Our clients and businesses

All year, we have been helping companies to emerge stronger, more resilient and better equipped for a world beyond COVID-19

Our clients and businesses

Highlights and priorities

Hear from our leaders about some of the challenges and achievements our people and clients have worked on together - and priorities for the new year ahead.

Pauline Biddle, Managing Partner for Clients & Industries:

The past year has been incredibly difficult. Unlike any downturn we’ve seen before, the impact across sectors was stark – for example, the effect on aviation and hospitality was very different to the experience of life sciences, healthcare or online retail.

In the UK, with hardly any notice, lockdown restrictions led to a rise in home working, from five percent to 47 percent of the workforce. This was a drastic change for many people.

We’ve learnt that to serve the market we must be agile and think about how we can use our skills and resource to support those who need it most. In the UK, our headline story would be the Herculean effort to support the Government and our public services on the COVID testing programme.

The outlook is positive. A consumer-led recovery is being predicted with an M&A resurgence that we haven’t seen for years, and our CFO survey shows business optimism is at its peak. Defensive strategies, such as cost reduction, have fallen out of favour and expectations for investment and hiring have reached new highs.

The path to net zero is now a race – it’s pervasive – and climate change is firmly on the C-suite agenda. The pandemic has focused minds on public health and the environment, but meeting our targets will require every business and organisation to play their part, and act fast. This will be the defining theme of the next 10 years.

Health and healthcare has fundamentally changed, with the wellbeing of employees – both mental and physical – now a boardroom issue.

As a firm for the future, we have an opportunity to rethink how we work, and this will highlight both challenges and benefits. We anticipate greater emphasis on productivity, training and employee wellbeing as, more broadly, firms adapt their business models.

Daniel Barlow, Managing Partner for Deloitte’s regional business in the UK:

Deloitte’s regional business achieved a double-digit revenue increase, with all geographies, service lines and industry groups growing. This reflects the strength and resilience of the UK’s regional economy – a fantastic, broad portfolio of businesses and public sector organisations that we’ve enjoyed working alongside as they transformed at pace.

We launched three new regional hubs that serve specific sectors – our Life Sciences Catalyst in Cambridge, Investment Management Hub in Edinburgh and Health Tech Catalyst in Birmingham. They reflect the diversity and strength of our regions, and specific areas of expertise, specialisation and opportunity.

Like our clients, we’ve had to adapt and change. We’ve moved offices and exited leases in some locations, but our commitment to cities and regions goes beyond bricks and mortar. I’m very thankful to all our people and clients who have – and are – helping us to shape this new way of working. I am also thankful to our entire regional team who have contributed, whether that is through their time, fundraising, developing apps or training as counsellors, to support local charity projects and schools during this time.

We have an obligation to contribute to the UK’s levelling up agenda and have done a lot of work to understand what the main drivers of regional growth will be. While these vary by region, they all need the private sector, public sector, academia and sources of investment to work together. We look forward to helping make this happen.

I’m excited about the future. We will continue to listen to, and support, all our clients and people, delivering outstanding work, providing exciting careers and making a positive impact for the communities in which we’re based.

Jayson Hadley, Head of Government and Public Services:

Our support for the Government’s work to build the COVID-19 Testing programme has been one of our biggest challenges, but also one of our proudest moments. It’s played a key part in the re-opening of the UK economy after months of national restrictions.

We’re incredibly proud of what we do with public sector clients. This past year has seen us work with the Government, the NHS and other public services to support the national response to the pandemic.

As a people business, we connect with clients to tackle their biggest challenges. That might be our supply chain and logistics team scaling the national COVID-19 testing programme, our digital teams supporting the delivery of medical supplies via drone, or multi-disciplinary teams bringing together expertise across specialisms like asset recovery, forensics and finance. I’m constantly impressed by the variety of backgrounds, skillsets and experiences – from all sectors of the economy – that we are fortunate to work with and support.

In terms of the future, we’re ready to support Government and public services as they continue to protect our health, mitigate the wider effects of the pandemic, keep us secure and drive our economic recovery. It’s clear the Government has lost none of its ambition to level up the UK and tackle complex issues like social care funding, ambitious public sector reforms, net zero and the UK’s place in our changing world. We look forward to working on each of these challenges, bringing the absolute best of what we offer to the public sector.

It’s been a busy year in which our firm’s five Businesses – Audit & Assurance, Consulting, Financial Advisory, Risk and Tax & Legal – have been able to strengthen their offer to our clients in a challenging time.

“Quality, achieved in a challenging environment, is one of our Audit practice’s key achievements this year. Our overall score rose in the Audit Quality Review numbers, against a backdrop of uncertainty.”
Paul Stephenson, UK Managing Partner for Audit & Assurance
Paul Stephenson, UK Managing Partner for Audit & Assurance, said:

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the entities we audit. It created an extremely tough reporting environment for companies, and was equally difficult for our people, but I’m immensely proud of the way our teams responded. They showed great resilience and we continued our focus on quality, while acting in the public interest. This was reflected in the latest Audit Quality Review (AQR) numbers where, set against the backdrop of increased uncertainty, remote working and reporting deadline pressure, our overall score rose.

