An impact that matters
Belgium came through the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-09 relatively well by comparison to many countries in Europe, with a shallower recession followed by consistent (albeit low) growth. However, that certainly does not mean to say our nation has had it easy. Across most sectors, growth remains difficult to achieve and confidence about the future is fragile. Policymakers must “grasp the nettle” and address some of the fundamental questions facing our society – such as the future stability of the Eurozone, tackling youth unemployment, migration, and the needs of an aging population. We refer to growth often at Deloitte Belgium. In fact, we aim for growth in our business year-on-year. However, we do not seek growth for its own sake. We seek sustainable growth. Sustainable growth is crucial to the continued success of our model because it enables us to fund the investments that we want to make for an impact that matters – investments in our people, in operational excellence, in innovations that will benefit our clients and our business and so on.
Putting an emphasis on sustainable growth challenges us to be ambitious, to have a reasonable level of confidence in our ability to deliver as a firm. And, as our results show, we do have that ability! Continued sustainable growth is also a testament to our “strength in depth” as a firm, with a wide range of services to ensure quality and added value for clients across the spectrum of Belgium’s industries and regions, and beyond. It is vital that our professionals are equipped to deliver the highest standards of quality and technical expertise expected from a professional services firm like Deloitte. They also need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of a client, with in-depth knowledge about their clients’ industries and the markets in which they operate. Our advice does not exist in a vacuum – and would be of little use if it did. To support this continuous education effort, we have a “Know Your Firm” initiative, which puts the emphasis both on understanding the breadth of services that we offer to clients, and on gaining insights into a particular industry or region. We also invest significant time and energy in education about our quality and risk standards, which we call QRR. At its heart, QRR is not so much about our compliance processes, important though they are in helping the firm to keep on track. It is about taking the time to think, to consult often and to learn good lessons from the experience of others. Staying vigilant and keeping an open, enquiring mind helps us to anticipate and avoid risks. Each Deloitter is responsible for his or her actions, and for delivering to the high standards expected by our clients, other stakeholders such as regulators or capital markets and, frankly, that we demand of ourselves every day. Embracing innovation as part of our culture is another important part of achieving our aspirations. Innovation continues to be at the heart of what we do and how we do things at Deloitte, and a crucial engine for growth. Each of our five business units has identified “big bets”, in which we are investing for the coming years. Some of the innovative solutions, like Digital Accountant and Dfact, are already live and featured in the Annual Report; others are in the development stage. Whilst seeing ideas come to fruition gives everyone involved a well-deserved sense of achievement, we know ourselves to be “self-improvement addicts” who never rest on our laurels. It only strengthens our commitment as a firm and as individuals to continue our journey towards becoming an innovative organisation. Continuous learning and development is part of a rewarding, demanding, supportive talent experience at Deloitte. The Deloitte University EMEA (DUE), launched in 2013, continues to expand its successful curriculum of leadership and business skills training developed by and for member firms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Deloitte chose to work with Dolce La Hulpe, near Brussels, as the primary location for centrally-organised training; the Dolce Hotels & Resorts facilities provide an inspirational setting for the innovative, collaborative DUE programmes. We are also making good progress on our most visible investment in the coming years – the move of our headquarter offices to the Gateway development at Brussels airport, due by the end of 2016. Our “Deloitte Ways of Working” initiative has examined important questions about how we will work in the future. Gateway will be a dramatically different space to our current set-up, with one floor being comparable to an entire 5-storey building we occupy today! This presents us with a lot of opportunities, but also means that we have to make clear and informed choices as to what is workable. Being a “Gateway to Europe” is a conscious choice for Deloitte Belgium as part of a global network of member firms. Our network’s global strategy for 2020 focuses on our aspiration to go beyond being the largest in scale, and to be recognised as the undisputed market leader for the positive impact we have on clients, people and society at large. The Deloitte 2020 strategy places an increased emphasis on global collaboration, particularly in markets where we believe that, by doing so, we will make a stronger impact working with our clients. Deloitte Belgium is well-placed to play a strong, positive role in global collaboration, building on our strengths as the leading professional firm in the Belgian market, and on extensive international experience – which is thanks in part to the global mindset encouraged by our country’s open economy.
The Belgian firm is now well on the way to becoming a business with annual revenues of 400M EUR, having been at around 300M just 6 years ago. That is a testament to the hard work of so many Deloitters, past and present, who have all played a proud part in what we have achieved to date as individuals, as teams, as a firm. It shows that we have made an impact that matters. Our challenge for the future is to continue to build on that great legacy, to build an even better firm for tomorrow.