How can we make a lasting impact in a rapidly changing world?

By

Mark Weinberger

Former EY Global Chairman and CEO

From 2013 to 2019, Mark led 270,000 EY people working with businesses, entrepreneurs and governments to solve their most pressing challenges and help them take advantage of emerging opportunities.

14 minute read 25 Sep 2017

Show resources

Global review 2017: what we've achieved this year.

In a rapidly changing world, at EY we’re making an enduring impact by staying focused on our purpose of Building a better working world – for our clients, our people and our communities.

Events around the world over the past year have accentuated the change and uncertainty that we all feel. The developing impact of Brexit in the UK and Europe, the elections of new global leaders around the world, and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Northeast Asia are just a few examples. Add to that an increase in nationalist policies and attitudes in many countries, and the result is a level of uncertainty that acts as a tax on business and slows decision making. It also takes a personal toll on our clients and ourselves: these are undoubtedly challenging times. Yet this uncertainty also places a premium on our value as trusted advisors. Many of our clients are looking to us for insights and advice as they navigate disruption and search for growth. Question by question, answer by answer, we help our clients tackle their toughest challenges.

At the same time, rapidly advancing technology allows companies and individuals to do business in new ways and allows innovation to flourish as never before. Technology is redefining the market for everyone. As industry boundaries blur, competition is approaching from all quarters: from start-ups with new ideas and disruptive business models to established companies in unrelated sectors. This rapid pace of change is demonstrated by the fact that more than half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since 2000 and estimates are that four in 10 companies could be displaced by digital rivals by 2020.

The pressure to innovate – and the reward for doing so – is as strong for EY as it is for our clients. So we are adapting our business, both in terms of where we invest and whom we recruit. In FY17 we invested US$500m in more than 12m hours of training. Our 250,000 people around the world are embracing change, and helping our clients to adapt as well. By doing so we can seize the opportunities these changes provide – to create not only better products and services, but also more inclusive economic growth.

This is particularly important at a time when trust in government, large institutions and business is low. It’s also the reason we’re working with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism on an initiative called The Embankment Project. The aim is to advance a new framework that helps businesses to focus on the true sources of long-term value for all of their stakeholders. The goal is to be able to create a tool to assess how they provide value to a range of stakeholders beyond shareholders, including employees, supply chains, communities and society at large - promoting more inclusive and sustainable growth. Furthermore, we invested more than US$90m and more than 700,000 volunteer hours to support a variety of initiatives ranging from Jacaranda Health to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

These are just some of the ways in which we’re helping to address the issues that affect all of our futures. We feel a responsibility to lead by example, and to demonstrate that business has an important role to play in addressing the global economy’s biggest difficulties. We’ll continue to take our knowledge and experience and apply it every day to Building a better working world.

Woman's face with reflection of digital screen
(Chapter breaker)
1

Chapter 1

Disruption and the digital age

Digital is one of the defining trends of our time. We’re helping our clients to make sure their strategies are fit for a digital world.

Our clients are being affected by disruptive new technologies that are changing their markets, underlying business models and delivery mechanisms.

Bots are providing information to customers and helping them make decisions about what to buy. The digitization of physical goods is better matching supply and demand. Blockchain solutions are establishing built-in levels of trust among market participants. Start-ups continue to disrupt existing industries and create altogether new markets. All of these disruptive technologies are creating frictionless paths between buyers and sellers.

At EY, we believe that human insight is needed to seize the upside of disruption and navigate the extraordinary choices that digital presents. Human ingenuity, judgment and creativity drive innovation and the development of new technologies that free us to focus on what really matters. It will be the right combination of minds and experience that allows us to realize the potential of technology – and to plan for a digital future from every angle.

We believe that for an organization to harness the potential of digital, it should be considered as part of the whole, and not as some discrete function. It’s a way of thinking and behaving that needs to be embedded across the entire value chain, from strategy and design through to execution and the management of risks.

We see business issues not digital ones. We protect and grow our clients’ businesses by providing business services fit for a digital world. We can do this because we are able to draw on people from across our organization, our alliances and networks to create the right digital ecosystem. With the right combination of experience, independent thought, creativity and judgment, we can help our clients choose how to drive a digital agenda today and plan for their digital future with confidence.

