The festive period is a time of reflection. And looking back over the last 12 months, I can safely say 2015 was a big year for Deloitte and for me.
This will be my first Christmas as Senior Partner for Deloitte in Scotland and Northern Ireland; a role I’m honoured to hold. I’ve inherited a fantastic team, which has helped make the transition that bit easier, and I’ve been inspired by the brilliant clients the firm gets to work with every day.
Many of them are in areas you probably wouldn’t expect. When I came to Scotland, I was already impressed by the world-class oil and gas industry in the north east, and knew that Edinburgh and Glasgow had a reputation for strong financial services firms, and a significant and fast changing public sector. These are all sectors where we continue to be extremely well placed as a firm.
But there have been some surprises along the way too. With the economic recovery taking hold, we’ve seen a number of private businesses coming to the fore in 2015: perhaps most notably in Scotland’s tech scene, and in private markets more generally. Skyscanner and FanDuel, organisations we’re proud to work with, and others have shown there’s a lot more to Scotland than meets the eye.
Scotland’s broad church of businesses and entrepreneurial spirit are encapsulated perfectly at the annual Entrepreneurial Scotland Awards – and this was our 9th year of supporting the event. This year’s finalists captured the diverse and dynamic nature of Scotland’s private companies: with everything from logistics and energy, to tech and even dummies represented! A big congratulations to all nominees and 2015’s eventual winners: Cheeky Chompers and Saltire Energy.
Saltire Energy, in particular, demonstrates that while the oil and gas sector is going through a challenging period, there is resilience, innovation and tenacity in the industry. These are also key themes of Granite, an important cultural initiative we’re supporting in Aberdeen working with the National Theatre of Scotland. Our first trailblazer events have already taken place, to great acclaim, and we’re excited for what lies ahead in the New Year.
This year also saw us continue our commitment to the UK Young Banker of the Year award. Celebrating its first year in London, the event attracted top professionals from across the industry and arguably our strongest-ever judging panel, including Dame Collette Bowe from the Banking Standards Board. In one of our most competitive events yet, Josh Greenway from RBS picked up the accolade.
With continued changes facing Scotland’s public sector, we have further developed our Strategic Finance Leaders Programme in association with the Scottish Government. The programme, now in its third year, supports public sector finance directors who are directly responsible for managing and implementing these changes.
So, it’s been an exciting year, not just for Scotland and me, but for Deloitte as a firm too. We welcomed Ann Aspinall and David Sweeney to the partnership. Both Ann and David have been with us for over a decade, playing instrumental roles in the audit and advisory practices. They underline Deloitte’s commitment to our people and we look forward to their continued contribution to the firm’s development in the future.
With just days of 2015 left, our eyes are now firmly set on next year. It’s shaping up to be just as busy and productive as the last 12 months. You’ll hear more about our plans as we approach 2020, with a distinctive identity and strategy for our business in Scotland and Northern Ireland to make sure we remain the top choice for outstanding people and businesses across the country.
A crucial part of that will be our plan to build a Digital studio in Scotland. You may have already read about this, but suffice it to say for now that this will open up incredible opportunities for our clients, our people and our business in the years to come.
If the last 12 months have shown anything, it’s that commitment has been one of our most important priorities: commitment to our clients, the industries we serve, the places in which we do business and our people. While 2016 is a different year, our commitments will remain very much the same; but ready and able to meet the ever-changing business landscape.
A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all when they arrive.