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Our progress

By 2023, we want our purpose to be fully embedded into our daily business. Our goal is to make a tangible impact on society through our client work. Where do we stand in realising our ambition? Emeric van Waes, Chief Strategy Officer at Deloitte Netherlands, provides an update.

The new corporate strategy is built on five strategic imperatives. What are the step changes in the first key area ‘Embrace quality and responsible business’?

We have our ongoing activities in the area of audit quality and are currently implementing ISQM1, an internationally acclaimed standard for quality, throughout our firm, strengthening our quality controls. Our goal is to help our clients become responsible businesses, as well as being a responsible business ourselves. In sustainability, for instance, we want to become carbon neutral or even positive by 2025 for mobility and housing. In the past year, we have taken significant steps that will allow us to fulfil this ambition in the post-pandemic era that is dawning. Responsible business is a topic we feel should be included in every engagement we perform: what is ultimately the social impact of our advice, our solution, our audit. These are the conversations we want to have with our people and our clients.

And in the second key area, ‘Step up to market leadership’?

We are pleased with our current position: we are the number one in advisory and we are growing in our Audit business. But more importantly, we also see an increasing recognition from our clients, stakeholders and talent. For instance, we are consistently in the top 10 in The Netherlands as most attractive employer for university graduates and our global brand is recognised as the most valuable brand in professional services. It is encouraging to see that throughout the year our NPS score amongst the C-level of our most important clients has been rising.

Where do we stand in the third key area, ‘Invest in profitable growth’?

We are proud of our cross business multi-disciplinary approach to business transformation, which is a key differentiator for Deloitte in the market. As a result, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been successful in achieving strong profitable growth – in fact, we saw higher growth than we anticipated in 2020/2021. This is partly due to increasing digitalisation, because we, and our clients, have continued investing in new capabilities and offerings.

"We are proud of our cross business multi-disciplinary approach to business transformation, which is a key differentiator for Deloitte in the market."

And in the fourth key area, ‘Accelerate innovation’?

Bringing innovative solutions to market and the digitisation of our own delivery continue to be top priorities. We have made good progress, and we can still improve further. We are developing successful software assets – in close collaboration with our global organisation, such as Open DATAplatform® , a cloud based secure data platform, TrackonTrade® for effective global trade automation, and Process X-Ray®, a tool that uses advanced analytics software for process efficiency. We also expect to further strengthen our position as a leading technological innovator in our field in the coming year.

How are we doing in the fifth key area, ‘Strengthen engagement and inclusiveness’?

Over the past year, we have made a leap forward in inclusiveness with new activities such as the panel promise and our reverse mentoring programme. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Deloitte is a very diverse organisation: 40% of our employees are women and we have over 70 different nationalities represented. Inclusiveness is essential if we are to bring out the added value of diversity, so it is one of our top priorities. Our new employee value proposition will further strengthen engagement of our people.

What are the two biggest challenges when it comes to embedding the strategy into our daily business?

First, people engagement. Our people are our most important asset, but during the pandemic, keeping them engaged – not to mention mentally and physically healthy – has been extremely challenging. People are working from home and are missing the energy, the atmosphere and on-the-job coaching generated by meeting and collaborating with colleagues in the office. Our second key challenge is realising innovation. Our innovation requires us to operate on the cutting-edge of technology. Finding, keeping and developing the right talent for this cutting-edge innovation is a major challenge in a market where such talent is in high demand.

And what are we doing to tackle those challenges?

We have taken a lot of precautions during the pandemic in order to keep our people healthy and safe, and we’ve implemented a number of initiatives including childcare help, paid leave, a budget for home working improvements, fitness opportunities and even meeting colleagues safely in the neighbourhood. Now, we are working hard on a post-pandemic plan, in which we will combine the benefits of homeworking with the advantages of being together in the office. To tackle the innovation challenge, we are focusing on the attraction, retention and development of talent with a STEM profile, offering them terms of employment that are catered to their own specific needs.

"Now, we are working hard on a post-pandemic plan, in which we will combine the benefits of homeworking with the advantages of being together in the office."

What are the two biggest opportunities for us?

The first opportunity is that the market for sustainable business models is growing fast. Our focus on embracing responsible business aligns perfectly with that. The second key opportunity is digitalisation. Deloitte is very well equipped to support big digital transformations: our organisation is built upon multidisciplinary teams, working around client demands and bringing together different parties in an ecosystem. We are good at connecting people, organisations and industries, so we can come up with better solutions together. Our strength lies in partnering with clients and making connections.

Can you give an example of where our strategy is delivering good results?

We supported the Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken (the Dutch Banking Association) and five Dutch banks to tackle financial and economic crime. An estimated €16 billion is laundered in the Netherlands every year, which, of course, is a big problem and disruptive for our society. Together, we set up Transaction Monitoring Netherlands, meaning banks can now jointly look for warning signs of money laundering or terrorist financing. The Deloitte team included experts in Financial Crime Advisory, Strategy, Privacy, IT and Legal, so this is the perfect example of not only connecting clients, but also of working in a multidisciplinary way.

Can you give us a preview of our focus areas for the next fiscal year?

We are quite optimistic about the next fiscal year: we expect to see growth across all our industries and services. As a strong growth area, responsible business attracts the most attention, followed by everything relating to digitalisation. Inclusiveness will be a top priority, as will people engagement. Finally, of course, as we emerge from the pandemic, we aim to settle on new ways of working that combine the benefits of office- and home-based working and help reinvigorate our people and our teams.

Inclusiveness will be a top priority, as will people engagement. As we emerge from the pandemic, we aim to settle on new ways of working that combine the benefits of office- and home-based working and help reinvigorate our people and our teams.

Emeric van Waes, Chief Strategy Officer
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