Digital affects every part of a business. Our holistic approach to digital inspires us to ask better questions. We help our clients develop and execute an agile business strategy that enables them to adapt to a constantly changing digital environment, thereby seizing opportunities and managing risks at every stage of the value chain. We look at the whole enterprise and explore key issues like enterprise strategy, innovation, experience and trust. No matter where our clients are on their digital journey, this approach can help them confidently navigate digital disruption.

Driving a digital dialogue

How leaders can power radical growth in a digital world was one of the themes of Innovation realized 2017, our experience-based, immersive event held in the Bay Area, California. More than 250 corporate executives, chief innovation officers, chief digital officers, chief strategy officers, disruptors and thinkers representing more than 20 countries and 20 sectors came together to discuss, among other topics, how digital technology is now embedded into how everyone thinks about their business.

At this year’s EY World Entrepreneur of the Year, held in Monaco, we convened some of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, game changers and government leaders from more than 60 countries. Embracing the digital transformation was among the many topics discussed, alongside big data, the workerless workforce and inclusive growth.

Our alliances and acquisitions

No single organization can maintain a lead across all of the new digital platforms that are coming up. It’s therefore now more important than ever to bring in specialized skills and resources, and build an ecosystem of like-minded companies so that we can react quickly to the changes that are taking place. Over the past four years, we have made more than 100 acquisitions, many of them to strengthen our client capabilities.

Through our alliances with GE Digital, IBM, Microsoft and SAP, we blend emerging technology in areas such as Blockchain, machine learning, Internet of Things and cybersecurity with business innovation to help clients solve their most complex issues and maintain competitive advantage as they transform to a digital organization.

We also work with a wide range of organizations including Los Alamos National Laboratory to help combat cyber threats, and the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to help improve patient safety, operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Together, we can create a ripple effect of business value beyond what either organization can bring alone.

Building the next generation of digital leaders

In order to make sure that all of our people understand the digital landscape, we are building the capabilities of all of our people. This year, we launched our flagship immersive online learning experience, Let’s Talk Digital. This is part of a multi-stage learning and experience program that will build our next wave of digital leaders.

Woman examining a tube device
(Chapter breaker)
2

Chapter 2

Industry

Having a sector focus means EY can help clients to better anticipate disruption and navigate convergence, while providing both cross-sector and industry-specific services.

The disruption caused by digitalization and hyper-connectivity has created a business landscape where it’s possible for two previously distinct or separate industries to converge – changing their traditional services and methods of operation because of competition from new, digitally-enabled business models.

Digital is impacting every industry. As businesses become technology-driven or -enabled, this creates opportunities to evolve or re-invent business models.

We see a new wave of industries being redefined as supplier and customer relationships continue to be challenged. Healthcare, energy and financial services are prime examples of industries traditionally ruled by a few corporations, which have seen new entrants from other sectors and from start-ups.

Conversing on convergence

At EY, we’re using our sector knowledge and experience to help our clients understand the implications of convergence – the need for ecosystem collaboration; the level of cultural change required to adapt; the need to radically rethink agendas such as talent and skills and the important role that leaders must play.

And we’re helping our clients that have embraced industry disruption as an opportunity. We’re guiding them and shaping the debate on issues such as healthcare, mobility, urbanization and payments - because there is a need for ‘non-traditional’ alliances across ‘traditional’ business boundaries to do it.

At this year’s EY Convergence Lab in San Francisco, attendees from over 100 companies across 16 sectors, discussed how the technological revolution represents a fundamental shift that alters the way businesses operate, opening up unique opportunities beyond sector boundaries.

At our Technology, Media & Entertainment, and Telecommunications Expos in New York and San Francisco, attendees explored topics including digital selling; robotic process automation; the evolution of the customer experience; NextGen business transformation; cognitive and intelligent systems; cyber technologies; and creating the workplace of the future.

And the EY Engaged Aging Summit saw executives from the health, life sciences, technology, mobility and insurance industries join government leaders and academics in Washington, D.C. to discuss an important question: How can we frame healthy aging as a societal asset worthy of investment?

