5 minute read 3 Jul 2018
finalist group picture

How EY people built a better working world in 2016


EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

5 minute read 3 Jul 2018

Meet the finalists from Better begins with you 2016.

Alan Man

Alan Man, a senior consultant with International Tax Services, applied for a job at EY Australia in Perth — thousands of miles from his home in New Zealand — to follow his heart and be with his partner. In the short time since Alan has been at EY, he has made a significant impact promoting inclusiveness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community by establishing Unity — EY’s internal network for LGBTI people and their straight allies — in the Australia firm’s Perth office.

How can one voice change the chorus?

One of Australia’s more industrial cities, Perth is slightly behind Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to progress on LGBTI issues.

With almost half of all LGBTI people at work hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of discrimination, Alan quickly identified a gap and worked with other EY Oceania firms to trigger the launch of the first LGBTI awareness session, the addition of LGBTI inclusiveness content to new starter induction, the introduction of LGBTI networking sessions and acknowledgment of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Through Alan’s passion and hard work, Perth Unity has grown from one person to an internal network with a growing membership, a vibrant events program and a dedicated committee that he leads.

Significantly, Alan has also single-handedly secured for EY the hosting rights to the General Electric (GE) Asia-Pacific LGBTI conference in Perth this year. With the theme “Inclusiveness to Grow,” the conference participants included many of GE’s Asia-Pacific leadership, key GE business partners and other clients and targets. An EY delegation attended, and Alan also spoke to the 120+ participants to promote the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

Shagun Setia

After experiencing the realities of rural life in India on a road trip, Shagun Setia from the EY Global Delivery Services Conflicts team used his personal savings to help empower women in the remote Deoria district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Can one person’s time away from work spark an entrepreneurial spirit in others?

Recognizing their culinary experience and inspired by the vision of “Building India through enterprise,” Shagun provided the women with professional training in the commercial production and sale of pickles and jams. He did this after spending two months in their village analyzing supply chains and product demand and building a business plan.

The proceeds from the initial phase of the project were used to pay the women’s salaries. In the next phase, they plan to build a factory, which will be no easy feat given that the area often lacks electricity for up to 14 hours a day. Shagun is helping the women procure licenses, buy machinery and develop their marketing skills so they can grow the business. By teaching them how to run a business, he is helping them to help themselves, which is dramatically improving the lives of these women and their families.

ePlaybook team

When Steven Sellin and Andy Ziegele in Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) saw an opportunity to use technology to transform the way clients and EY ran the deal process, they stepped up to develop ePlaybook.

What happens when you spot simple solutions in complexity?

The EY online transaction management system supports the end-to-end transaction process, from deal pipeline management through deal integration. Where spreadsheets and slides were used before, ePlaybook now provides a fast and user-friendly tool, digitally enabling TAS’s methodology and delivering advanced real-time analytics across the transaction life cycle.

After joining EY and feeling that the technology could be more advanced, the pair developed and paid for the first prototype of the tool in 2009. At first, ePlaybook was limited to a few clients, but they persisted, and TAS has now used ePlaybook on more than 280 engagements, with more than 6,500 client users, including six G360 accounts. It has also been used on engagements across all service lines. The ePlaybook team has since grown to include 37 people across the US and India.

With ePlaybook, the team has developed a tool that differentiates EY in the marketplace and consistently outperforms commercial software packages and our competitors. It means we’re winning work that we wouldn’t have won before ePlaybook came along.

Innovate EY – Team Finance Navigator

Many startups struggle with cash, whether they’re looking to raise funding or have successfully secured investment and now need to manage it. The EY Finance Navigator helps entrepreneurs and startups build investor-proof financial models, foresee cash flow problems and get funding.

How can startups get financial relief without funding?

The tool was developed by Alexandros Matthiessen, Wout Bobbink and Lars Vereijken as part of the Innovate EY program in Belgium and the Netherlands. They saw that the entrepreneurs behind many startups did not have a financial background, so the tool acts like an online CFO. Even before it was actually completed, 45 local startups had bought it. It’s helping to increase the odds of success for startups, which means they can create more jobs.

