Ross Flanigan has been saved
Life at Deloitte
Director, Quality and Risk Management
After 16 years as a Royal Air Force Officer, leaving at the rank of Squadron Leader, Ross joined Deloitte in 2005 as a Senior Manager in our Tax business and was promoted to Director before moving into Quality & Risk Management. He has recently been working within the firm’s strategic development programme with focus on the establishment of centralised business operations and leading our Cardiff Delivery Centre.
What were your reasons for leaving the military and why did you join Deloitte?
Leaving: mainly to provide stability for my family, especially for my children’s schooling, and to make the transition at an age when I felt that I could most likely succeed in a second career.
Joining Deloitte: I was keen to do something outside defence, aviation and public sector, while applying my skills and experience in a different way. Deloitte ticked all of those boxes but mainly it was about joining an ambitious, innovative and highly professional organisation which seemed to genuinely offer a meaningful role and career development.
What transferable skills and experience have you brought from the military?
Getting results through people, multi-tasking, working to deadlines, accountability & responsibility, leadership, oral and written communications, project and programme management, thinking on your feet, decision making, judgement, self-discipline, ethics, standards.
What work do you get involved in on a day to day basis?
My role has developed considerably and continuously since first joining Deloitte. I was recruited to set up one small team of around 6-8 people to work in one specific area. That operation proved to be very successful and became the basis for the establishment of a delivery centre in which more than 400 people now deliver a wide range of support to our clients and our colleagues. The centre, in Cardiff, houses teams in our Audit, Tax, Financial Advisory and Risk Management practices. They cover a huge range of work including research, data analytics, international tax administration and managing our regulatory obligations, to name just a few. With the scale that this has already reached, and with rapid growth continuing, my personal role has evolved from direct operational management to a more strategic and facilitational role for the continued establishment of new ways of working, with my Cardiff Delivery Centre embedded as a key part of our firm’s dynamic delivery model. I typically spend 1 or 2 days each week in offices away from my base in Cardiff, mainly in London where I have a high level of interaction with our national leadership.
What was the biggest culture shock when you first started in professional services/Deloitte?
The biggest shock is that I wasn’t shocked – it was all very professional and supportive from the outset, with people keen for me to succeed. I was expecting some difficulty in adjusting but I was made very welcome, induction courses helped a lot, and as I had been through a rigorous recruitment process, it was just accepted that I was the right person to do the job which filled my time from day one. A pleasant surprise was the widely consultative and collaborative nature of the business. Relative to my memories of the military, the grade and seniority structure seem of far less relevance in day to day working where knowledge and opinions are truly valued.
What do you like most about your role?
There are so many things; I really enjoy my job and the people I work with. It has been a privilege to be able to develop and build my area of operations. The people in our teams in Cardiff are fantastic, they do a great job for us, and I have also worked with some outstanding people across our business and our global network. At a more personal business level, it is the ability to be innovative and forward looking in my role, for ideas to be considered and accepted, and if there is a valid business case, to be able to take them through to completion. I am empowered and trusted to deliver.
Tips for joining Deloitte with the right mind set
The main thing is absolutely to look to the future, to what you can and will be, not to the past and what you were. You are or will be a ‘civilian’ – get used to it! If you continue to describe and think of yourself as a soldier etc who just needs to have a crack at something else, you will struggle in the career hunt and transition. If you can think of yourself and position yourself as a person who has many skills to offer, derived from some outstanding experiences, you will be better placed to succeed.
How do you deliver impact, leadership and innovation in your role?
In terms of innovation, it is often a case of looking for opportunities, risks or gaps, identifying how I and my teams or others might fill them. My initial role was created out of a desire to do things differently, and these roots in innovation have remained at the core of what I do as I have grown the teams. With over 400 people doing things that either weren’t done before, or were done in a less effective way, it is very pleasing to see how this approach has worked.
There are many more opportunities to contribute to the firm’s strategy and I look forward to leading many of these through to operational capability. More specifically on leadership, the old fashioned things like courage of conviction, determination and an ethical approach apply, along with striving to deliver inspirational role model behaviours in representing my teams and our business. Taking leadership and innovation together, in this firm, they provide a powerful combination for quality and progress.
What social, society and CSR activities have you been involved with at Deloitte?
There are many work-related social events ranging from annual balls and big Christmas parties to bowling nights and drinks after work. On the community side I have a particularly active role around our Cardiff office. Our firm provides extensive support to disability sport so I built the relationship with Disability Sport Wales, leading to a colleague joining their board to provide advice on their governance. I brought the Welsh Wheelchair Sports Spectacular, a talent ID/have a go day, into our annual community day programme and this has been a great success with many staff volunteering.
For 3 years I was also the sponsor and advisor to the Welsh Games, an annual 3-day multi-sport event for young people, again with Deloitte staff volunteering. The pinnacle however is without doubt my selection through our firm’s London 2012 sponsorship as a Games Maker in which I worked directly with the ParalympicsGB team before, during and after the games. Currently I’m considering an entry to the ballot for a place on Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2016 – Lands’ End to John O’Groats – 969 miles of cycling in 9 days in support of the British Paralympic Association.
How has Deloitte played a role in your long term career goals?
I was very fortunate (albeit with hard work) to find and secure the initial opportunity with Deloitte when I left the RAF and have consequently not had to move on in order to get on. For me, Deloitte is a firm in which there is a genuine ability to develop personally and in which there is transparent recognition and reward for success and contributions. I have clarity over career progression and promotion prospects, and the ability to influence these is very much open to me. My part of our business continues to grow and diversify under my leadership. Therefore, as I continue to add value, I know that I have the opportunity to continue carving out and achieving a rewarding career for many years.