Posted: 21 Dec. 2020 3 min. read

Practising what we preach: how Deloitte worked to make a positive impact in 2020

This year has been like no other and, together, we have all had to live through something we could never have imagined twelve months ago.

For our teams at Deloitte, it was no different, and as a firm everyone has come together and truly embodied our purpose: to make an impact that matters. 

Throughout 2020, we have continued to work with our societal partners and identify valuable ways that we could support those affected by the pandemic. In Edinburgh, we worked with Social Bite, to support the RBS foodbank appeal that paid for thousands of meals for those going hungry during lockdown. The donation, alongside the strategic support we offer Social Bite, means the team can continue their mission to end homelessness. We have also been fundraising and providing pro bono services to Children 1st. The families Children 1st work alongside are coping with past trauma, mental health issues and social isolation. They work with people like Tracy. She knows what it is to struggle and now, thanks to Children 1st, she knows what it is to make it through the other side.

We worked with our friends at Move On in Glasgow. When lockdown happened, their offices closed and they had to adapt to continue to support their young people. Some of the people they support did not have access to a device to allow them to get on-line, which is where we tried to help.  A request to our Glasgow office to donate any spare devices that people had at home made a big impact and helped ensure Move On could stay connected to the people they mentor.

In Aberdeen, we have supported Aberdeen Foyer and raised just over £5,600 through various initiatives, provided pro bono advice and in January, we will be supporting the next Prince’s Trust group with a session on interview skills. 

All our societal partners are providing essential services, particularly when we consider findings from our latest State of the State report this year, which found almost two thirds of Scots believe that opportunities for young people are going to get worse in a post-COVID era.

Despite the challenges, there were milestones to celebrate. Our One Million Futures programme, which our societal partners are part of, achieved its target of supporting one million young people a year ahead of schedule. We have since replaced this with our new impact strategy: to help out 5 million people by 2030.

In Scotland, we continued to invest in our clients through the delivery of our Regional Academy Programme. During 2020, we have transformed this programme into a digital offering of webinars and virtual roundtables. We have also become more agile, adding to the programme dynamically, to adapt to the evolving business landscape.

We have seen first‑hand how the role and responsibilities of CFOs have become increasingly complex.  This year we rejuvenated our Next Generation CFO Programme to help aspiring CFOs in Scotland navigate the next step in their career and prepare them for the diverse responsibilities of becoming CFO.

In Aberdeen, we are continuing to support Oil & Gas UK’s breakfasts.  Of course, in our new normal, that no longer means meeting in person but gathering online - it was great to see over 400 people online for the last breakfast, which focused on the OGUK's Economic Report 2020.

This year we also strengthened our Scottish practice across the Central Belt with the appointment of Angela Mitchell to Office Senior Partner in Glasgow. Angela replaces Douglas Farish, who will now lead the Edinburgh office following the retirement of John Macintosh, and both are perfectly placed to drive forward our priorities of transformation and building resilience within our Scottish practice.

Looking after our people’s health and wellbeing has been a priority throughout the pandemic. It has been a difficult year for everyone, and we've all felt the impact on our wellbeing at different times and in different ways. It can be easy to forget the social aspects of office life. Quick chats in the kitchen or on the stairs can make a big difference to how we feel, and help break up our day. We have created our own coffee club and “Iron Brew club” as a way to connect online with our colleagues and simply have a chat, which includes the question “are you OK?”  We also had an afternoon tea with a difference, which was virtual. We worked with Social Bite who started baking brownies during lockdown.  Each person who attended received a box of brownies and as well as playing bingo, we had a talent competition.  It was wonderful to see so many faces online and we raised £9,000 in a single afternoon. 

In a year that has seen our people, business and economy face the most significant and unpredictable challenges in decades, I am immensely proud of our people, our clients and our charity partners and would like to thank them all for their hard work and support. 

While 2021 is likely to bring further uncertainty, I am confident our teams across Scotland are in a strong position to support clients - and each other - and make the most of the opportunities that are sure to come.  

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Key contact

Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams


Stephen’s experience over the past 30 years has always been exclusively with retail financial services clients. Stephen is a member of the Board of Deloitte NSE, Chair of the UK Oversight Board and is the Chairman of Deloitte NSE's own Audit & Risk Committee. Previously Stephen worked on secondment for the EBRD in Eastern Europe, and spent 6 years in South Africa where he worked with local financial institutions. His present external audit clients include a number of regulated banks and other retail financial services businesses; including a number with an international presence. He also leads a number of propositions in the Challenger bank space, and leads a number of assurance and advisory projects in this space; including internal audit arrangements, regulatory advisory work, and work on assessing corporate governance and risk management frameworks. Recent other projects in which Stephen has been involved include: leading a HM Treasury CCA investigation resultant from a significant redress programme,  leading the reporting accountant work on the IPO of a now listed bank; leading the due diligence on behalf of a number of investors into a failing Building Society, and  Undertaking a number of S166 reviews on behalf of the regulator in relation to corporate governance and risk management at Challenger Banks.