Business and professional services in Deloitte in Scotland
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Scotland’s sluggish economic performance over the last few years has been well-documented. In the face of a difficult period for the North Sea oil and gas industry and, more recently, a decline in construction activity and subdued growth in services, the country’s economy has struggled to build any significant momentum. But could that be about to change? Progress is slow and continues to lag behind the UK, but there is an air of cautious optimism.
To support Deloitte’s leadership role in developing the Fintech strategy in Scotland, we recently ran a workshop with the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Accountancy & Finance students to bring to life the complexities of developing and launching a Fintech start-up. With brilliant mentorship from Craig Paterson of the Data Lab, we set 3 teams the challenge of building a business case with projected expenditure and revenues, considering recent market opportunities presented by Open Banking, and capabilities such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
Unbeknown to a lot of our employees, the current location of Deloitte Edinburgh has always served as a creative space. In times gone by, not only did a large theatre used to stand on the site but also one of Scotland’s first ever cinemas, renowned for ‘entertainment of unparalleled brilliance and refinement’. On the 24th April, Deloitte was once again able to showcase Saltire Court as a hub of innovative ideas and ground-breaking solutions.
There aren’t many points in the development of a business where you get the opportunity to really play a part in something that has the potential to change the face of the industry and make a lasting impression on the future of an industry or a region. For me, in however many years’ time I want to walk away from my career and be proud that the team and I properly made a difference in our sphere of work, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of a firm that holds that value really close to its heart.
With the introduction of the Scottish income tax, we now have a more direct link between the economy, tax receipts and the Scottish Budget. The significance of the Barnett Formula block grant has been reduced, and this will expose the budget in Scotland to the risk of a reduction in economic performance but will mean that the Scottish Government will have more to spend if the economy grows.
With the end of the financial year upon us, now is a good time to reflect on Scotland’s economic performance over the last twelve months and perhaps more importantly, consider the challenges that lie ahead.
Now, I’m going to try and get through this blog without the phrase ‘Data is the new oil’. Every conference with any link to data science and financial services will have at least one speaker (if not more) that will utter these words to try and express the true value now being placed on data.
With DataFest 18 coming up and Deloitte’s team organising our second Datathon in the Edinburgh office, I’ve been thinking about how I went from being a casual competition-goer to a consultant in the firm. To quote one of our directors, I’ve gone “from Datathon to Deloitte” – a journey I didn’t necessarily expect to go through one year ago.
January must be the most predictable month of the year. Gym visits go up, decorations come down, and we all reflect on what the year ahead could bring. Here at Deloitte, every January we report on how trends in technology, media and telecommunications will play out in our TMT Predictions report. As the saying goes, I never make predictions and I never will, but three of this year’s predictions stood out for me as especially significant for government and the public sector.