Industry-specific experience

At the same time, EY Global Industry Centers around the world serve as virtual hubs for sharing industry-focused knowledge and experience.

Our commitment of time and resources means that we can anticipate market trends, identify implications and develop clear points of view on relevant industry issues. The global EY network of professionals provides highly responsive advice that meets our clients’ assurance, tax, transaction and advisory needs.

Mother and daughter using digital ticket machine
(Chapter breaker)
3

Chapter 3

Emerging markets

Our leading position in many of the world's emerging economies is underpinned by our ongoing investment in them.

This year a record percentage of our newly-promoted partners – 36% – came from the emerging markets, a reflection of the important role these markets are playing in our organization's growth.

We support companies in developed and emerging markets to improve cross-border opportunities. Our purpose of building a better working world also includes working with companies, governments and non-governmental organizations to support emerging economies in their growth trajectories, improve the business environment and balance risk.

A framework of emerging markets experience

Our Emerging Markets Center quickly and effectively connects clients to the world's fastest-growing economies. We share the breadth of our knowledge through a wide range of initiatives, tools and applications, offering businesses in both mature and emerging markets an in-depth and cross-border approach.

The EY Global Emerging Markets Committee comprises senior managing partners from emerging economies across the globe. Its purpose is to use our global approach to expand experience and talent in the emerging markets, and to empower our local teams who work closely with clients across the developing world, or those with an interest in expanding into these markets.

As demographics shift, particularly in emerging markets, and global megatrends are driving business complexity and competitiveness across all sectors, we have tailored our sector services, with the appointment of Emerging Markets Global Industry Leaders. These leaders have deep industry knowledge and extensive experience in emerging markets, and are well positioned to help our clients identify opportunities and assist them with their expansion plans.

EY works with higher education organizations to promote academic studies in and about emerging markets. The Institute for Emerging Market Studies is a global network of academic institutions, supported by EY, that are based in emerging markets, dedicated to the study of the impact of macroeconomics in their respective markets and the global marketplace.

As a highly globally integrated professional services organization, we're also well positioned to help our clients navigate the changing conditions brought about by globalization and disruption. The EY Global Business Networks of multilingual EY professionals help companies with their international growth ambitions. They use their deep knowledge of the differing cultural and business perspectives involved to help clients exactly when and where they need it.

Promoted partners

36%

This year a record 36% of our newly-promoted partners came from emerging markets

Two rowers getting out their team boat
(Chapter breaker)
4

Chapter 4

Talent

While today's working world is changing fast, one thing at EY remains the same. Whenever you join, however long you stay, the exceptional EY experience lasts a lifetime.

The changing nature of the world around us and our work at EY means we’re future-proofing our business. We’re doing this by working hard to engage our workforce and by evolving our recruitment strategy to both hire the best talent today, and anticipate the skills that will be needed to solve complex problems in the future. 

Today's working world is in a constant state of change due to globalization, changing demographics, advances in technology and regulatory shifts. These changes impact our workforce and business every day, and this will only continue.

Businesses have a choice: embrace disruption, or get left behind.

At EY, we’re reimagining the future of work to better respond to the needs of our people, clients and business. Nancy Altobello, Global Vice Chair, Talent at EY, shares more in her blog about how we’re preparing for the global talent needs of tomorrow, today.

EY people

65,000

People hired across EY in FY17

Engaging our people

Our research over many years shows that the most engaged teams are also the highest performing teams across a range of measures. Building a better working world starts with our people and the exceptional experiences they have at EY that empower them to grow their careers and become purpose-driven leaders. 

Purpose-driven leaders value and leverage differences to ask better questions that lead to better answers that help solve our clients’ toughest challenges.

Our people are the lifeblood of our organization. They have the power to build, grow, innovate, create and add value to our clients, people and communities. And we have a responsibility to equip them with the right tools and skills, and anticipate the skills they will need in the future.

We’ve done this by introducing team-based simulation trainings to all our sectors to make the learning process more interactive, engaging and meaningful. We are introducing a new program that will enable our people to invest in their own careers by earning digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market, such as data visualization, artificial intelligence, data transformation and information strategy. EY Badges will equip our people with the necessary skills to solve complex problems, and to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing world.

