PwC outlines US$1b investment in new digital strategy

SOUTH AFRICA – Professional services company PwC has earmarked US$12 billion over the next five years for a new global strategy, with US$1 billion to be channelled towards its digital initiatives.

In a webinar this week, the multinational professional services network detailed its new landmark strategy, “The New Equation” with the company saying it is based on analysis of global trends and thousands of conversations with clients and stakeholders.

The new strategy is aimed at responding to fundamental changes in the world, including technological disruption, climate change, fractured geopolitics and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic impact.

As part of its implementation plans, the company says it will hire 100 000 new employees across its global business.

Dion Shango, CEO of PwC Africa, said The New Equation focuses on two interconnected needs that clients face in the coming years: building trust across a wide range of topics that are important to stakeholders and delivering sustained outcomes in an environment where the risk of disruption is more intense than ever before.

As part of its implementation strategy, the organisation is committed to continuing to invest in helping clients and stakeholders prepare for change brought about by advances in technology and digitalisation, he added.

“We will invest $1 billion to further enhance quality throughout the business; this will include the deployment of technology to automate the quality of our framework particulars in our audit business,” said Dion.

“We will also increase our use of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) technology, virtual reality (VR) and other emerging technologies to enhance the way we deliver, and to improve our services and drive the competitive advantage that exists in our markets. In addition to the services, we will accelerate the deployment of technological products and evolve how we go to market as an organisation.”

PwC ranks as the second-largest professional services network in the world and is considered one of the big four consulting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

“We will also increase our use of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) technology, virtual reality (VR) and other emerging technologies to enhance the way we deliver, and to improve our services and drive the competitive advantage that exists in our markets”

Dion Shango – CEO, PwC Africa

Despite the focus on emerging technologies, PwC will still be a human-led organisation, Shango pointed out.

Digitising is a strategic focus for the Africa business, upskilling all employees and making them more digitally astute, including growing their competency with the firm’s digital assets and tools to deliver services to clients.

To achieve this goal, the company says it will invest 150,000 hours in training initiatives across the African continent, through its new skills initiative, to help businesses, governments, local communities and individuals accelerate their own upskilling journeys.

“My team and I are working on the ambition to make PwC Africa a US$1 billion business in the next five years from the US$600 million business it is today. From a South African perspective, I foresee that we will be increasing our headcount of about 5,000 people by at least 50%. Those are the numbers we are working on, but we are still fine-tuning the details,” noted Shango.

PwC’s planned investments include Environmental, social and governance (ESG) in which itwill expand Centres of Excellence for specialists on key ESG topics, including climate risk and supply chain, as well as create a global ESG Academy, which will enable all PwC partners and staff to integrate the fundamentals of ESG into their work; Quality, where PwC will continue to invest to further enhance quality across its businesses, including the implementation of quality frameworks and the delivery model for the audits of the future.

The others are Leadership Institutes where new Leadership Institutes will be created to support clients and stakeholders and develop new skills and Technology in which PwC will continue its strategy of being human-led and tech-powered. It will continue to rapidly expand its use of cloud, AI, technology alliances, VR, and other emerging technologies to deliver insight and drive competitive advantage for clients.

The last planned investment is Expanding Asia Pacific business where around U$3 billion of the investment is planned for the region, aimed at expanding its business and significantly scaling up capabilities to serve clients.

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