No Match Found
I am pleased to present our firm’s review for the period ended 30 June 2020. This review, which this year has again been compiled in digital format, incorporates our transparency report as required by the EU Statutory Audit Directive.
Of course this year, continuing to deliver quality audit, tax and advisory services during the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented challenge and key focus area for us.
The pandemic has deeply affected the lives of many people around the world, including people within the Malta office, their relatives and friends. Our priorities have been to protect the livelihood of each and every staff member, both from a health and economic point of view, and helping our clients and the communities in which we work deal with the impact of COVID-19. Given the huge uncertainty, we set out our position on a number of key issues in the first weeks of the lockdown - providing reassurance to our people that our partners would shoulder the financial burden of the pandemic, and that we would do all we could to keep their jobs safe. We recognised early in the crisis the importance of providing a range of support at different stages of the pandemic to shore up our people's mental and physical well-being, leveraging the support of psychologists to help our people explore and cope with some of the challenges they have been facing.
At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 155 countries with more than 284,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. We are committed to drive a strong culture of quality and excellence that is core to our purpose.
I feel very fortunate to be part of a PwC Network that has provided on-going communication throughout the pandemic, providing direction and assistance as and when required, and in having a partner group that has provided support to me, and worked so hard to achieve our priorities. However, the statistic that I am most proud of is that 74% of our people completed our last engagement survey in July and more that 90% are proud of the way that we as a firm have responded to and tackled the crisis and supported them.
Our investment in technology, and in our upskilling programme launched last year, was borne out during the height of the pandemic when, from one day to the next, we were able to transition from an office based organisation to one where all of our 600 people were able to work entirely from home, and continue to deliver on our engagements. At the same time, we continued to provide thought leadership and technical support to all our clients through webcasts and electronic correspondence. Great credit is due to all our people, both client facing and those providing invaluable support to the business, in helping us achieve this.
We remain a strong business with turnover for the 12 months to 30 June 2020 increasing by 4% to €44 million. This gives us a great foundation, and also a responsibility, to adapt our business to the new realities, brought about not only by the pandemic but the continuing change in landscape that the regulatory environment that we are operating in is demanding. As the leading professional services organisation on the Island, it also brings with it a responsibility that we must contribute to the shaping and delivery of the recovery from this pandemic, so that we return better and stronger, in the work that we do and our work with clients.
Our people are key to performing high quality audits and we draw upon a wide range of specialist skills across our multidisciplinary practice. That’s why we maintain a constant emphasis on our purpose and values that address integrity and independence. We continue to invest in our people by providing ongoing professional and personal development, with in depth training.
The focus on quality has never been more necessary and required. This is not only in ensuring that the work we perform is always of the highest standard, but also in the clients that we service and ensuring that compliance with regulations remains a priority for us and our clients. We have invested heavily in tools and resources to help us achieve this objective.
Quality is also required in the people that we engage. We have a responsibility to continue to train our people, and we are committed to continue with the upskilling project that we commenced last year, and where we are already seeing the fruits of this investment in the way we are providing services to our clients. I was especially pleased to announce the appointment of three new directors to the firm this June, Michelle Agius and Joanne Saliba in the Assurance Service Line and Angelique Spina in the Advisory Service Line – I know that these appointments will continue to strengthen the level and quality of service that we provide.
There is no doubt that the 12 months to 30 June 2021 and beyond will be challenging. Global economies are predicted to contract by 5.5% by the end of 2021 while Malta according to the Central Bank of Malta is predicted to contract by 6.6% by the end of 2020 and subsequently grow by 6.1% during 2021. There is no doubt that the economic downturn will impact us and our clients. It is during these times that we, as the leading professional services provider on the Island, must lead by example by re-thinking our business model, and continuing to invest in our people, and in helping and encouraging our clients to do the same.
To conclude, I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work of our partners and staff in ensuring that we continue to deliver for our clients without losing focus. I would also like to place on record my appreciation for the years of service, support and insight that Joe Muscat made to the firm. Joseph retired from the partnership at the end of 2019 after 24 years with the firm, the last 8 being Head of Advisory. It’s been a difficult time for everyone, and I have been so impressed by the way our people and business have adapted to new ways of working while retaining an unrelenting focus on supporting our clients.