In FY18, we are also launching LEAD, a new global approach to career, development and performance for our people, with future-focused career conversations, regular and useful feedback and ongoing insight into their performance. LEAD provides greater transparency and saves time, so our people can spend more time having meaningful conversations that fuel their futures. It will enable our people to gain the skills, coaching and confidence they need to be agile, dynamic leaders who ask better questions, grow our business and our clients’ businesses, and make the world work better.

EY hires

25%

Nearly 25% of all experienced hires come to EY via referral

Evolving our workforce

We’re challenging our traditional workforce model, moving towards one that provides us with the flexibility we need to meet our clients' needs. So we’re tapping into the “gig” economy - people who are seeking exciting projects and who possess specialty skills, but want to engage with EY on a freelance basis.

Currently, 6% of the EY global workforce are contract workers and we expect that number to grow significantly over the next several years. That’s why we created GigNow, a new platform to source, match and engage contract workers. With an advanced technology platform and experienced recruiters, we’re able to tap into the best talent around the world when and where we need it, build a more agile and flexible workforce model and scale our global talent base faster and more effectively than ever.

GigNow is currently live in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand with discussions underway to launch it soon in five more countries.

EY also recognizes the strong connection between women, sport and business. We’re helping to unlock the potential of sport in preparing women for leadership roles through targeted elite athlete hiring programs. In this broadcast, Nancy Altobello, EY Global Vice Chair, Talent, and Grace Luczak, Olympian, USA Rowing, share how the skills and experience of athletes are beneficial to business.

Leadership beyond EY

Not everyone will stay at EY for their entire career, but even after they leave, our people can apply the leadership skills and experiences they gained at EY to make the world work better.

Recognition for our people and our efforts

Through our peer-based global award program, Better begins with you, we recognize and celebrate EY people who have found inspiring and impactful ways to bring EY’s purpose – building a better working world – to life.

See how the global winners and finalists are building a better working world.

Our efforts to futureproof our businesses, while engaging and developing our people, have seen us recognized by a number of organizations. In 2016, the Great Place To Work Institute once again named EY one of the 25 Best Multinational workplaces for the second straight year – and the only one of the Big Four to make the list.

We were once again ranked the most attractive professional services employer among business students globally by Universum, and came in fourth overall. For the first time, Universum also named us among the top 50 most attractive employers for engineering and IT students. And finally, People magazine and the Great Place to Work® Institute ranked Ernst & Young LLP (US) on the first annual “50 Companies That Care” list.

Growing our organization

In FY17 we grew to nearly 250,000 people across 151 countries. Nearly two million people applied for roles with EY member firms. Just over three percent of applicants were hired - that’s 65,000 people, which equates to one person every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Nearly 25% of all experienced hires come to EY via referrals. More than 10% of our hires are alumni, or boomerangs who are people coming back to us.

Diverse team working together around a laptop
(Chapter breaker)
5

Chapter 5

Diversity and inclusiveness

Diversity and inclusiveness is an imperative for companies that want to thrive in the challenging and disruptive times we live in.

In our experience, the best way to spark innovation, and manage through disruption, is to harness the power of different ideas from diverse groups of people who are supported by an inclusive culture.

Diversity is about differences. Each of us is different, and at EY we value and respect that.  We think about differences broadly; they include, but aren’t limited to background, education, gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, working and thinking styles, religious background, sexual orientation, ability and technical skills.

Inclusiveness is about leveraging differences to achieve better business results. It’s about creating an environment where all of our people feel, and are, valued. An environment where they are able to bring their differences to work each day, and where they contribute their personal best in every encounter.

Although creating a culture of diversity and inclusion across our entire organization is an ongoing journey, our efforts so far have seen Ernst & Young LLP ("EY US") ranked #1 on US-based DiversityInc magazine’s 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Selected from more than 1,800 organizations, this award recognizes our commitment to maximizing the strength of our diverse workforce and enhancing our inclusive culture. This is EY US’s ninth consecutive year in the top 10 and our fourteenth time on the list.

