Launch list, best large firm – Deloitte UK

aat comment

In the latest issue of 20, we’ve saluted accounting firms that have shown a forward looking attitude to the evolving world of work, check out our Launch list of best large firms below. 

1. Deloitte UK – Over the past five years, this Big Four accountant has been creating a different kind of workplace

Deloitte has a dynamic approach to recruitment and diversity, as well as using tech imaginatively.

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent says “We’re excited and proud to have won this. What makes this important is the data sources the magazine has used, such as Glassdoor, which rates our people’s input on the company”.

Why do you think Deloitte employees have such nice things to say about working there?

EMMA: It’s our environment. Our people were telling us five years ago that work-life balance was a real issue. We did some data analysis and developed ‘agile working’, where we judge people on output [rather than hours worked]. We figure out what works for the individual and the business. It’s a real meeting of minds, and has been transformational.

Deloitte has also done some great work on diversity. What measures do you have in place?

EMMA:  We’ve got specific action plans [for example, Deloitte has a commitment that, by 2020, 25% of its partners will be female, and by 2021, 10% of partners will be BAME] that we’re driving throughout the organisation. We’ve also got a big focus on LGBT+ and social mobility.

You’ve also got a ‘university-blind’ recruitment. Tell us more.

EMMA: Unconscious bias is most likely to occur at the CV-sifting phase. Why do we need to know what university or school somebody went to? We’ve made the decision to redact that information at the application process.

Is it true Deloitte uses mobile phone games when recruiting? 

EMMA: Yes, we do use some gamification. It’s a popular way of engaging people during recruiting. One of the biggest things we look for in new recruits is problem solving ability. 

How else do you nurture talent? 

Emma: People stay at Deloitte because of the environment, and the opportunity we offer them to grow and develop. The thing that struck me when I joined the firm is how much support there is to develop skills that benefit you and the firm. Also, the buzz here is amazing. In our office, you’ll find people smiling. At Deloitte, people can be themselves; they bring themselves to work. 

More info: 

2. Smith & Williamson

In online reviews of this firm of auditors, which has 12 offices around the UK, employees rave about the “opportunity to progress your career” and secondment opportunities. 
More info:


3. PWC 

Big four giant or Silicon Valley start-up? Judging by PWC’s progressive workplace culture, you might assume the latter. Recent initiatives include adopting a ‘mobile-first’ culture with no more landlines, banning all-male job shortlists, ‘dress for your day’ code and ensuring that a quarter of all food served in the canteen is vegetarian/vegan. 

More info: 

4. EY 

This big four stalwart has 247,000 staff – more than the population of Southampton – but makes each staff member feel valued. It’s one of the UK’s top gay friendly employers, has a well-received ‘Mental Health First Aid’ scheme and is recognised as being one of Britain’s best employers for working families. 

More info: 

5. KPMG 

This is another accounting giant that positions itself at the forefront of workplace trends. In recent years, KPMG has sent staff to work in trendy co-working spaces, and shrunk its graduate recruitment process with its Launch Pad programme. The firm’s inclusive culture means it also organises celebrations for events such as Chinese New Year and Ramadan. 

More info:

Christian Koch is an award-winning journalist/editor who has written for the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent, Q, The Face and Metro. He's also written about business for Accounting Technician, 20 and Director, where he is contributing editor.

Related articles