By Steve Williams, Practice Senior Partner, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Reflecting on the last 12 months, one thing I can certainly say is that it has been a landmark year for Deloitte as a firm, for Scotland, and for the rest of the world!!
To name a couple of the big political events, we’ve had a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union – resulting in the addition of a new word to our lexicon: Brexit.
What’s more, we witnessed one of the most captivating US presidential elections of all time. And, closer to home, we had the Scottish Parliament election in May, delivering a SNP Government for the second time since the Parliament was formed.
These events have not stopped our investment in Scotland. At the beginning of 2016, we moved our Glasgow premises to 110 Queen Street, reaffirming our continued commitment to the city and Scotland, as a whole. Officially opened by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the new office is the perfect environment for us to provide our clients with the best possible service. On the same day, we signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge, highlighting the importance we place on boosting productivity, development, and engagement in the workplace.
In Edinburgh, we have just opened our Digital studio and Greenhouse, a venture that will help many companies make better use of digital technologies. We can offer businesses guidance and advice on everything from website-building and analytics to cybersecurity, mobile applications, and above all, help them innovate.
To add to this we have been driving forward Fintech in Scotland through our strategic partnerships working on several key projects with SFE to help develop a national Fintech Strategy for Scotland.
Further north, in Aberdeen, the highlight of our year was undoubtedly our support for a major arts initiative, Granite, which was developed and organised by the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS). The series of events told “the story of Aberdeen” through its people and we’re extremely proud to have been part of such a creative and collaborative project. Our involvement was recognised by the Arts & Business Awards Scotland, earning us a nomination for its Placemaking Award – our fingers are crossed for the finals.
As part of our continuing strategy to grow our national Aberdeen practices, we have also been sponsoring the Oil & Gas UK’s series of Aberdeen Breakfast Briefings which have gathered momentum and helped develop strategic relationships.
We have a long-standing commitment to supporting Scotland’s entrepreneurial businesses. This was highlighted once again by our involvement in the Entrepreneurial Scotland Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2016. Now in our 11th year of sponsoring the event, we are persistently proud of the success stories that continue to emerge out of Scotland. We are equally honoured to have helped some of Scotland’s biggest success stories during this time, at different stages in their businesses’ lifecycles.
Across all of our offices, women in leadership has been another of our main focuses. With the Scottish Government announcing plans to help women return to work after maternity leave, we launched our own return to work programme – a move we believe will help us reach our target of ensuring 25% of our partners are women by 2020.
Finally, this year, we set ourselves an ambitious goal – to help one million people get to where they want to be over the next five years. Whether it’s in the classroom, the workplace or the boardroom, our aim is to overcome barriers to education and employment by giving society, our clients and our people the skills and opportunities to succeed.
In each of Scotland’s cities, we have made an impact that matters this year.
It hasn’t been without its challenges, and uncertain times still lie ahead in the New Year. But what remains certain is our commitment to Scotland - never better demonstrated than by the investments we’ve made over the last 12 months.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone when it arrives.