Foreword by Richard Houston

Senior Partner and CEO Deloitte UK

Foreword by Richard Houston

Adapting in a challenging year

The pandemic has triggered incredible change and challenge for people, business, and society.

For our firm, standing still was not an option. We had to adapt at pace to help clients navigate the disruption to markets, supply chains and the economy, support the national response to COVID-19, and of course - build our own resilience.

We invested in a range of growth areas like digital technology, end-to-end M&A propositions and Net Zero services. And we made bold acquisitions. Like design and technology consultancy KeyTree, which overnight made us the largest provider of SAP services in the UK and across Europe. We bought Kemp Little, doubling our lawyer headcount, and fundamentally transforming our Deloitte Legal business through technology. And we divested, with the sale of our restructuring business allowing us to focus our resources on M&A services in our Financial Advisory practice.

We also invested in our people and our future talent. We spent £29.5m on learning and development opportunities, including the creation of a new digital learning platform, and we hired more than 3,800 colleagues this year, including 1,600 graduates, school leavers and interns.

Critically, we positioned our firm as a leader in audit reform. We established our independent audit governance board in January and have continued to engage with the government, regulators, investors, and businesses to play our part in audit and corporate governance reforms to enhance quality, improve trust, and reinforce the reputation of the UK as a leading capital market.

In a challenging year, our firm has grown stronger. This growth has its roots in responsible decisions, our clear purpose and values, and our ability to adapt at pace.

Leading with confidence

The difficult decisions we made in March 2020 to reduce our costs put us in a solid position to weather the uncertainty. But it was our ability to adapt at pace that was the key factor in our strong financial performance in FY21. At the heart of this performance was, undoubtedly, the commitment of our 22,000 people and partners across the UK, who supported each other and our clients in the most challenging of times.

In recognition of their commitment, we gave our people a ‘Thank You’ payment in April and a significantly increased 2021 bonus.

Despite the tough economic conditions earlier in the year, we saw significant demand for our digital transformation advice, as well as services in supply chain and debt advisory as clients looked for our support to overcome the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns.

Our highest profile project this year was undoubtedly our support for the Government in building the COVID-19 Testing programme. Alongside a number of public and private sector companies, we brought together our expertise in end to end transformation, digital technology, procurement, supply chain, logistics, real estate, and programme management to help design one of the largest diagnostics networks in UK history. This Testing programme has played a key part in the re-opening of the UK economy after months of national restrictions.

We’ve been able to support our clients as they also adapt to meet the needs of a digital future.

Building an inclusive recovery

We find ourselves at the beginning of a decisive decade.

Complex issues like the future of work, digital exclusion, the race to net zero and the UK’s position in a changing world will shape our country over the next ten years.

The pandemic has shown that the most effective ways to make progress on major societal challenges is through collaboration. We have expanded our alliances with world-leading technology providers, like Google, Apple, and Vodafone, combining our experience and capabilities to create innovative solutions to public and private sector challenges, improving both sustainability and profitability.

These have included projects such as trialling medical deliveries by drone, transforming the supply chains of retailers to reduce waste and even helping Team GB prepare for Tokyo.

With the world of work and learning completely transformed by the pandemic, technology will be a vital part of the UK’s recovery. And through our 5 Million Futures social impact strategy, we’re committed to building digital skills and breaking down barriers to education and employment.

In 2021 we celebrate working with education charity Teach First for 15 years, providing volunteering, pro bono work, and fundraising. This year we announced plans to donate 7,500 laptops to schools and families who were most in need. And in May we hosted a virtual ‘Futures Month’ where over 1,400 of our people provided advice to those out of work or at risk of redundancy, coached small and medium-sized enterprises, social enterprises and charities affected by the pandemic and mentored children from low socio-economic communities in their communication and critical thinking skills.

Over the year ahead, we’ll continue to champion economic recovery, based on innovation and inclusion, that encompasses the whole of the UK.

A transformative year

It has been a transformative year for Deloitte, our people, our clients, and our society. When we reflect on the past 12 months, there are many lessons we have learnt and can be proud of. In a time of crisis - we acted responsibly, and in year of uncertainty - we led with confidence.

We’ll use these valuable insights, our skills and scale to support an inclusive economic recovery for the UK in this decisive decade. From tackling climate change, enabling a digital future, and shaping a more inclusive society - we'll build a firm of the future that is trusted, resilient and agile to meet the transformational challenges and opportunities ahead.

We’re now at the start of a ‘decisive decade’, where the need to work together to build a fairer society is more critical than ever.