Above all else, the last year has been about investing in relationships.
For us, this has meant working alongside our clients in a way that I believe really speaks to our purpose: really getting into the detail with them to help identify and solve their most important problems.
For some, that’s been about survival - conserving cash or accessing government support.
For others, it’s been about bold moves into new markets, or accelerating complex change.
Throughout the year, our clients have called upon us to help reset their strategies, to lead transformation, and to help them run their businesses in new and more efficient ways. We’ve supported the start of a deals-led recovery, helped our clients to rethink risk, and engaged constructively with tax authorities while meeting client demand for specialist tax expertise. We’ve also continued to drive action and investment in high-quality audits.
I’m proud of the way our people have shown up with speed, imagination and care - and this has come through in our client feedback and the trust that all of our stakeholders have given us.
We talk about three characteristics - speed, imagination, and care - to describe how our five lines of service deliver for clients of all shapes and sizes, across all industry sectors, market segments, and geographies.
Starting with speed, a great example is how we supported the Government in its emergency response to Covid and the enablement of economic recovery. Whether it was helping NHS Trusts and Local Government to stand up frontline responses, getting much-needed Government funds to businesses in distress, or helping devise local and national recovery strategies, a fast and effective approach has been critical.
Similarly, demonstrated through our work in the Retail & Consumer markets sector, imagination has proved vital. We’ve all observed changing customer habits and the huge shift to online, which meant some of our clients needed support in totally reshaping what they do and how they engage with their customers.
And coming back to care - this has been an important theme across all industries - whether that’s in looking after employees and customers, or securing systems and processes. For example in Financial Services, we’ve helped banking clients understand their needs and vulnerabilities so that they can support individuals and businesses through unprecedented economic uncertainty.
And this is a real example of where trust comes in again too - we’re helping our clients to build trust with their own stakeholders and to deliver sustained outcomes.
As well as investing in relationships, we’ve continued to develop the breadth of our capabilities and assets. We’re also able to draw on the growing strength of our technology partnerships, our unique view across industries, and the reach of our global network.
I spend much of my time listening to clients and it’s clear their focus has now shifted to the medium-term horizon. A common theme in these conversations is a genuine appetite for business to better align its agenda with urgent social and environmental needs.
I’m particularly excited about what our clients are saying they need from us in the next phase, which is to bring everything we offer together in new, creative ways - whether that’s to identify and resolve challenges or to define and capture opportunities.
Looking ahead, our focus is on growth through change and we’re committed to investing alongside our clients for mutual success.
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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom