EY continues to invest in the regions, supporting its people, clients and local communities
17th December 2020, 9:00 am
Following a strong performance over the first nine months of its financial year, pre COVID-19, EY has reported 5% UK revenue growth and hired over 3,000 people as the firm continues to invest in talent, technology and audit quality.
EY’s UK fee income grew to £2.6bn in the financial year ending 3 July 2020, increasing from £2.5bn the previous year. Revenues in Strategy and Transactions grew 9.4%, Tax grew 8.1% and Assurance grew 7.8%. Growth in EY’s UK Consulting practice declined on previous years by 4.7%.
Hywel Ball, EY’s UK Chair, said: “At a time of intense disruption, our focus has been, and will continue to be, on doing the right thing for our people, our clients and our business. We have grown significantly while continuing to invest across the region, progress our ambitions on social mobility and diversity, and support the well-being of our people during what has been a difficult time for many.
“The first nine months saw a strong period of trading. COVID-19 dramatically changed the business environment during the last quarter of our financial year but we continue to take prudent steps to ensure we are well positioned for the future. We have however not used the Government’s furlough scheme or lending facilities.
“I’m really proud that EY has been able to play its part during the pandemic, whether that’s helping pharmaceutical companies to ensure the effectiveness of their supply chains, the various central, devolved and local governments to manage their unprecedented level of support for people and businesses or the NHS to build new hospitals and deliver the best possible coordinated response.”
North West growth and investment
Despite a challenging economic backdrop, EY has continued to expand its headcount and has hired over 3,000 people in the UK over the last financial year, with 30% based outside of London. In addition, over 1,000 graduates and apprentices joined EY in September 2020, with 45% based outside of London.
EY’s 785-strong North West practice, comprising offices in Manchester and Liverpool, grew staff numbers by 5.5% to 3 July 2020. Business growth has enabled EY to invest in its people with a number of strategic hires and internal appointments.
EY welcomed a total of 64 graduates and apprentices across the North West in September 2020, reinforcing its investment in the region and a commitment to building a pipeline of talent.
The firm’s Manchester office welcomed 42 graduates and 16 apprentices, while four graduates and two apprentices joined its Liverpool office.
EY adjusted its student recruitment programmes for a virtual environment to ensure graduates and apprentices were still able to undertake client work and work towards their professional qualifications, despite COVID-19.
Stephen Church, Office Managing Partner for EY in Manchester, said: “Sticking to our pre-COVID-19 recruitment plans and giving our graduate and apprentice recruits that certainty and security was the right thing to do and demonstrates our understanding that our people are our business.”
EY also made a raft of senior appointments during the year, investing in growing the local presence of a number of its service line teams.
Jane Hartley joined EY, following senior lending roles at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank, to head up the Capital and Debt Advisory team based in Manchester. Growing the team’s presence, with senior representation in the North, has allowed EY to expand the range of services it provides to business in the North of England, while still benefitting from the wider Capital and Debt Advisory team in London. The combined UK Capital and Debt Advisory team now comprises a total of 35 advisers.
The People Advisory Services (PAS) team in Manchester has grown its headcount to 50 people. The team looks at complex issues relating to organisation transformation, employee lifecycles, talent deployment and mobility, evolving and virtual workforces, and the changing role of HR. Senior appointments have included Rachel Akili, who joined from Bentley Motors as a manager in the workforce advisory talent team, and Iain Chadwick, who also joined as a manager and specialises in global mobility and expatriate tax.
EY also grew its International and Transactions Tax Services team in the North to 53 people. Most recently, the team, which covers transactions tax, transfer pricing, international tax advisory and infrastructure and real estate tax advisory, saw private equity (PE) specialist, Jo Taylor join from KPMG as a director. Amber Westmoreland re-joined EY as a manager from Deloitte to focus on restructuring tax, while Dan Haslam joined as a manager from KPMG to work on North West corporate and private equity transactions.
This year, EY appointed one equity Partner and four Associate Partners in the North West from within EY.
Steven Kingham, a Partner in the firm’s Strategy and Transactions team in Manchester, focuses on providing integrated due diligence services to North West businesses, and he specialises in the technology sector, having advised some of the region’s leading technology and fintech firms in high-profile deals and IPOs.
In addition, Emma Atkin, Helen Platt, Liz Jones and Onelia Angelosanto were promoted to Associate Partner.
Emma Atkin works in the Manchester Tax team, specialising in business tax. She joined EY in 2002, after completing a summer internship with the firm, and now leads EY’s Group Compliance and Reporting practice in the North West, advising on all facets of corporation tax.
Helen Platt joined EY in Manchester in 2003 and works in the firm’s Consulting practice in Manchester and also leads EY’s Technology Risk practice across the whole of the North. She has worked on large EY projects across many sectors and spent two years on secondment in the US. Closer to home, she co-founded EY’s Women’s Network in the North West.
Born and raised in Liverpool, Liz Jones is based in the Liverpool Assurance practice and is passionate about working with businesses right across the Liverpool city region. Her audit work is focused on the North West’s private companies with specific experience of working with PE-backed businesses across the region.
Onelia Angelosanto joined EY’s tax team in 2017 to set up a new Global Trade team in the North in response to growing demand for support and advice from businesses involved in international trade, particularly as they prepare for Brexit. She has built the team to become one of the largest Global Trade and customs duty teams in the North of England, with a wealth of experience in advising and assisting businesses on customs and international trade matters from both a practice and industry perspective.
Stephen Church said: “These significant appointments demonstrate our long-term investment in our regional business, and mean we are well positioned to serve the North of England’s leading companies – both through the current economic challenges and through the next stage of recovery.”
Supporting Diversity and Inclusion
Across the UK as a whole, EY appointed 65 new equity Partners between 1 July 2019 to 3 October 2020, of whom 26% are women and 19% are from an ethnic minority.
As part of a commitment to diversity and inclusion, EY announced a series of new actions on anti-racism this summer. These included a target for 15% of its ethnic minority Partners to be Black. 30% of the work experience places on the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures/Our Futures programmes will be offered to Black young people for the next five years from September 2021. Additionally, EY has set a target of offering at least 30% of places on its school leaver pathways to Black alumni from the Smart Futures and Our Futures programmes from next year.
As of 3 October 2020, EY’s UK partnership stands at 23% female and 12% ethnic minority (3% are Black Partners). 64% of positions on EY’s UK LLP Board are also held by women. In addition, 43% of EY’s student intake in September 2020 were female and 41% were from a Black or ethnic minority background, up from 39% and 38% respectively last year.
Today, EY has also published its Black pay gap figures. This is in addition to EY’s regular annual pay gap reporting on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability, and its CEO Pay Ratio. These metrics go beyond the government’s current requirements. EY’s median gender pay gap has improved to 15.3% from 20.1% last year but there is still more to do. The firm’s median Black pay gap is 21.4% and Ethnicity pay gap is 15.8% (13.9% in FY19). EY has increased ethnic minority talent at each level of the firm, with the highest increase of 5% being in more junior levels which now make up 40% of the workforce. This has impacted the Ethnicity pay gap in the short term, but it should reduce in the long run – particularly when combined with new targeted actions on diversity and anti-racism. The full report can be found here.
EY’s approach to diversity and inclusion also includes a focus on social mobility. The EY Foundation – EY’s independent charity, which works directly with young people, employers and social entrepreneurs to create or support pathways to education, employment or enterprise – has supported almost 7,000 young people and worked with over 340 employers over the last financial year.
Hywel Ball commented: “Diversity and inclusion are key priorities for EY and I’m pleased by the progress we are making to improve the diversity of the firm. However, we know there’s more we must do which is why we have introduced more ambitious diversity targets and new anti-racism commitments.”
Investing in Audit Quality
EY has continued to invest in audit quality during FY20, adding 700 people to its UK audit team and investing in new technology.
As part of a further multi-year investment to improve the consistency of audit quality and to respond to the increased expectations placed on audit, EY has also launched a redesigned audit quality strategy. This includes a continued focus on developing a culture of professional scepticism, management support of audit partners, further investments in data-driven audit processes, and additional training for its teams.
Investments in audit quality have contributed to a number of audit wins in FY20. EY currently audits 24 companies in the FTSE 100 and 72 in the FTSE 350.
Hywel Ball said: “Audit quality continues to be a priority for EY and we are making significant ongoing investments. Audit is fundamental to building trust and confidence in business and the capital markets, but even more so during a time of significant disruption and uncertainty. Many businesses are having to take difficult judgements about the future with limited precedent to draw upon. I’m proud of how our teams have responded, using EY’s global technology and drawing on specialists from across our business in areas such as restructuring and debt strategy to conduct high quality audits.
“In addition to COVID-19, we’ve also continued to work closely with our regulator on proposals for audit reform and have submitted plans for the operational separation of our audit practice. We recognise that change is needed to restore confidence in our profession, and we believe the steps we are taking are a clear signal of our willingness to do so. Operational separation is an important stepping-stone towards a reformed audit, corporate governance and corporate reporting ecosystem. However, these proposals alone will not deliver all the changes needed. A holistic package of reforms, including improved director accountability and changes to the scope of audit, is required to deliver effective and sustainable change.”
Committed to environmental sustainability
As part of a commitment to environmental sustainability, EY announced a 10-year zero carbon Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in the UK this month. EY’s long-term commitment significantly contributes to a new solar power station project, based in Norfolk, being realised and commercially viable by providing certainty of revenue at a fixed price for 10 years. Over the term of the PPA, the renewable energy delivered by the utility scale solar power station will mean that nearly 100% of all electricity the firm purchases direct from energy providers will be counted as zero-carbon solar power.
By the end of this calendar year, in both the UK and globally, EY will be carbon neutral.
EY has also been working alongside the World Economic Forum and other large accountancy firms, to develop a set of common Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting standards. This includes metrics on carbon emissions, in addition to other ESG elements including pay, gender and ethnicity ratios. EY is also proud to have been involved in the development of the TCFD Report Playbook for Financial Institutions produced with the IIF and the UNEPFI, in addition to the ClimateAction 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark.
On EY’s future growth prospects and the impact of the current economic environment Hywel Ball said: “With a global pandemic, the UK’s exit from the EU, as well as what could be the most significant change to our profession in a generation through operational separation, we are facing a period of significant change. However, I am confident in our ability to thrive through these challenges and we are continuing to make the investments needed for the future and to support our clients and communities.”
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