EY is also #1 on a number of DiversityInc’s specialty lists including ‘Top Companies for Global Diversity’, ‘Top Companies for Executive Women’, ‘Top Companies for Diversity Councils’ and ‘Top Companies for People with Disabilities’.

The foundations of our success

At EY, our global Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) framework - Winning through diversity and inclusiveness: a roadmap for success – is fundamental to how we harness the power of our diverse workforce to deliver exceptional client service and to create an environment in which all of our people feel as though they belong. 

Our Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Steering Committee (GDISC) is a critical component to advancing the D&I agenda throughout EY. Comprising senior leaders from across our service lines, areas and regions, each member is committed to using their experience, knowledge of the organization and their influence to enhance EY’s inclusive culture. GDISC members are instrumental in raising awareness of important D&I topics such as equitable sponsorship, insider/outsider dynamics and bias, to name a few. Their collective efforts and remodeling contributes to EY being recognized as a D&I leader in many of the markets in which we operate.

Raising awareness of D&I issues

Externally, an essential element of our diversity and inclusiveness agenda concerns the advancement of women. Our Women. Fast Forward platform is EY’s response to the findings of the World Economic Forum Global Gender Parity Report 2016, that it will take 170 years to achieve global gender parity in the workplace.

As part of an ongoing collaboration, we sponsored International Women’s Day in 2017 to help accelerate gender parity and engage others to take groundbreaking action to drive the greatest change for women.

As part of both our Women. Fast Forward platform and our sponsorship of International Women’s Day, we encourage our audiences, both within and outside of EY, to #BeBoldForChange in order to accelerate this process. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of women’s roles in different sociocultural environments, highlight gender inequalities and propose creative ways to address gender equity and equality.

EY also continues to be at the heart of the W20, a new initiative of the G20, the international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. The W20 promotes women’s economic empowerment as an integral part of the G20 process. Using digital tools, expert meetings and roundtables as well as the W20 Summit, the W20 joins the global experiences of women’s civil society organizations and women’s entrepreneur associations to make recommendations within the G20 negotiations. The W20’s current focus is on increasing the labor market participation rate and the value of work traditionally done by women; promoting female entrepreneurship and access to finance for women; closing the digital gender divide; and ensuring gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are at the core of G20.

The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women (WW) program helps women entrepreneurs in nearly 50 countries redefine what’s possible. A 10-year old evergreen executive education program, WW identifies a select group of women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it. We target “the missing middle” — those savvy women founders who have built profitable small companies but lack essential tools needed to expand sustainably. We develop those skills and position these women to become market forces, creating a vibrant global community of successful women entrepreneurs and inspiring peer role models leading high-growth companies.

EY is proud to be a founding member of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. With more than 200 CEOs from the world’s leading organizations on board, this initiative is driven by a realization that addressing diversity and inclusion is not a competitive issue, but a societal issue that business leaders can play a critical role in addressing.

Our study of gender inequality in corporate leadership with the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that organizations that provide fathers with more access to paternity leave have significantly more women on corporate boards. As a matter of fact, the top gender balanced countries provide 11 times more paternity leave days than the bottom 10 countries. Twenty-two thousand organizations in 91 countries were evaluated for this research.

Creating an inclusive environment for EY’s LGBT community

Unity, our professional network for the EY LGBT community and allies, has more than 1,600 members globally and has received recognition in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States for its success in creating an LGBT-inclusive work environment. ‘Making it real - globally’ serves as an accessible guide for turning LGBT policy into practice. Read the report and watch the video here.

Woman picking tea leaves in a field.
(Chapter breaker)
6

Chapter 6

Corporate responsibility

Fulfilling our purpose demands that we ask ourselves an important question: how we can use our knowledge and experience to make the largest positive impact on our communities?

A better working world is one where everyone can contribute to, and share in, the benefits of economic growth. A commitment to driving inclusive growth is at the heart of fulfilling our purpose and our approach to corporate responsibility (CR).

We believe business can and must do more to foster the kind of economic growth that benefits everyone, not just a few. More than doing business responsibly, that means applying the knowledge, skills and experience we use in our business every day to help address society’s toughest challenges.

