We supported our clients across all industries and sectors as they’ve navigated disruption in their markets
Marco Amitrano
Managing Partner & Head of Clients and Markets
UK Annual Report 2022

We supported our clients across all industries and sectors as they’ve navigated disruption in their markets

Marco Amitrano Managing Partner & Head of Clients and Markets
Read transcript

Building trust

No matter the industry, sector or region, clients have told us that they are facing an increasing number of interconnected financial and non-financial challenges. Often things that they’ve never faced before. The degree of disruption felt over the past 12 months created an urgent need for agility, foresight and change, and clients have turned to us to help them respond to these fundamental market challenges and opportunities. At a pivotal moment for business, we’ve focused on these issues from a new angle - bringing together the best people and technology to help our clients build trust and deliver sustained outcomes, with an approach that is human-led and tech-powered. Our focus this year has been on bringing our global strategy – The New Equation – to life for our clients and our people. The New Equation addresses the breadth and complexity of challenges facing businesses and society. We recognise that when we combine human ingenuity, passion and experience with the right technology, we can work with organisations, stakeholders and society to deliver faster, more intelligent outcomes.

Human-led, tech-powered

Our agility is paramount to our relevance for our clients. In Deals, for example, we’ve been able to respond to our clients’ needs by redirecting market-leading capabilities in our Restructuring and Insolvency practices to other areas of value for clients. We’ve been restructuring with a forward view and creating value in other ways, while supporting a strong M&A market with a robust Transaction Services practice.

We’ve seen our clients change their approach to risk and, as a result, our Risk business has helped more clients over the last twelve months than in recent years. Notably, we’ve worked closely with the Commonwealth Games Committee as it prepared to launch the 2022 Games in Birmingham, helping it to rethink the risks they faced in hosting the first UK-based Commonwealth sporting event during a pandemic.

Our Consulting business continues to deliver large-scale, tech-powered transformations - from strategy, to execution, to ongoing ‘run’ support. We’ve collaborated with clients to address challenges across the business lifecycle, including the development of industry specific technology strategies, the design and execution of major transformation programme delivery, customer led operating model evolution, and the expansion of channels to market through digitisation. All of this has contributed to overall Consulting revenue growth of 33%.

As well as continuing to help our clients engage purposefully with the UK tax system, our Tax teams have been focused on delivering workforce transformation and bringing legal expertise to our clients. We’ve played a pivotal role in change processes that have allowed our clients to keep their businesses relevant and focused on a market beyond the pandemic.

Audit too is evolving. Alongside our continued commitment to strengthen audit quality and build trust in corporate reporting, we’ve provided assurance on broader, non-financial audit issues such as ESG. The work we have delivered this year for Aviva demonstrates the changing needs that we’re starting to see from our clients.

We continue to support our clients across all industries and sectors as they navigate disruption across traditional industry boundaries. And we understand the importance of playing our part within the communities where our clients and our people live and work. Our teams across the UK engage with clients worldwide. And by building diverse local relationships with our clients and with stakeholders, they create opportunities to convene organisations which, working together, are able to create sustainable economic growth nationwide.

Building greater trust in climate reporting

Undertaking detailed assurance of Aviva’s ESG reporting to help build greater confidence with investors and wider stakeholders.

Investors are demanding greater accuracy and transparency in companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. To help build greater confidence among their stakeholders and to continue to increase the bar for all companies. Aviva asked PwC to provide a much higher level of assurance over selected ESG metrics, with a special focus on their climate change related disclosures.

PwC has been Aviva’s financial statements auditor since 2012, and in addition we have provided public “limited” assurance over several of their ESG metrics as well. However, it is not currently mandatory for companies to have their non-financial reporting independently assured, and organisations are struggling to build confidence in the transparency and accuracy of their reporting.

To go a step further than most, and in line with their commitment to be net zero by 2040, Aviva wanted to significantly enhance the level of public, reasonable ESG assurance we provided so as to demonstrate to their investors, and wider stakeholders, the quality of their reporting and help build market confidence in their metrics and strategy.

“Aviva has a clear ambition of being Net Zero by 2040 and is a leader in UK financial services’ efforts to tackle climate change. An important component for all companies is accurate and transparent ESG reporting. Seeking a high-level of independent assurance over these metrics is a really effective way of building greater confidence.”

Setting the scene

PwC’s ESG assurance team set out to increase the level of assurance we provided from the “limited” market standard to “reasonable assurance”, which is much higher. This meant that we undertook to assure a set of Aviva’s ESG metrics to the same level we audit the financial statements, ensuring it met the same robust standards of quality, rigour and challenge. We considered Aviva's internal control environment with respect to ESG data in greater detail, performed a more granular risk assessment of where the information could be materially misstated, and significantly increased the nature, timing and extent of our assurance procedures. We scrutinised a number of important data sets and statements, and worked closely with Aviva to ensure we could be confident their ESG reporting was an accurate reflection of their work.

Importantly, this higher level of assurance also included a number of metrics included in Aviva’s first disclosure of their climate-related risks and opportunities within the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting framework. This is a new requirement for the largest UK-registered companies and financial institutions. While independent assurance is not yet required, this reporting will become increasingly important for investors and other stakeholders.

“Building greater confidence in companies’ climate and broader ESG reporting is becoming crucial. This is an exciting new frontier for assurance and I expect that we will see others soon follow Aviva’s lead.”

Making a difference

Providing a level of assurance comparable to the scrutiny of the financial audit has helped Aviva to demonstrate the confidence they have in their ESG reporting. It also helped PwC’s audit team to carry out their work in ensuring consistency between these ESG metrics and Aviva’s financial statements.

As scrutiny over companies’ ESG disclosures continues to grow, especially in regards to climate change, this higher level of assurance will become more common, and the separation between financial and non-financial disclosure will narrow. Moving forward, PwC’s audit and ESG assurance teams at Aviva will become more integrated throughout the year, to reflect this changing direction.

£7.6bn Invested in green assets

Learning from our own experience

Our own story has become an integral part of how we deliver for our clients. They no longer just want our traditional services. They look to us for direction on major challenges, they want to understand how we’re dealing with issues such as diversity, climate change and inflation, and how we’re developing our own digital model.

In recent years, we’ve transformed our approach to technology, building relationships and alliances. This financial year we’ve gone further, investing in additive and complementary capabilities, such as our recent acquisition of Olivehorse to help boost our tech-enabled supply chain capabilities. We also made important investments to support our clients in not only transforming operations, but also ensuring the ongoing performance of critical programs through Execution Managed Services (EMS).

This is how we drive aspects of transformed services for our clients to optimise the benefits and deliver the sustained outcomes that they are really seeking.

We’ve also continued to grow our tech skills across the firm, as this is vital if we are to meet the new challenges faced by our clients - the net zero transition, addressing inequality and maintaining UK competitiveness. These new capabilities have allowed us to expand our involvement in everything from cyber security to the Metaverse, growing our community of solvers to maintain relevance and ensure we can keep helping our clients to execute.

We’re also proud to be founder members of Tech She Can, created in 2018 to encourage more girls and women into a career in tech. This year, Tech She Can has become a thriving independent charity, extending its reach and impact across the UK.

This year we’ve looked to play our part in efforts to stabilise and grow the economy. With challenges coming from all directions, our people work closely with our clients to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes.

Digital investment

Last autumn, we announced plans to create 1,000 jobs over the next three years in our Manchester Technology centre. We are excited and proud to be building our technology centre in the North, which reflects the critical and growing role of new technologies to our business and clients, both in the region and nationally.

We also want to play our part in solving the important issue of structural imbalances within the tech sector, so this year, we have created new partnerships with Queen Mary’s University of London and Ada College, to help us to diversify the entry routes into PwC’s technology careers. This is in addition to our existing Tech Degree apprenticeship and Technology graduate programmes.

We have also established strategic alliances with the globe's leading technology providers to serve our clients in the best possible way, including AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP. This allows us to support our clients to build and deploy industry cloud platforms, to reshape their organisations and provide them with agility and to serve their customers and clients.

Ben Higgin Head of Technology and Investments
“We are upskilling our teams and helping to increase tech skills throughout society.”

Contact us

Annual Report enquiries

Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

Follow us