Our Risk Advisory identity centres on helping clients become more responsible businesses and through that supporting them to grow in a sustainable way balancing the needs of all stakeholders. We pride ourselves on playing our part to advance the overall purpose of our organisation and make an impact that matters. Responsible business is at the heart of our Strategy 2023, and we are disciplined and determined when it comes to executing on that strategy. Our key investment choices in key responsible business topics – around cyber, sustainability, government and life sciences, for example – are all aimed at making the biggest possible impact on our clients, our people and on society.
We are proud to work with numerous major organisations, in a range of global industries. This year, we boosted our impact in key regulatory responsible business topics in life sciences by investing in a bigger team and through acquiring Iperion Life Sciences. We also increased our presence in the area of central government work in areas of responsible digital transformation. We invested in helping the growing start-up community to develop their businesses responsibly: our new brand Devence helps start-ups and scale-ups build responsibility into their business from the very beginning. We continue to focus on responsible financial reporting working with Audit, responsible financial modelling, responsible Cloud, regulatory compliance and responsible management of risks as well as crisis and reputational risk management.
This year we made significant investments in our sustainability services, helping clients become more accountable for the sustainability transformations they are going through and helping them be accountable to stakeholder groups for this. We were closely involved in a number of responsible digital transformations, and we attended more discussions about data privacy and digital ethics with our clients, advising on how to enhance their responsibility credentials and improve their impact on their stakeholders. We were also involved in several regulatory remediation programmes with banks and insurers, working on anti-money laundering and even launching schemes to help customers affected by this issue. In our everyday work, therefore, we have an increasingly positive impact on society – and alongside this, a number of our people are also involved in Deloitte Impact Foundation projects, ensuring we look beyond our clients and use our expertise to improve our wider society.
"This year we made significant investments in our sustainability services, helping clients become more accountable for the sustainability transformations they are going through and helping them be accountable to stakeholder groups for this."
Like the rest of Deloitte, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we managed to remain focused on the market and avoid drastic personnel actions protecting the livelihood of our people.
We made good progress on realising our inclusion and diversity objectives. The proportion of women partners in our team rose to 23% this year, leading to a better gender balance within our business. We also took important first steps to boost cultural diversity within our team. In addition, we brought in new talent and appointed four new partners and eight new directors from our ranks: in a year that posed threats to our business, therefore, we still managed to provide good opportunities for career advancement and to attract new colleagues.
Responsible business is now a familiar and important topic on many boardroom agendas, and this creates a lot of opportunities for us. One of the key market trends related to our business is cybercrime: the multiplication of threats, attacks and malware shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, we continued to invest in our capabilities in that space, including bringing a new partner and new talent on board, and we continued supporting our people with professional development designed to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. We aim to use our global expertise to help our clients the best we can.
Sustainability, and in particular the non-financial reporting and accountability around sustainability, is the second major issue where there is growing demand. This year, we brought in people with extensive experience and world-class expertise to help clients become more sustainable – and more accountable. With many organisations making big promises to the market in terms of their green ambitions, investors need transparency and accountability so they can be confident their money will be spent in a sustainable way.
A third key opportunity is digitalisation. In an ever more digital business world, we invested in our cloud capabilities in 2020/2021 to help clients take the bold step into the cloud – in a responsible way. This year, we saw SAP S/4HANA® become a major part of the digitalisation landscape, and we are working together with our Consulting colleagues to help clients configure controls and security into their SAP S/4HANA®. Conversations around digital and data ethics are growing louder, and it is important that we help clients respond, for example by using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly. We engaged with experts from the world of academia, expanding our internal understanding of these topics and establishing valuable partnerships.
One of the challenges we face in Risk Advisory is to find, attract and retain the right talent. The work we do is highly relevant for today’s businesses and will remain critical to organisations in the future, and we also work in an extremely competitive space – we are up against niche competitors and global organisations as well as the traditional ‘big four’ firms. Our strong team ethic and the social aspect of our business, usually key value propositions, were disrupted this year by COVID-19. However, although in-person contact was minimal, we were still able to provide a dynamic development experience for our people.
Because we help our clients become responsible businesses, we are under the spotlight when it comes to being a responsible business as well. Inclusion and diversity and our carbon footprint are incredibly important topics for us, and we are proud to have played a leading role in the firm’s overall objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2025.;