This belief is reflected in our social impact programs, which extend the value of our knowledge and services to people and places we might not otherwise reach – to impact entrepreneurs at the forefront of accelerating quality job creation and affordable access to basic goods and services.

The small and growing businesses we support through the EY Vantage Program generated combined annual revenues of almost US$240m in FY17 and have created more than 4,100 quality jobs.

Enterprise Growth Services also continued to grow in FY17 and has now provided some 60,000 hours of support in more than 25 different countries, helping intrepid entrepreneurs on the path to bringing services such as reliable energy, clean water and improved sanitation to millions.

In FY17, our people contributed 700,000 hours to more than 100 initiatives and value-inkind projects.

Supporting the next generation

With 71 million unemployed young people worldwide, youth employment remains a global challenge. As an organization that employs tens of thousands of young people every year, we think we can support the next generation in getting work-ready.

We focus on improving access to quality education and work experience for underserved youth. And our continued collaboration with organizations such as JA Worldwide, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Enactus, helps young people develop the mindset, skills and confidence they need to succeed in the modern working world.

Through initiatives such as these, we not only extend the value of our skills and experience to people and places we might not otherwise reach, but also provide inspirational development experiences for our people that deepen our connection to our purpose.

Enterprise Growth Services

60,000

Enterprise Growth Services grew in FY17, providing over 60,000 hours of support in more than 25 countries

Developing a sustainable business

We are also committed to building a better working world that embraces sustainable growth. We make our biggest positive contribution to the environment as a leading provider of climate change and sustainability services. Additionally, we continue to challenge ourselves to work in a more environmentally sustainable manner, recognizing our obligation to our people and our communities to manage environmental impact.

Looking to the future

In FY17 we brought together a Global Corporate Responsibility Governance Council. Comprising members of the EY’s Global Executive and subject-matter experts and chaired by Transaction Advisory Services Global Vice Chair Steve Krouskos, the Governance Council has been working to coordinate our CR efforts around the world and lay the groundwork for our flagship global CR program, which we will launch in FY18.

And in June we announced an exciting new project, along with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, which will help to measure long-term value creation and help to restore trust in business. Over the next 18 months The Embankment Project will develop open-source methodology for development of long-term value reporting and a roadmap of recommendations for international standard setters, regulators and other stakeholders to consider and to adopt for the capital markets.

Man giving a speech to a crowd
(Chapter breaker)
7

Chapter 7

Our public policy mandate

Our public interest role means providing trust and confidence in the capital markets by promoting transparency, supporting financial stability and fostering inclusive economic growth.

Dynamic geopolitical developments, skepticism about globalization, a renewed focus on national and local policy making, and rapidly changing technology and workforce models all combine to create an uncertain and volatile policy environment.

Regular dialogue with our many different stakeholders on topics that matter to them as well as to EY is a priority.  What we hear helps deepen our understanding of the policy environment and the evolving social contract between business and society.

We use this knowledge both to inform our own views and fuel discussions around regulatory changes and broader policy issues with those who directly and indirectly affect our organization, including legislators, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders. We believe that the best answers are found when the most people are contributing to the discussion, listening to one another, and together developing the way forward.

Our values and Global Code of Conduct anchor our actions and policy perspectives

Every day, each one of us makes choices and decisions that directly affect our colleagues, our clients, our communities and our other stakeholders.

EY’s values and Global Code of Conduct, which all EY people affirm annually, give us confidence that we are using common principles to help us make the right decisions throughout our global organization.

Providing high-quality audits through our Sustainable Audit Quality program

Our role as auditors is to serve the public interest and provide confidence to the capital markets by delivering high quality audits.

Through our Sustainable Audit Quality (SAQ) program, which we have implemented across the global EY network, we are making changes to every part of a complex system — technology, tools and training, accountability metrics, evaluating and rewarding our people.  SAQ is based on what we have learned from around the world about what works to improve audit quality.  

SAQ helps us drive consistency in execution, which is critically important when dealing with the varied challenges we face around the world. 

Managing risk and the quality of all our services

An essential way in which we manage EY’s risk — as well as serve the public interest — is to work continuously to improve the quality of all of our services. This includes and goes well beyond the SAQ program described above.