The stage is set for this year to be the most significant yet in the debate on audit and corporate governance reform. We’ve been clear that we support changes that enhance audit quality and improve choice in the sector, and we’re committed to playing our part. Alongside continuing to develop our audit product and launching our Audit Governance Board, in June we moved ahead with the majority of operational separation, well in advance of the Financial Reporting Council’s deadline in 2024. The debate has highlighted the important role of the profession and this is an exciting opportunity to define its future.

“Rapid acceleration is a key theme of our year. Our consultants have helped stabilise businesses and supported them through pandemic-related challenges, while helping them to transform with new technologies and platforms.”
Anne-Marie Malley, Managing Partner for Consulting
Anne-Marie Malley, Managing Partner for Consulting, said:

Our consultants have been instrumental in helping our clients to stabilise their businesses and respond to the myriad of challenges the pandemic has created for organisations, communities and our wider society.

The dedication our people have shown has been remarkable. I am so proud that we have maintained a sense of teamwork and collaboration through our virtual connections. Supporting our people through our growing Flourish programme - a series of content and events exploring different aspects of mental and physical health and how to support it - and which focuses on building a safe and inclusive culture with wellbeing at the forefront, has been so important.

We have seen rapid acceleration to new technologies and platforms. Over the next 12 months, we will work with clients across every industry, from space to sport, to ensure they benefit from the opportunities this creates for both businesses and employees.

Addressing the digital skills gap will be vital. Companies must give their people the right training and support so they can make the most of new technologies. Upskilling our UK workforce will ensure we drive business growth and the UK’s economic recovery.

“Resilience has to be the word of the year for our Financial Advisory teams. Our people have adapted to profound change like true professionals.”
Richard Bell, Managing Partner for Financial Advisory
Richard Bell, Managing Partner for Financial Advisory, said:

Resilience is a word I’ve used a lot over the past 15 months. I was astonished to see just how quickly our people adapted to the profound change in their working and home environments, and discovered ways not only to continue serving our clients successfully, but to stay connected with one another in very challenging circumstances. Despite an initial halt, our business performed very strongly – credit for that must go to our teams, who displayed real creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship in their approach to markets.

End-to-end Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) will be a priority for us in FY22 and we will build longer-term, more meaningful relationships with our clients in this area. To do this, we will invest in our ability to have high quality M&A strategy discussions earlier, and broaden that conversation out to include large-scale transformation expertise. This will help us to drive long-term value for our clients.

“In a year of continued remote working, when clients are facing their greatest ever risks, our Risk teams’ digital, cloud and cyber expertise has enabled companies to stay secure and continue with their operations.”
Andy Morris, Managing Partner for Risk Advisory
Andy Morris, Managing Partner for Risk Advisory, said:

Our teams worked with our clients to manage and mitigate the greatest risks they’ve ever faced, in particular building and maintaining their resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve helped finance, internal audit and internal control functions to build trust in their organisations, and our digital and cloud expertise has helped companies stay secure. In the financial services industry, we’ve enabled clients to mitigate the risks of funding the country’s economic recovery. Also, with more organisations working remotely, our cyber team has adapted to the increased demand for support in dealing with online threats.

Business has a critical role to play in responding to the climate crisis – this, and the broader ESG agenda, continues to be a significant area of focus for us and our clients. Our teams are giving organisations across all sectors the confidence to accelerate towards a low carbon economy, even though many need to go through sizable transformations to meet their net zero goals. We expect to see even greater demand for services across all aspects of that journey, from setting and measuring clear ESG targets, to supporting responsible growth through new products and M&A.

"It’s been a year of growth. Two successful acquisitions have helped us end the year as the UK’s no.1 tax and legal practice. And tech continues to play a big part in the solutions we offer our clients."
Lisa Stott, Managing Partner for Tax and Legal
Lisa Stott, Managing Partner for Tax and Legal, said:

We find ourselves in a position of strength, despite the challenges we’ve faced, and were delighted to finish the year as the number one tax and legal practice in the UK. Through the acquisitions of Kemp Little and Kerr Henderson, we grew our legal advisory and pensions offerings in 2020, and are now better placed than ever to support our clients.

We’ve continued to invest in digital and automated services. We’ve also concentrated on our flagship Women in leadership and Black and Ethnic minority leadership programmes, underlining our commitment – as a firm for the future – to diversity and inclusion at all levels of our practice. Supporting the charities TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People has been vital and we were able to make an impact through fundraising and volunteering. We also used our expertise to help them improve their processes, leaving them better equipped to navigate the pandemic.

Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our clients to support them with their commercial needs, help them navigate changes following the UK’s exit from the EU, and manage any challenges surrounding e-commerce and new digital ways of working. We will also focus on harnessing the power of our growing legal business to support those clients who increasingly require a multi-disciplinary approach.

The next year – and beyond – will be particularly interesting. Global reforms to corporate tax policy are on the horizon and we expect to see tax and legal regulations playing an important part in the country’s progress towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.