Purpose, above all else

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Throughout my life I have always been motivated by a sense of purpose, and I’m a believer in our PwC purpose: to build trust in society and solve important problems.

And when I’m asked why I left my role as the chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission to rejoin PwC — where I started my career — I think about the role of the auditor and the work we do. Those in the audit profession play an important role in the business world and the capital markets, and I can think of no better way of putting our purpose to work.

Financial reporting is considered important because of the role it plays in the operation of economies across the globe. On a daily basis, institutions look to raise capital to further their growth while people search for opportunities to invest, and quality financial reporting underpins this exchange between institutions and investors. Quality financial reporting is especially important because it’s expressed in terms of generally accepted standards — a common language for allowing different investment and credit opportunities to be understood and compared. As auditors, we get to play a role in the ecosystem that supports robust financial reporting.

Audits are often complex projects and the work is challenging and rewarding. And while an auditor’s professional training offers a comprehensive knowledge of the accounting function as a whole, she or he may specialize in a particular area of interest, such as cyber due diligence, or navigating the similarities and differences between various global accounting standards. Doing the work nurtures critical thinking and communication skills that are lifelong, global and portable across a wealth of other critical roles in public service, academia and business.

All this is to say, the profession is indispensable because the problems auditors encounter every day are inherently multifaceted and, ultimately, important to the functioning of our economy as a whole. They require well-rounded professionals with technical acumen, digital skills, demonstrated accounting and auditing prowess, as well as sound communication and critical thinking skills to operate in an increasingly complex business environment. And given the nature of auditing work, it takes people who take our purpose to heart.

Investing in our people with technology

Similar to today’s business environment, auditing is fast-moving and ever-evolving. This is an era of rapid technological development, exponential collection of big data, and remarkable systems and devices that are allowing us to make our work more efficient and scalable. The auditor’s opportunity for useful, challenging and rewarding service is virtually unlimited.

Through our purpose — to build trust in society and solve important problems — we are leaders in the profession, redefining our brand, and finding disruptive, tech-driven ways to train and develop our auditors to lead us into an era of new efficiencies and insights. Over the past two years we’ve launched and expanded a multifaceted Digital Workforce Transformation program that challenges all employees across PwC US to increase their technology skills. The outlook for today’s auditor could hardly be more encouraging; we’ve enabled our people to rethink how technology can enable us to enhance the value we deliver and the way we deliver it.

Our investment in technology translates into our ability to shift manual tasks to machines, enabling our practitioners to spend more time on the analytical areas of the audit and evaluate a broader expanse of information more quickly to glean deeper insights — all in service of delivering higher-quality audits. Technology is helping everyone in the workforce, including accountants and auditors, to work more productively and efficiently than ever before. Our vision is to advance PwC as a seamless, digital, tech-enabled experience — something you may not initially expect from a firm that was founded in 1849!

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time to be back at PwC at the helm of our assurance business. I am privileged to have this opportunity to advance our work to provide better-quality insights to the capital markets and generate enhanced value to our clients and other stakeholders. We are leading the industry by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in our people and technology. And we’ll continue to invest in technology and our people because we want PwC to be a great place to start and continue a career; whether in auditing or other functions, the firm will equip you with the technological skills you’ll need to learn, grow and further excel in your career.

It all starts with our people — our stewards of accountability — and the great work they do. On this journey, together, we strive to accomplish our common goal: to build trust in society and solve important problems. That’s why I came back to PwC.

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