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Ernst & Young Global Limited, also known as EY, is a global professional services organization that provides audit, tax, business risk, technology consulting, and advisory services to companies worldwide.

With headquarters in London, England, UK and operations spread across 150 countries, Ernst and Young is one of the Big Four accounting firms along with Deloitte, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

In 2019, EY was recognized as the seventh-largest privately owned organization in the United States. The popularity and stature of the company can also be gauged from the fact that it has continuously been ranked on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For for the past 21 years - longer than any other accounting firm.

Its clients include some of the biggest names from the corporate world like Hewlett Packard, Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, Walmart, General Motors, Amazon, and Apple.

Here are some recent statistics highlighting EY's status in the professional services industry:

Let's now take a detailed look at its origins and its phenomenal rise as one of the leading international professional services firms. 

File:Ernst & Young four flags at EY-NMADP 14-18 November 2022.jpg
Source: Froztbyte, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


How It All Began: Tracing The Roots of EY

Ernst and Young is the result of the merger of two main firms that took place over a period of a century and a half. These two firms were founded by A.C Ernst and Arthur Young.

Digital Archives for Chartered Accountants: A History of Ernst & Young

The E in EY

In 1903, the firm Ernst & Ernst was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, by American businessman Alwin C. Ernst and his brother, Theodore Ernst.

Prior to starting this business, A.C Ernst worked for Cleveland Twist Drill, where he learned factory operations, systems, and management. He also had the experience of working for an Audit firm.

A prominent business figure in Cleveland,  A.C Ernst possessed exemplary leadership skills, and his dedication to delivering value to his clients helped Ernst and Ernst to become a prominent name in the accounting profession. 

With a vision and determination to succeed, he set out to strengthen the foundation of his new firm. His other brother, however, did not share his vision and left the firm in 1906 to pursue a different path. 

Operating Philosophy

The success of Ernst and Ernst had a lot to do with its founder's vision and ability to turn market conditions into opportunities for the company's growth.

A.C Ernst introduced the revolutionary idea that existing accounting information can be used to make business decisions about the future and direction of companies. This valuable concept became the company’s operating mechanism. Through this, Ernst helped corporations to operate efficiently, navigate competition and achieve success.

The firm was also quick to take advantage of the market conditions created by the passing of the "Income Tax Amendment" bill in 1913 in the United States. The bill resulted in a dramatic increase in the demand for tax services and accountants.

Furthermore, when the US joined World War I in 1917, Ernst and Ernst was asked to organize the accounting of the Army's Ordinance Department. As a result, the company's annual revenue crossed $1 million that year (Approximately $22.5 million today after adjusting for inflation).

Favorable circumstances created yet more opportunities for the firm. The company continued to grow, adding more partners, and within two years, it had offices in 16 US cities.

Continuing with his innovative approach, A.C Ernst also added a new 'Business Development' department in the company's structure that aided in the development of the first sales and marketing department in the accounting profession.

Arthur Young and Co.

Around the same time, another firm, Arthur Young and Co., was gaining ground in the accounting world. Founded by Scottish accountant Arthur Young in 1906 in Chicago, the company began to flourish and developed its reputation as a reliable auditing firm.

A graduate of Glasgow University, Young initially wanted to become a lawyer, but he was forced to give up on this dream due to hearing loss. Later, he became deeply interested in investment and banking, which led him and his brother Stanley Young to lay the foundation of Arthur Young and Co. in 1906.

Like A.C. Ernst, Young highly prioritized service quality and took a keen interest in the professional development of his staff. It is no surprise then that by 1921, his firm was operating through 6 offices, 150 employees, and eight partners who had signed the Article of Partnership. 

International Expansion

In 1923, these two firms began to expand their operations overseas through agreements with prominent British firms of that time - Young with Broads Paterson & Co and Ernst with Whinney, Smith & Whinney. They also pioneered new ideas, which helped them to grow rapidly and establish their presence in different countries.

In 1926, Arthur Young & Co. partner Warren Nissley came up with the idea of campus recruitment by establishing 'Institute's Bureau for Placements.' This was the first organized attempt at attracting young college graduates to the accounting profession. Ernst and Ernst also continued to grow throughout the 1920s and had 45 offices by early 1929.

Soon after, the world was hit by the Great Depression in the 1930s, which affected the business of many firms. A series of government regulations also limited the growth of these firms. However, Ernst and Ernst was able to expand its operations in Canada by adding a new office in Toronto during this difficult time

Major Changes

1n 1933, Arthur Young retired from the leadership of his firm at the age of 70, and it was taken over by a four-member management Committee headed by Jim Burton.

In 1937, Arthur Young and Co. took yet another significant step and opened its first staff school to train and develop its younger employees. Arthur Young highly prioritized the professional development of its workers, which was reflected in both of his actions - campus recruitment and the establishment of a training school for staff.

 In a few years, the company also expanded its business in Canada through a partnership with a famous Canadian accounting firm called Clarkson, Gordon & Co. of Toronto.

1n 1948, the founders of both firms, Arthur Young and A.C Ernst, died. Ernst remained the Managing Partner of his firm until his death which occurred due to a seizure. Hassel Tippit succeeded him as the new Managing Partner. However, both firms continued to grow and make significant progress. In 1949, Ernst and Ernst organized its Management Services Division which formalized Management Consulting as a service discipline and is a predecessor of current management consulting practices. By 1950, it had 65 partners and 52 offices.

Key Takeaway 1: Take Care Of Quality And The Business Will Take Care Of Itself

Delivering impeccable quality and value to clients has always been the prime focus of Ernst and Young.

Right from the start, the founders of both the individual companies prioritized the quality of services they were offering to clients because they realized that if they did so, business would automatically follow - as it so certainly did. In the words of A. C Ernst, who founded Ernst and Ernst, 

 "We can afford to lose time and money. But we cannot lose the confidence of those we serve."

Both firms hired the most talented people (e.g. campus recruitment) and then trained them rigorously to deliver premium service to their clients. It also carved out a reputation of credibility in the industry for both firms. It is no surprise then that established companies began to seek the services of these firms in order to streamline their businesses.

Hence, both these firms soon became part of the elite club in the professional services industry.

Expansion Through Partnerships And Agreements

In the 1950s and 60s, both firms experienced a period of rapid growth and expansion that was facilitated by a series of mergers and partnerships.

Strategic Partnerships

In 1952, Arthur Young and Co. expanded its presence in Detroit, New York, Kansas City, Toledo, and Wichita through mergers with Wildeman, Madden & Dolan and Lunsford, Barnes & Co. It also opened an office in Caracas, Venezuela.

On the other hand, Ernst and Ernst also entered Latin America by opening an office in Puerto Rico. It further established its business in Europe, the Middle East, North, and South Africa, and Australia by agreements with the famous British firm Whinney, Smith & Whinney.

Through such partnerships, it was also able to expand in Mexico, Cuba, Japan, and the Philippines. By 1960, Ernst and Ernst was riding high with 116 partners and 95 offices in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Dick Baker became the Managing Partner of Ernst and Ernst in 1964.

In 1964, Arthur Young & Co. entered into an association with 36 other firms, becoming a worldwide service organization of 131 offices, 475 partners, and 5000 employees. Ralph Kent became Arthur Young and Co's chief executive.

Technological Advances

Arthur Young and Co. also took advantage of the computer age by installing the RCA Spectra 70 electronic computer system, which made it easier to centrally store information and share it across its offices.

File:Computer in County of Orange offices, 1967.jpg
RCA Spectra 70 | Source: Orange County Archives, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ernst and Ernst also modernized its data processing and management by introducing Auditronic 16, a mainframe-driven management information retrieval tool. These steps not only improved the efficiency of their operations but also led to the introduction of new product lines in the future.

Ensuring Inclusiveness - Women in Senior Positions

In 1972, Mary Finan of Arthur Young and Co. became the first woman at either of the two firms to be promoted to the rank of partner. This was a significant step toward ensuring inclusivity within the organization.

On the other hand, Ernst and Ernst's professional staff also included 170 women by this time. In 1974, it also opened a training center in suburban Cleveland for the professional development of its ever-growing staff.

Mergers and Acquisitions

The journey of aggressive growth and expansion continued for both firms. In 1978, Ernst and Ernst combined practices with S.D Leidersdorf & Co., an accounting firm based in New York which was recognized as a 'Pioneering Firm' in 1932 by Fortune magazine. This step strengthened Ernst and Ernst's presence in New York (and later on gave Ernst and Young its future chairman, Phil Laskawy).

In 1979, Ernst and Ernst took a significant step that not only accelerated its international expansion but also proved to be instrumental in the establishment of Ernst and Young in the future. It merged with London's Whinney, Murray, and Co. (formerly known as Whinney, Smith, and Whinney), which later became Ernst and Whinney. The company grew to have 10,000 employees in the US and 20,000 worldwide.

ey acquisition ernst and whinney

With its headquarters relocated to New York, the firm's business continued to prosper, with its management consulting division growing much more than tax and audit practice. Barbara Danz became its first woman partner. During this time, the accounting world was dominated by eight firms which were collectively termed the Big Eight by Fortune Magazine. Ernst and Whinney became a part of this elite club as one of its largest members.

Ernst and Young

File:Ernst&young logo.svg - Wikipedia

In 1989, Ernst and Whinney, the third-largest accounting firm of the time, merged with Arthur Young and Co., the fifth-largest firm in the world at the time to become Ernst and Young. The newly created firm had 6100 partners and had world revenues of $4.3 billion in 1989 (Approximately $9.8 billion today after adjusting for inflation).

It had two chief executive officers - Ray Groves from Ernst & Whinney and William Gladstone from Arthur Young.

At the time of the merger, both companies had a comparative advantage over the other firm, which resulted in Ernst and Young becoming a professional services powerhouse in the world.

Arthur Young's clients mainly were investment banks and high-tech firms on the East and West Coasts, while Ernst & Whinney had more clients from the healthcare and manufacturing industry primarily based in the Midwest and South. Most of the Arthur Young & Co. clients were in Europe, while Ernst & Whinney had a more established presence in the Pacific Rim countries. Arthur Young's clients included American Express, Mobil, and Texas Instruments, while Ernst & Whinney serviced firms like BankAmerica, Time, Inc., and Eli Lilly.

Key Takeaway 2: Mergers And Acquisitions Help Enter New Markets

Mergers and acquisitions provide a gateway to exponential growth if merging firms offer strong comparative advantages to each other.

Having ventured into various territories through acquisitions and partnerships, Ernst & Whiney and Arthur Young & Co. realized the benefits of merging with other players in the industry.

It provided expertise in areas the other company had yet not dived into. Also, it gave access to resources and talent, and ease of entry into new markets and service lines.

The merger helped to fight off competition in the rapidly growing industry and strengthened its Management Consulting Division. It also gave the company access to several new untapped markets and diversified its client portfolio.

Most importantly, it ensured the rise of the firm as a force to be reckoned with as Ernst and Young joined the Big Four club. 

Diversification - Launching New Service Lines

After the merger, the firm took steps to improve the range of services offered to its clients. It moved into computer-aided software engineering, which enabled the firm to provide strategic planning services, Total Quality Management, and innovative management systems to its clients.

Advisory Services and Tax Divisions

In 1995, the firm added advisory services to its Audit practice. Furthermore, it divided tax into two services: Tax Consulting and Tax Compliance. It also diversified its service scope by merging with Kenneth Leventhal & Co., which was the leading advisory firm for real estate investment in the United States.

Sales continued to rise in the early 1990s. The firm's risk management and actuarial services business rose 7.4 percent, from $9.5 million to $10.2 million from 1990 to 1991. Overall company revenues rose from $5 billion in 1990 to $5.4 billion in 1991 and $5.7 billion in 1992. 

The firm also consolidated its operations in the US and Canada in 1999, making them a single business unit. Similarly, the Central and South American business units were joined together to form Americas Practice.

In 1996, it formed an alliance with Tata Consulting, in India. In the same year, the firm ventured into the petroleum and petrochemical consulting business by purchasing Wright Kellen & Co. As a result, a new subsidiary with the Houston-based company was created, which was named Ernst & Young Wright Killen.

Expansion into Management Consulting

Ernst and Young also strengthened its other service areas like risk management consulting and information software products. The risk of lawsuits and legal responsibilities was limited in these areas compared to auditing.

The firm also benefited from increased demand for management consulting services in the market. For instance, major restructuring in the healthcare industry required the services of more consultants. Ernst and Young became increasingly involved with high-level projects like environmental risk management consulting and municipal insurance.

The result? Revenues from risk management consulting grew from $10.3 million in 1991 to $10.9 million in 1992.

The firm continued to perform well in its traditional service of auditing, and in 1992, the audits of mostly large publicly held multinational companies were carried out by Ernst and Young. It audited 3,231 companies with a total value audited of $10.228 trillion.

Key Takeaway 3: Diversify Product Lines to Grow and Beat Competition

Ernst and Young would never have been the force it is today if it had stuck to its traditional service of accounting and auditing.

It broadened the scope of its services in order to maintain its place in the market and expanded into other industries by forging alliances and launching new service lines.

It was all thanks to diversification into new service lines that company revenues from consulting on tax, personnel, management, property, and finance started to out-weigh revenues from auditing for Ernst & Young, which was a remarkable achievement. 


Restructure, Reform, and Rebrand

A clear vision and identity are essential for any business as they become a rallying point for all its employees no matter wherever they operate in the world. It connects them across borders, boundaries, and cultures through a common purpose and identity.

Rebuilding and rebranding the identity became EY’s strength. 

New Setups

As Ernst & Young had expanded rapidly into consulting, the US regulators and investment industry members started to raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest. The conflict related to companies offering both auditing and consulting services to overlapping clients at the same time.

In response, Ernst and Young wasted no time and in May 2000, became the first of those firms which separated its consulting services through a sale to French IT services company Capgemini for $11 billion, which created the new company Capgemini Ernst & Young (later renamed back to Capgemini). 

In 2002, the firm’s reputation had also improved considerably due to other factors. For example, it was lauded for having a diverse and inclusive culture. This was mainly due to the fact that women represented over 40% of its staff in the US.

In 2002, Ernst & Young acquired many of the clients that were previously being served by the firm Arthur Andersen, one of the Big 5 firms, after it went out of business in connection with the Enron scandal. Arthur Andersen’s reputation was tarnished when it was accused of having irregularities in the auditing of Enron, an energy corporation based in Texas. Most of their operations went to other firms like KPMG, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young.

Quality Control

While it expanded into new markets and diversified service lines, the firm never quite shifted its focus from delivering top quality.

In 2003, EY appointed Sue Frieden as the firm’s first Vice-Chair of Quality & Risk Management. The Chair shouldered responsibility for every aspect of quality and risk management at Ernst and Young – people, services, procedures, and clients.

In 2006, Mitchel & Titus joined Ernst and Young Network as a member firm, becoming the only minority-controlled accounting firm in the US to align with a member of the Big Four.

Cost Saving Programs

EY was compelled to launch cost-saving schemes as the world went through an economic crisis in 2008.

In 2009, the firm encouraged its employees in China to take 40 days of low-pay leave between the summer of 2009 and of 2010. Employees who participated in this program received a prorated salary equal to 20% of a regular salary with added benefits of a full-time employee.

The initiative was applied to staff in other regions like Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China. The total number of employees in these areas stood around 8500.

Meanwhile, growth through acquisitions continued. In 2010, Ernst & Young acquired Terco which was the Brazilian member firm of Grant Thornton.

Consultant to the Vatican City

Owing to the firm’s impeccable global reputation, the Pope hired the services of EY in 2013 to reform the finances of the Vatican City State, ensure transparency, and cut down waste.

The firm was asked to provide consulting services to its administration, including the museums, post office, and tax-free department store.

Further Expansion Through Mergers

The global expansion of EY unlocked greater success when it acquired all of its competitor KPMG’s operations in Denmark, including its 150 partners and 1500 employees across 21 offices in 2013. 

Before this acquisition, KPMG was ranked third in the Danish market while Ernst and Young was ranked fifth.

Ernst and Young’s streak of success continued the following year. Global strategy consulting firm, The Parthenon Group merged with EY to become EY-Parthenon in 2014.

The merger resulted in EY gaining 350 consultants in its Transaction Advisory Services which enabled the firm to provide in-house strategy consulting services to its clients. After this merger, EY expanded aggressively with its consultant base rising to 1400 in 2018.

Today, EY-Parthenon is ranked as one of the most selective strategy consultancies in the world. In terms of revenue, it is the world’s fifth-largest strategy consulting firm that boasts 6,500 professionals and 750 partners.

EY Parthenon

Restructuring and Rebranding

In the period from 2009-2010, the firm cemented its place as a global organization with the formation of the Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa Area (EMEIA) in 2009 and the Asia Pacific Area in 2010. 

Recognizing its position as a global brand with operations and staff spread across continents, the firm sought to redefine its vision and goals to achieve success. With its futuristic approach, Vision 2020 was introduced. Prominent goals for the firm included becoming a $50 billion distinctive professional services organization and becoming the best brand in the industry by the year 2020.

The firm also rebranded from Ernst and Young to EY, and introduced a new company tagline:

"Building a better working world"

File:EY logo13.png

Key Takeaway 4: Have Clear Well-Defined Goals To Achieve Success In Future

Having expanded exponentially over the years, the firm realized the importance of defining a clear purpose and communicating it to all its offices around the globe.

Ernst and Young’s building a better working world provided a framework through which it measured value delivered to clients and stakeholders. The firm defines it as a lens through which it conducts audits, shapes strategy, enables innovation, and addresses issues faced by companies.

Having clearly defined goals enabled the firm to achieve other targets it had set for itself. For example, Ernst and Young was able to deliver on its commitment of becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2020 as a result of having formulated this specific goal a decade ago.

From An Accounting Business to a Digital Consulting Powerhouse

Despite capturing new markets and starting new service lines, the firm did not take its success for granted at any point in its decades-long journey. Going beyond its initial services of tax and audit, Ernst and Young marched ahead and stepped into the world of digital consulting.

Source: By EuroCarGT - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Going Digital

Although the firm’s move into the digital space had occurred many years ago, it gained momentum in 2015.

EY expanded its services line by launching new services, including software development, robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain, cybersecurity, data analytics, consumer web design and app development.

In addition to these, after realizing that digital consulting was in line to become a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and that, too with exceptional growth prospects, EY also began offering digital consulting services to clients in industries ranging from oil and gas to manufacturing and aviation sectors.

In pursuit of this objective, EY started to build a global ecosystem of experts, consultants, and partners to capture a big share of digital consulting opportunities. The firm vigorously pursued its plans by making 26 acquisitions and signing 7 new partnership agreements in 2016.

Due to its dedicated training and recruitment efforts in this area, the firm now proudly employs 20,000 data and analytics practitioners and more than 2000 data scientists all around the world.

In 2016, EY was declared a global leader in the digital business transformation space which put the company in direct competition with companies such as Accenture and IBM.

EY and Royal Caribbean

Since venturing into Digital Consulting, EY has enabled a plethora of clients belonging to diverse industries to re-strategize in the digital age. A great success story comes from the digital transformation of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Royal Caribbean, a company highly dependent on the maintenance of physical spaces (cruise ships) for revenue was challenged with finding new avenues of growth and expansion in the new digital reality.

Its partnership with EY helped the company to rethink customer experience in a digital way to drive growth. An app was launched to allow customers to book cruise services, discover and plan their activities on board, ensuring a seamless digital experience. The initiative worked like magic for many of its young customers who could make the most of their limited vacation time through the digital onboard cruise experience. As a result, demand and customer satisfaction increased.

The data gathered through the app was used to better understand onboard guests’ behavior and preferences. It also highlighted areas of improvement. The new technological infrastructure digitized both customer experience and business operations.

Hence, without increasing physical capacity, EY created new digital income streams for the company – a truly remarkable achievement.

Helping A Professional Sports Franchise

EY’s excellence in digital innovation also helped a basketball franchise strengthen its relationship with fans, unlocking valuable growth opportunities.

EY developed a sophisticated Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) and integrated it with the basketball team’s mobile app through Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Adobe Experience Cloud. The new system provided useful customer insights ranging from match attendance to sales of merchandise and food and drink purchases.

Data collected through the app helped the client to improve fan experience by re-adjusting match prices to make sure that no seat remains unfulfilled. Fans enjoyed a hassle-free experience by just clicking on the app to utilize services like finding the shortest lines for concessions, bathrooms and even parking spots. Fans were provided with customized deals based on their past choices.

This digital revolution created by EY saw the franchise increase its ticket sales by 30% in just one season. Its mobile app merchandise and ticketing revenue rose by 50%.

Enabling An IT Company Become Future Ready

India’s leading IT company with revenues of more than $5 billion also sought a partnership with EY to digitally transform itself. 

EY introduced data and analytics in its business operations, sales delivery, and skills. It embedded automation and AI in its customer programs, setting the company on a new growth path. 

The result? A future-ready digital organization with improved financial performance and better profit margins.

EY’s Digital Transformation Strategy Through Partnerships

EY’s continuous brilliance in digital strategy and innovation is powered by smart collaboration with leading technological companies. In 2020, EY entered into an alliance with IBM to combine IBM’s technology consulting services with EY’s strategy and business consulting services. It helped EY professionals to leverage IBM’s hybrid cloud capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Watson, IBM Blockchain and IBM's 5G and edge technologies to help clients transform businesses. 

By joining hands with IBM, a proven leader in hybrid cloud and AI, EY is developing joint offerings to help clients in their digital transformation.

EY also entered into an alliance with GE Digital, a $6 billion division of GE that focuses on digital software solutions for the industry to develop and provide industry-specific services based on GE’s Predix cloud-based operating system.

In partnership with GE, the firm developed new software, Manufacturing Energy Management Solution (MEMS), which records energy and water consumption in real-time across different locations to present a clear overall picture to manufacturers. Such digital solutions are helping clients to cut costs and prevent wastage during manufacturing using the power of emerging technologies.

Building a strong and diverse ecosystem of alliances by collaborating with leading technological providers is a key component of EY’s digital transformation strategy. It grants EY access to state-of-the-art digital tools and solutions which it combines with its excellent business consulting services to drive results for clients.

Investment in Digital Consulting

In support of its strategy, EY doubled down on investing in digital transformation consulting, empowering organizations worldwide by helping them transform digitally.

In 2015, it opened the global Security Operations Centre in Kerala in India, and invested $20 million to fight the growing threat of cybercrimes. In 2017, EY opened a Digital Security Operations Center in Oman in the EMEIA region as part of a $10 million investment. An executive support center was opened in Tucson, AZ, USA, in the same year.

In 2018, Ernst and Young inaugurated a $4.4 million professional services center in Louisville, KY, USA, and announced plans to open a technology hub in Nashville, USA.

Cut to today, the company is a global powerhouse when it comes to digital consulting and works with renowned companies and organizations around the world.

Navigating Growth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2019, EY made headlines when it crossed the 40 billion U.S. dollar mark in global revenues, growing from $37.2 billion the previous year.

In the following year, despite the crisis created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, it had an impressive growth rate of 7.3 %.

In 2020, EY was the third-largest accounting firm globally in terms of revenue, after Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm also enjoyed a favorable ranking in terms of employment - ranked second with around 300,000 people employed across multiple territories.

Among its three geographical regions, Asia Pacific was the fastest-growing market. This changed in the year 2021 when the majority of its revenues came from the Americas.

Investments in Audit Quality, Technology, and People

As EY sought to readjust its position and business in a heavily data-driven world, it realized the importance of investing in emerging technologies.

In 2021, EY announced plans to invest huge sums (US$10b) between 2022 and 2024 to make improvements in audit quality, people, technology, and quality management systems to further win the trust of its clients. It aims to invest $2.5 billion in technology focusing on artificial intelligence, data systems, and disruptive technologies.

The grand investment plans include boosting its Client Technology Platform, which currently supports over a million EY clients and processes 250 million transactions every day across 200 countries.

Employing the latest technology solutions, EY has helped a number of life sciences companies to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in providing critical medicines.

It has digitized Pfizer’s supply chain and enabled Johnson & Johnson to deliver accelerated medical approval using the power of Artificial Intelligence. It has helped improve AstraZeneca’s operational efficiency through intelligent automation. The firm has also advised TNB, Malaysia’s national energy provider, to digitize its customer experience platforms.

Promoting Environmental Sustainability

Fully cognizant of its global status, the firm showed commitment to the environment by developing sustainability programs for its clients in 2021. It is helping organizations in their decarbonization efforts and exploring business opportunities from sustainable solutions. Recently, EY worked with NBN, Australia’s broadband network, to develop its sustainability strategy.

Working towards creating a green future, EY itself achieved carbon negative status in 2021, which it considers an important milestone in the company’s history.

EY Today

Staying true to its mission of building a better working world, EY has set the ambitious goal of positively impacting 1 billion lives globally by 2030 through the EY Ripples corporate responsibility program. The plan includes working with impact entrepreneurs on dedicated projects that support and strengthen communities.

With grand investment and expansion plans already underway, EY also has its eyes fixed on its NextWave Strategy which is built around the idea of creating and measuring long-term value for all its stakeholders -clients, people and society.

Key Takeaway 5: Take Risks to Create Opportunities to Stay Ahead

For a company dominating the areas of accounting and management consulting, digital consulting, and software solutions certainly seemed to be unchartered territory.

Yet EY took the risk of exploring the world of digital consulting and made up for the lack of experience by hiring external experts and forging partnerships. It not only resolutely moved ahead but set ambitious goals for this service division – capturing a big pie of this multi-billion dollar opportunity.

This strategy of taking risks and creating opportunities paid its dividends. According to industry analysts, EY is now regarded as one of the most competent firms facilitating clients in the beneficial use of digital strategy in improving customer experience.

Chapter 6: Growth By Numbers and Key Takeaways

Undoubtedly, EY is one of the largest consultancy firms in the world, and the journey to get here is nothing short of exemplary. Simultaneously, not only maintaining its position amongst the best but continuously improving its operations and embracing the digital future, EY is a firm that sets its eyes on long-term, sustainable growth.

Growth By Numbers

Here’s a look at EY’s stunning rise in the past three years:





$40 billion

$34.8 billion

No. of Employees



Partners and Principals



Fortune Global 500 – percentage of companies in index served



Strategic Takeaways

From EY’s growth journey, there are many lessons to be learned; particularly with how the company continues to navigate intense competition in the industry and how it adapts to changing needs of its client’s industries.

Here are some of the key takeaways we reviewed:

Quality Service Brings in Business

Even before EY was formed, Ernst and Young separately were two firms that prioritized service quality and value-added to customers above all. To ensure this, they developed new recruitment strategies and invested significantly in training programs. As a result, customers relied on the two companies to deliver services much superior to their competitors.

The same principles have been the guiding light for EY ever since and the company’s credibility continues to bring in new business for it.

Diversify & Explore New Opportunities – Always!

Although EY was a well-established firm in the accounting and audit sectors, it did not sit back and rely on the success of these fields to lead it towards growth. Instead, it ventured into taxation, management, and digital consultancy when it felt there was an opportunity. 

EY took bold steps when it came to not only exploring new opportunities but also pouncing on them. As a result, the company continues to scale up and is now the go-to choice of organizations, both in the public and private sector, worldwide.

Set Goals & Strategize Accordingly

A business that envisions growth in the long run always sets itself measurable and impactful goals. EY’s building a better working world vision has been the company’s overarching vision, and the company has developed several goals under it in recent years, for instance, investing in digital services of going for zero carbon emissions.

This has allowed the company to grow at a steady pace while keeping it aligned with the needs of the future.

Pursue Excellence Come What May

EY stands out and remains the go-to choice in the professional services industry primarily because both the public and private organizations worldwide know that they can count on EY and that the company will leave no stone unturned in delivering desired results every time.

Over the years, the company has built an impeccable reputation simply by pursuing excellence in everything it does. This, in turn, has set up EY for success.


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