UK Impact Report
David Sproul’s foreword
We talk about impact because it’s central to our purpose. It’s why we do what we do and how we measure ourselves. It’s a way to show stakeholders – from our people and future recruits to regulators, government, the public and our clients – the difference we make to society.
Our stories bring our work to life. At Deloitte, we’re more than auditors, consultants, financial advisers, analysts or tax specialists. Every day, we’re building trust and confidence in the capital markets, supporting inclusive growth and developing skills so the UK can thrive.
The future of UK plc
This year, business sentiment has continued to be buffeted by news on the government’s Brexit negotiations. While we’re helping companies prepare for the consequences of Britain leaving the European Union, we’re also encouraging them to think about the opportunities that could lie ahead. Through our Power Up series, we’ve developed actions for government and business to make sure the UK remains globally competitive and an attractive, inclusive place to invest.
Brexit is just one of the critical challenges facing our country and our clients. From cyber attacks and climate change to the impact of technology on jobs, I believe our people have the skills - and drive - to tackle these issues together.
On 1 June 2017, we created our North West Europe (NWE) firm, combining the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, the Nordics and the Netherlands, and 12 months later we welcomed Ireland into the fold. Deloitte NWE benefits from the diversity of our people, their outlooks, experience and entrepreneurship.
By joining our ideas and investments, we can offer our clients more innovative services that continue to evolve. And we can deliver more quickly.
In this report you’ll see how, for instance, specialists in robotics and data science from the UK and the Netherlands introduced artificial intelligence in hospitals, enabling doctors to spend more time with their patients. And NWE forensic experts and risk advisory teams joined forces to help a global shipping giant recover from a cyber attack. These are just two examples – we’ve compiled more than 50 stories that show how we’re supporting others, across the private and public sectors, to grow, innovate and respond to disruptive competition.
One Million Futures
Some of our most inspiring stories come from our annual Impact Awards that celebrate the difference our people make for our clients and society.
Judging is always a highlight of my year and it’s great to see so many examples reflecting our One Million Futures ambition. The initiative has captured the imagination of people across Deloitte and, working together, we’re addressing one of the biggest issues facing our country – a lack of social mobility.
We also now have an organisation-wide programme called WorldClass, which aims to empower 50 million people by 2030 through education, skills development and access to opportunity. Successes include support for social enterprises that help people with learning difficulties find employment, free English language classes for refugees, and schools workshops that encourage girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The future of the profession
For me, these stories demonstrate the real value of Deloitte’s breadth and depth of skills, and our experience across industries and business lines. Yet we cannot ignore the fact that, this year, external criticism and scrutiny of the Big Four and the wider profession has been significant, with concerns over audit quality, conflict of interest and a lack of choice in the sector.
I take such concerns seriously and recognise that change is needed. We must look at how the audits of the future match the evolving needs of stakeholders and society and address increasing business complexity. And we need to consider how to bridge the gap between expectation and the reality of what an audit can do. There is clearly a concentration of the Big Four in the FTSE audit market and we support measures that help other firms to compete.
"The audits of the future must match the evolving needs of stakeholders and society, and address increasing business complexity."
Audit plays a vital role in providing trust and confidence to the capital markets. We need data scientists, tax advisers, forensics experts, valuation specialists and cyber professionals to make sure the 14,500 audits we sign every year create trust in our financial system.
Across our services, we have the range of skills needed to analyse increasingly complex, multinational organisations. We also have the scale to invest in new technology, which has done so much to improve insights in recent years. But it’s clear we need to rebuild public confidence. This isn’t just a capital markets issue – it’s critical to reinforcing trust between governments, business and society.
Now, more than ever, our firm needs to find its voice and tell the story of what Deloitte does and the impact we have. From helping companies comply with complex tax and immigration regulations to championing diversity in business, what we do makes a difference.
Senior Partner and Chief Executive