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How purpose matters at EY

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In Assurance, the ways that our people realize their purpose is as unique as they are.

In brief

  • In Assurance, we build trust and confidence in business and capital markets through the delivery of high-quality audits. In doing so, we serve the public interest.
  • Our purpose is critical to create long-term value for clients, people and society, and the overall EY purpose of building a better working world.

At the EY organization, we have a common purpose around the globe: to build a better working world.

As auditors, we accomplish that purpose by giving all stakeholders in the capital markets confidence in our clients’ financial reporting. We’re united in our commitment to audit quality in service to the public interest. But the ways that our people realize that purpose are as unique as they are.

We recently went out to our people around the globe and asked them to share in a video how they are living the EY purpose. More than 100 people took the time to explain what inspires them as an auditor, as an EY professional and as a community member. Their candor and enthusiasm remind me why, 20+ years in, I am still so proud to be a member of the audit profession.

Acting with confidence and courage


Independence, objectivity and professional skepticism are the foundations of the audit profession. Demonstrating those traits every day isn’t easy. Both confidence and courage are required.


In our world of day-to-day auditing, that means having a curious mindset, questioning assumptions, raising your hand and working until you’re satisfied you’ve gotten to the right answer.


Laura, a senior manager at Ernst & Young LLP in the Tampa office, told us that to bring issues to light more quickly, “I focus on building trust, with my clients and with my team. I’m passionate about solving problems and finding the best path forward for both clients and my team members.”


In my own work as an Audit partner at Ernst & Young LLP and EY Americas Assurance Talent Leader, I have to bring objective, independent insights and assessments to my clients’ audit committees, and create a culture in which our teams do the same.


Sometimes, that means being the bearer of unwanted news — about risks, inefficient processes and even potential fraud. Having confidence in our methodology and the quality of our execution empowers us to bring forward difficult issues and engage in conversation at the level of a client’s board.


The courage we bring to our work is one reason that we have such an inclusive culture: Welcoming new ideas and challenges is integral to who we are at the EY organization.


Speaking with candor


Executing quality audits is a team sport, and strong teams are built on transparency and trust. That’s why we invest in creating a culture where everyone feels valued, different perspectives are sought, and every team member — from staff 1 to senior partner — is able to speak with candor.


Georgia, a senior manager in Assurance Professional Practice at Ernst & Young LLP, told us that authenticity is key to that candor: “Our purpose is to impact others by bringing all of who we are to the table. Purpose is not what we do. It is who we are.”


As an EY Talent Leader, it is my responsibility to create an environment where everyone feels free to share their findings and speak frankly. This is critical to our apprenticeship model, which relies heavily on coaching and developing early-career professionals as they come up through the ranks. It is also critical to audit quality. We need every team member to be proactive in identifying audit risks and meeting audit milestones.


Now more than ever, when more people are working remotely, excelling in respectful and candid communication makes all the difference.


Leading the way


We build a better working world in part by innovating to deliver high-quality digital audits that add value for our clients.


As we go through this digital transformation, it is often our more junior colleagues who break new ground in our engagements by leveraging new techniques for data visualization and analysis. So, leading the way doesn’t mean just leading the way for our clients; it also means leading the way for our teammates by championing their innovations.


Allan, an assistant director at Ernst & Young LLP who works in the US-Central Region, sees his role with his team as “reframing the future for the firm and its clients.” At the same time that he develops his team by integrating “creativity, excellence, efficiency and intuitive left turns” into their work, he also balances their inventions against “valuation, compliance and quality.”


He adds, “If we can create an innovative culture and mindset, the effects will go beyond what we’re doing internally, to solving client problems."


I live my own purpose as an EY Talent Leader in part by making sure that we do more than just coach our early-career auditors for professional development. We also create an environment that gives them the opportunity to make exceptional contributions to their teams early in their careers.


As we are transforming the audit, we are transforming the audit profession.

Serving the community

Our work to build a better working world extends beyond what we do with our clients and our teams. It also means serving the communities in which we live and work.

We have three areas of focus in community service: supporting the next-generation workforce, working with impact entrepreneurs and accelerating environmental sustainability. When 312,000 EY people globally roll up their sleeves and apply their energy in these areas, we can move mountains.

Siddhant, a member of our FSO practice, told us that he is able to live his own sense of purpose every day by sharing his knowledge with others and learning from them in turn: “Whether equipping our people at EY with meaningful tools to help them sharpen their skill sets and build their careers — or teaching students at schools and universities to help them steer onto the right path — the EY organization provides me with a platform where I’m able to connect and build meaningful relationships with people of different cultures, experiences, backgrounds and values.”

Of course, the real truth about community service is that we tend to gain as much as we give. When I participate in EY Connect Day — an annual event where we encourage all of our people across the Americas to volunteer on a single day — I build relationships, learn about other people’s lives, develop new skills and practice empathy at the same time. All of it makes me a better professional, a better citizen and a better mother.

At the EY organization, we have the opportunity to create as much value outside of the office as we do within. The result is a profound sense of purpose: we help to create a better, fairer, more sustainable society.

Purpose calls us to action

While all of us in the EY Audit practice share a global methodology and a professional commitment to independence, objectivity and skepticism, each of us is motivated by different things. We each have individual sources of inspiration that help us reach for excellence every day.

By cultivating that personal sense of purpose, we contribute forcefully to the firm’s overall sense of purpose: We build a better working world.


A strong sense of purpose animates EY people in their work, their relationships with clients and team members, and their communities.

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