Rotterdam, 14 July 2021
It has been an exceptional year in every possible way. It was exceptional for our clients, who faced economic uncertainty and experienced challenges in their businesses. It was exceptional for society as a whole where restrictions became common practice and where humanity and togetherness sometimes seemed concepts from a distant past. Where it became even more apparent that we need to tackle society’s biggest challenges, such as climate change and inequality, in a connected way. It was exceptional for our people and our partners who faced the fear of falling ill, had to cope with sickness (or worse) among their loved ones, were restricted in their personal movement and were cut off from personal contact with their family, friends, colleagues and clients. But it was also exceptional in the way in which Deloitte was able to thrive in this difficult time and exceed our expectations. Thank you to our people and our clients for their endurance, trust, creativity and resilience. Never before in our history has the physical distance between people been so big, yet the determination to connect, engage and deliver – and with that our impact - so high.
At the start of the year, our prime objective was to safeguard the continued employment and development of our people. For this reason – despite the anticipated economic slowdown – we decided to proceed with all planned promotions and hires. As our year progressed, we saw our business regaining momentum, and we needed every individual to deliver our services to our clients; we resumed recruiting in our growth areas.
Despite COVID-19, we focused on the execution of our Connect for Impact strategy, which has proven to be resilient, enabling continued long-term value creation for our stakeholders. In some areas the Crisis has accelerated the execution and led to more stretched targets, such as our ambition to be carbon neutral in 2025 and the digitisation of our services. In line with this strategy, we continue to focus on our purpose – to make an impact that matters – and we increasingly play a role in building a more responsible and more resilient Dutch society. We create societal value through our client work, our ‘Future of’ agenda and the valuable projects we carry out through the Deloitte Impact Foundation. More than ever, there is such an international strategic alignment between country organisations (geographies), regional member firms and the global Deloitte organisation with joint investments and collaboration across the board. This alignment, together with a relentless focus on strategy execution, has led to further investments in our Multi Disciplinary Growth platforms (MDMs) and our digital capabilities in all our businesses, and our involvement in numerous big, often tech-enabled, critical business transformations that were entrusted to us by many of our clients.
"Despite COVID-19, we focused on the execution of our Connect for Impact strategy, which has proven to be resilient, enabling continued long-term value creation for our stakeholders."
Throughout the year we had to face the many uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis that required all our creativity and flexibility. We have been able to switch to fully digital delivery of our services in the most complex, global audits and business transformations. Being forced to work from home, we have tried to keep a keen eye on the well-being of our people and have taken decisions we felt would benefit their physical and mental health. Some of our actions have led to Deloitte being awarded third place as most family friendly employer by Intermediair, a Dutch work / life news platform for professionals with a higher education. COVID-19 has shown us the tremendous potential for hybrid forms of working going forward. Well-being will remain a top priority in the coming year so we can all find a new rhythm in our work and other activities.
The year was also marked by the international Black Lives Matter movement, which has reconfirmed the importance of our strategic initiatives on inclusion and diversity. It was a clear wake-up call to confront our own unconscious bias and stereotypes towards people from different cultural backgrounds. To achieve our strategic objectives, our Cultural Diversity Network has become more active than ever. Our overall mission is to build an inclusive environment for everyone. This translates into a programmatic approach, a.o. we’re redesigning key processes to remove possible bias, for example from recruitment and promotion, invest in training and awareness, have female and reversed culture mentoring programmes and set targets for gender diversity on all levels.
In a society where the license to operate of companies and more specifically our role as auditor is challenged, we have intensified our interactions with stakeholders, and actively contribute to innovating the audit profession. The next step in our journey to improve audit quality has been concentrating on building a learning culture with more focus on collaboration.
Keeping quality at the forefront of everything we do, we want not only to contribute, but to lead the way. In our Audit & Assurance business, we innovate our profession by developing better and more meaningful audit quality indicators, and by increasing the effectiveness of fraud detection. We do so in close consultation with Young Audit. In our Advisory businesses, we want to help our clients make the step up by advising them on how to transition towards more digital, sustainable and responsible business models. This means working side by side with our clients and alliance partners, jointly finding answers to complex questions about bold, yet realistic, scenarios and the management of transition risks.
"Keeping quality at the forefront of everything we do, we want not only to contribute, but to lead the way."
To fulfil our ambitions, we need highly trained, highly experienced talent. To secure the long-term availability of talent, in 2020/2021 we started the redesign of our employee value proposition (EVP), creating one single distinctive and international experience for all Deloitters and reflecting our commitment to providing an exceptional experience and a career that is personalised and meaningful. Our EVP is built around passion for purpose, true inclusion and continuous personal growth.
Contrary to our expectations a year ago, we were able to grow our revenue with a stable workforce while our expense levels declined due to less travel, learning and events. Our people have been awarded with a significantly higher variable pay combined with a 'thank you' payment for all staff. Part of our remaining distributable profit has not been paid out to the partners but has been spread over the next couple of years. This will enable us to have a stable development of partner earnings in the next years in combination with a major investment in the Employee Value Proposition of our talent.
With the wave of deployment of new technology and digitisation continuing for many years, we are optimistic about the future across all our businesses, albeit that macro-economic developments could influence our optimism. Top priorities remain investing in our broader sustainability capabilities and the development of our people, areas where we aim to make significant steps in our new financial year. Being a learning organisation, we will continue our own transformation journey in order to help our clients with theirs, making a positive impact on their businesses and society.
Chief Executive Officer
Chairman of the Executive Board
Chief Quality Officer
Chief Operating Officer