Financial services in Deloitte in Scotland
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If Edinburgh is to be the data capital of Europe, we must use this as a platform to create and build solutions that can tackle some important issues. Examples of this could be in addressing challenges such as low levels of financial inclusion, a lack of financial education and awareness and help to structure a broader support network for marginalised communities such as the homeless, or supporting in reducing mental health issues caused by a lack of assistance for some people struggling to manage their finances.
Over the past few months, I have been working across several cities and regions, which have or hope to create, a fintech hub. Although they are all very different, in terms of their existing strengths, their potential, their approach and their progress, at their heart, the process each of these countries are going through to create an effective ecosystem is very similar and in many ways highly repeatable.
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.
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 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.
Artificial intelligence (AI): it’s a phrase appearing in the news and in our everyday lives more and more these days. Although there may be some truth behind the eye-catching headlines on AI and robots taking thousands of jobs, it’s unlikely to be as dramatic as it sounds.
Seldom has so much happened in the space of 12 months. In the last year, we’ve witnessed a great deal of change, not only in terms of technology, politics and economics; but in many other walks of life too.
For Deloitte, it has also been a truly transformational period. Our firm has grown at its fastest pace for a decade, increasing turnover by 13.6% and breaching £3 billion across the UK Group for the first time.