planet.
EY people also create long-term value by using EY experience, services and influence to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. This year that included organizing the world’s largest-ever hackathon to solve a range of COVID-19-related challenges, and helping the World Health Organization to coordinate supplies of personal protective equipment – for which EY’s efforts were recognized during Global Citizen’s “Together at Home” concert in April.
I’m also proud that EY is the first global multidisciplinary professional services organization to commit to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2020, and that we have reaffirmed our commitment to the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).
This year, EY continued to support impact entrepreneurs and young people – in many cases virtually – through the EY Ripples corporate responsibility program. As a result, we positively impacted the lives of more than 15m people.
Looking to the future
Like many other organizations around the world, life at EY this year changed dramatically. But we were well prepared. The ability to look ahead, adapt and transform at speed, are critical characteristics for all organizations, including EY. And through NextWave, we are also responding to the now, planning for what’s next for EY and reframing our own future.
We are making bold investments in our organization: we have created new Technology Consultancy capabilities; we are expanding EY-Parthenon, which already comprises the world’s fifth-largest strategy consultancy; and industrializing how we capture and scale the innovations taking place every day across EY locations.
As a result of our focus on our stakeholders, EY had another year of strong growth with total headcount up to nearly 300,000 people and global revenue up 4.1% to US$37.2b.
Building a better working world
The world will not emerge from the COVID-19 crisis the same as it entered. Yet as we start to look beyond it, I am optimistic. Over the past year EY people have demonstrated our values, our purpose and our culture of compassion and teaming more than ever before. I am humbled by the countless positive actions, big and small, that EY people have taken to help each other, clients and society tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
The crisis has also helped more and more organizations understand the broader role that they play in society, and to look to what they can do to address pressing issues such as environmental sustainability and economic inequality.
As we look beyond the pandemic, I believe that we can do better than returning to normal – I am confident that working together, we can build a better working world.