Our Global Chairman Bob Moritz recently sat down with business journalist Maggie Murray for an in-depth discussion about our performance, what PwC looks like today, and the future of our profession. Below we present the full video interview, as well as an extract in which Bob addresses current challenges facing the audit portion of our profession.
Watch the full interview (15:49).
Watch an excerpt in which Bob Moritz addresses the external scrutiny of the audit profession in some markets around the world and speaks about how we are responding as an organisation (4:47).
"While we have grown significantly, I'm more proud of the fact that we have repositioned our portfolio and our competencies, we've invested in our people, and we've invested and given back to the communities in which we live and work."
Maggie Murray: First of all, let's start with the broad overview. How would you describe the performance of PwC over the last year?
Bob Moritz: The performance of PwC this past year was really good, but in the context of a pretty interesting environment externally. For us, it’s not about being the biggest; we want to be the most relevant and valuable brand in the professional services space.
Maggie Murray: What does the PwC brand mean?
Bob Moritz: That brand to me is all about our purpose: to build trust and help solve some really important problems. Organisations, community leaders and government officials should be able to trust us because we have the quality of services and the knowledge so that we can deliver on a consistent basis, no matter where we are in the world. And if you've got a challenge, we have the right resources that can come in and solve that. So that to me is where PwC is really relevant and valuable to society, and not just to the clients we're interacting with.
Maggie Murray: We are in a digital, big data environment. How do you stay relevant?
Bob Moritz: We have to disrupt and transform ourselves. So we are in the process of a major investment in our people. Upskilling our people to be more relevant and knowledgeable about digital technologies is a huge undertaking for us, but it's going to pay back long-term dividends. Second is the type of people we're bringing into the organisation. This has changed a lot. If you step back and look at the number of recruits we take in off of campus (which is 27,000 a year), the reality is they're not just finance majors and tax professionals, they're scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians and the like. And last but not least is the direct hiring that we're doing and, if necessary, alliances and partnerships with other organisations to bring those relevant skill sets in so that we can deliver well against the needs of our clients.
Maggie Murray: This has to be a vastly different environment than you would have faced even five years ago.
Bob Moritz: We're doing things that we never even would have thought about two years ago. How do you leverage data so you can figure out ways to predict where a possibility for fraud is going to be? How do you embed in a supply chain enough information so you can talk about the security of the food supply chain and where it's originally sourced? Those are the things that we're doing today. Our people have the skills to be creative and innovative. Our job is to make sure we are equipping them with the ability to do so.
Maggie Murray: Some would say the way to address conflicts of interests is to separate out the audit process from consultancy.
Bob Moritz: It doesn't solve the problem. In fact, I am going to argue that it creates even more problems.
If you step back and think about the benefits of some of the skills and competencies that we have in an organisation like ours, they are additive to a quality audit. It allows for a diversification of a portfolio to allow for investments in quality to make sure we're doing a good quality job and able to recruit the talent that we need to do this.
The audit today of a bank or a technology company, or an organisation that is leveraging blockchain, requires a huge amount of expertise. And if you don't have that expertise because all you have are people who only understand the numbers, we miss the bigger risks, including: are they actually doing the right things? How is this company able to perform at the level they do, and report the way they do? And do these things coincide?