Video transcript: EY’s UK Annual Results 2020 – Supporting future growth in times of great change

Duration: 03m 55s | 17 December 2020

An interview with Hywel Ball, UK Chair, Ernst & Young LLP

How did EY perform during this financial year?

HB: When I took on my role as UK Chair in July, I never expected to be spending the first part of my tenure sitting at home on video calls with colleagues and clients.

However I’m incredibly proud of how the business has adapted and risen to the challenges of COVID-19. We have continued to grow and invest across the region and progress our ambitions on social mobility and diversity.  We have grown in the UK by 5%, we have recruited over 3,000 staff and mobilised over 17,000 staff to work remotely from home.  And all the while, helping businesses and government deal with the most complex and uncertain environment.  

How has EY responded to the impacts of COVID-19?

HB: Our purpose,  Building a better working world, has never felt more real than it has done during the pandemic, when we’ve been helping pharmaceutical companies keep their supply chains running, government to manage their support for people and business, the NHS to build new hospitals in record time, and working together across the profession and with regulators to ensure we can perform audits remotely and maintain the vital flow of information to the capital markets.

How is EY supporting its people? 

HB: I was incredibly proud when we honoured our commitments to students and they joined as normal in September.  Over 1,000 graduates and apprenticeships joined us, 45% of those were based outside of London. And I’m also very pleased by the progress we’ve made on diversity and inclusion. Of the 1,000 I just mentioned, 43% of those are women and 41% from an ethnic minority.  In fact last year, we appointed 65 new equity partners, with one quarter being women and one in five from an ethnic minority.

And now over 60% of the LLP Board are women.  But we know there’s more to do.  So we’ve set ourselves even more ambitious diversity targets and made some really important new anti-racism commitments.

How have the changes to audit impacted EY in 2020? 

HB: Audit quality is a priority for EY, and we continue to invest, adding 700 people to our UK audit teams this year alone, and increasing our spending on new technology. These investments in audit quality have contributed to a number of significant audit wins in FY20. We now audit 23 of the FTSE 100 and 72 of the FTSE 350.  We have also played our part in audit reform by submitting plans for the operational separation of our UK audit practice, and continue to work closely with our regulators.

How confident are you about the future?

HB: As a society, we are facing some major disruptive forces, from climate change, rising inequality and new technologies.  These have been compounded by COVID-19, and now further complicated by BREXIT.  The investments we are making in talent, technology and audit, as well as our focus on diversity and inclusiveness means that we are well positioned to support our clients and communities in the UK adapt, transition and access the new opportunities which these disruptive forces present.