Across our service lines, we invest in recruiting, training and retaining the best people in their respective disciplines. We also invest in strong Quality functions and Professional Practice functions in our geographies to advise, support and enable our people, and to implement our quality initiatives to a consistently high standard around the world. These functions advise on engagements in real-time, and operate our global quality review program, which evaluates engagements for quality as well as compliance with EY policies and professional standards. Findings from the quality review program are regularly reported to the Risk Management function and the Global Executive.

Our Risk Management function teams with all parts of our organization — globally and in our Regions — to help us identify and manage EY’s risk and enable and support responsible growth. We provide coordinated advice and assistance to our engagement teams on independence, policy, business continuity, conflicts of interest, compliance, security, ethics and other key risk matters. Sukanta Dutt, the EY Global Risk Management Leader, also chairs the EY Global Audit Committee.

Risk Management also provides global processes and tools that support our people in evaluating, accepting and serving the right clients with approved services, in accordance with our commitment to objectivity and independence. Our Global Code of Conduct, which governs the ethical and professional behavior of all of our people, is issued by the Risk Management function, which also monitors compliance with the Code.

Engaging with the investor community

We continue to increase our investor engagement around the world to make sure we understand investor perspectives on auditing, financial reporting, corporate governance and other capital market issues.

Our Center for Board Matters develops research and insights that support our engagement with boards, audit committee members and investors.

Participants at innovation conference having a meeting in scaffolding.
(Chapter breaker)
8

Chapter 8

Our business

Technology continues to advance at an accelerating rate, and at EY we’re investing in our digital offerings and innovation to better serve our clients.

We’ve chosen to weave digital into everything we do, into every service line, rather than treat ‘digital’ as a separate division.

Dissecting digital

That reflects our view that organizations don’t have digital problems, they have business problems with digital elements. And they don’t need a digital strategy, they need a business strategy fit for the digital world.

We draw on people from across our organization and our alliances to create the right digital ecosystem. With the right combination of experience, independent thought, creativity and judgement, we can help our clients choose how to drive a digital agenda today and plan for their digital future with confidence.

And we’ve developed a value proposition that defines our digital offering – around the confidence we provide clients and their stakeholders through our understanding of new technologies and innovation, and our professional judgment and insight. In effect, how our digital offering helps to build a better working world.

Evolving our service line offerings

The digital revolution is also having an effect on all of our service lines.

In Assurance, the massive volumes of data now available inside and outside companies, and the power of new data analytics technologies, are fundamentally changing the audit.

In Tax, disruptive technologies, unprecedented transparency and robotics are rapidly changing the future in terms of tax management.

Our Advisory business has adapted its entire strategy to help clients find success in their end-to-end digital transformation.

And our Transaction Advisory Services business is helping to shape our clients’ investment strategies by using transaction analytics to drive fact-based, more informed decision-making.

    Adapting to new challenges

    Disruption is changing the way the world works. It’s happening quickly. And it’s creating opportunity, if you can keep up and even get ahead of it.

    That’s why we’ve embarked on a worldwide effort to disrupt ourselves, innovate and adapt for the future. We now have a globally connected network of teams, innovation centers and labs – all working together to solve problems in new ways, and deliver a unique client experience.

    We’re recruiting people from different backgrounds. We increasingly work to recruit people with technology backgrounds, pairing them with EY people who have more traditional skillsets in areas like tax and assurance.

    And we’re building out the EY internal innovation team, which is looking to the future and working to disrupt us from within.

    Throughout our organization, we’re hiring the best of the best to implement new technologies and ideas. For example, we brought in Nigel Duffy – a former CTO at a major AI company – to build our Artificial Intelligence capacity.

    We’re disrupting ourselves to make EY a more agile organization, which can adapt to change quickly and serve our clients in new and innovative ways.

    Summary

    In a rapidly changing world, at EY we’re making an enduring impact by staying focused on our purpose of Building a better working world – for our clients, our people and our communities.

    About this article

    By

    Mark Weinberger

    Former EY Global Chairman and CEO

    From 2013 to 2019, Mark led 270,000 EY people working with businesses, entrepreneurs and governments to solve their most pressing challenges and help them take advantage of emerging opportunities.