EY announces winners of the Better Begins With You programme

06 February 2020 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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Global accounting and consulting giant EY has announced the winners of its inaugural Better Begins With You programme. The awards celebrated the work of Cedric Teyssen, Ruben Schoenmaekers, Adrienn Demeter, Timothy Higgins, EY’s Innovation team in Canada and a group of EY professionals who helped the Puerto Rican Government to make its budget more transparent.

Business cannot afford to ignore purpose-led consumption anymore, as the majority of consumers now expect companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as sustainability, transparency and fair employment practices. A 2018 study from Accenture found that the direct impact on future revenue by trust events already conservatively stands at $180 billion across 7,000 companies analysed, or an approximate loss of $4 billion for a $30 billion company, illustrating the risks companies run should they fail to make progress on this front.

The consulting industry is no different than any other in this regard, and so the trend toward customers demanding more from their brands has led to consulting firms launching a range of ‘purpose driven’ initiatives in recent years. This means going above and beyond the usual acts of fundraising all CSR campaigns have historically leant upon, while backing up more wide-reaching campaigns. Two years ago this saw some of the industry’s largest figures help launch a continuing global ocean-cleaning effort, while BearingPoint celebrated its 10th anniversary by signing the UN Global Compact in 2019.

The advisory and auditing world’s largest companies – the Big Four of Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG – are having to make a particularly concerted effort in this regard. Following a number of accounting scandals like Carillion being linked to the quartet, as well as the Panama Papers having revealed their role in helping clients shift wealth to tax havens which foster damaging environmental policies – the firms are each having to take major steps to restore their reputations among clients.

In the case of EY, this has seen the launch of the company’s new ‘Better Begins With You’ (BBWY) award programme. The global initiative has been launched by EY in order to celebrate individuals at the firm who have gone the extra mile to help battle climate change, helped build stronger local communities, pursued innovation to solve some of the world’s pressing problems, or strengthened high performing teams at the company. The global winners share a $1 million prize fund to invest and further develop the initiatives which they have helped develop – encouraging more individuals to try and emulate them in the future.

Cedric Teyssen, Ruben Schoenmaekers, Adrienn Demeter and Timothy Higgins

EY has announced the inaugural winners of the BBWY programme’s four categories at a ceremony in Singapore in late 2019. The event was attended by around 50 global finalists and leadership members from across EY, and the daytime celebration included engaging speakers, tours of the city’s landmarks and iconic cuisine before an evening gala dinner saw the winners announced.

In the category for driving exceptional client service, the Belgium-based duo of Senior Consultant Cedric Teyssen and Lawyer Ruben Schoenmaekers were commended for going beyond their everyday responsibilities to connect with entrepreneurs. The pair ran a series of friendly, informal and free-of-charge sessions, where founders could consult them both over their most pressing business questions.

Meanwhile, the prize for strengthening communities saw Australia-based FSO Senior Consultant Adrienn Demeter and UK-based FSO Consultant Timothy Higgins lauded for working with Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit organisation in Kenya providing a diversity of services, including access to water, health care, education, community advocacy and occupational training. They used their own personal time to provide strategic and technical experience to help the organisation conduct data analytics to uncover valuable insights into their work.

The award for pursuing innovation went to the whole EY Innovation team in Canada, after it collaborated with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to examine its processes to find new opportunities to drive efficiencies and better serve donors and partners. The team utilised a blockchain solution to improve transparency, driving potential improvements in efficiency and cost savings, as well as better outcomes for patients.

Finally, the prize for exemplifying the highest performing teams went to a multidisciplinary team of EY professionals which worked through myriad challenges to help rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico, which has recently been hit by various natural disasters. The team successfully transformed the Puerto Rican Government’s annual budget process to instil greater transparency and controls than ever before.

Trent Henry, EY Global Vice Chair – Talent, said of the winners, “Each and every one of our BBWY global winners represent the very best of who we are at EY, by bringing our purpose of building a better working world to life. The program celebrates EY people for their exceptional achievements, and it also tells a story about the incredible impact the work of EY people has on the world around them. A huge congratulations to all the global winners, and the finalists too.”