One business that used the tool had developed an app that helps young amateur athletes (ages 12 to 20) compare their own sports stats with those of their friends, getting them off the sofa and keeping them active. Finance Navigator helped the business plan budgets and create profit forecasts, which led to EUR 250,000 in seed funding.

The Finance Navigator team is also speaking with several large companies, investors and accelerators to work together to build a community with entrepreneurship as its central theme. With Finance Navigator, EY can do something fundamentally different from its traditional business model. Finance Navigator can bridge the gap between investor and startup, while helping EY spot high-potential startups so it can begin building relationships with the market leaders of the future.

My experiences team

Starting with a prototype built on the kitchen table, Susan Eastly and Karen Patton with Ernst & Young LLP’s Advisory Experience Management team developed My Experiences, a platform that presents client-facing and internal openings to our EY people at all levels. Their close relationship and ability to brainstorm together allowed Susan and Karen to come up with the idea of harnessing technology to build a platform where EY people, no matter where they are in the world, can connect to share experiences and needs.

How can worldwide opportunities always be in the right place?

Before My Experiences, which was built based on input from more than 200 stakeholders, no interface allowed our people to see existing client opportunities. The tool connects open needs with available resources, building high-performing teams with the right skills and experiences at the right time to meet the needs of our clients. For our people, it creates opportunities for experiences, especially on the client-facing side, that can enrich careers, grow skills and expand global networks.

Since its launch in North America, My Experiences has expanded to Global Advisory professionals in Asia-Pacific and EMEIA, including People Advisory Services, with Japan up next and plans underway to fully expand across all of Advisory and more service lines. More than 250 opportunities are posted daily, and more than 25,000 EY people have used the platform to advance their careers and make new connections.

EY Japan team LINE

2016 saw the Japanese technology company LINE make headlines as the biggest tech IPO of the year so far — the first-ever dual IPO on the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges. Behind the scenes, EY teams in Japan and the US from all four service lines had been hard at work to help make it happen.

How do you make a bell ring in two places at once?

LINE’s accounting team hadn’t kept up with the company’s phenomenal growth, so a Financial Accounting Advisory Services team from Japan came in to support the accounting function. Over the years, the role with LINE expanded to include coordinating the many different groups involved in an IPO — lawyers, auditors and advisors — to verify that all of them did their part in a fast-moving and high-pressure environment and on a strict timetable.

Post-IPO, EY’s work with LINE continues, and we’re proud to have helped the company make IPO history and expand to new markets. And the positive story continues, as we are already helping other Japanese companies as they look to internationalize and raise capital in new markets.

Aileen Uy

 “Aileen is straightforward, but not rude; kind, but not weak. She is the type of leader that you would voluntarily follow, give your attention to and want yourself to become.” These are kind words from just one of the colleagues Aileen Uy has supported since joining Ernst & Young – Philippines SGV’s IT Risk Assurance Services team.

Will your team be stronger because of differences?

Upon joining, Aileen was faced with a busy team and schedule. Despite handling 30 financial audit support accounts and a number of advisory engagements, Aileen has always made time for her team.

From setting clear objectives, to mentoring, to seeing that people have the right training and meaningful work and experiences — she has won praise from her team members for both empowering them and helping them develop.

She encourages her team to constructively challenge one another — to listen to different points of view to find the right answer. Although Aileen willingly shares her knowledge and experience, she also urges team members to take the initiative to find out as much as they can about the client and the industry.

Her commitment to her team goes beyond the traditional office hours, and team members often socialize together to promote even greater bonding.

Her efforts are paying off. Every day she can see team members taking the time to coach juniors and pass on the principles of knowledge-sharing and collaboration. The overall results are an engaged and happy team, as well as high Audit Quality Review ratings.


EY Better begins with you global finalists are tapping personal passions to improve their communities and help clients succeed.

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EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization