A new global service center is opened in Hungary. Yet what does EY Global Delivery Services do?
EY is a global leader in audit, tax, transaction and advisory services. Global Delivery Services (GDS) is key to implementing EY’s growth strategy. EY GDS offers innovative and strategic business solutions to EY member companies around the world. EY Global Delivery Services is a dynamic and truly global network of service centers. All of its teams focus their significant technological expertise on innovation, technology and process development to support EY member companies in a variety of service areas around the world, in all sectors, with scalable solutions and services.
What is the difference between EY and EY GDS?
The biggest difference is that EY GDS is part of EY’s service network and only works with external customers through EY member firms. Teams at GDS centers often work on global assignments, while employees at local member firms work on transactions that have a country-specific presence. Many activities, competencies and services are the same, as GDS supports work for the group’s customers. In a rapidly changing world, we provide them with the knowledge they need to function effectively and create lasting value in the future.
What does the opening of the Hungarian headquarters mean in the life of the company?
In two decades, we have grown from a simple service support company to a world-class value-creating partner that helps EY customers grow, transform and manage their business. EY GDS is further expanding its presence in key European markets with the support of more than 60,000 professionals in seventeen cities in six countries, including Argentina, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, India, China and Poland.
With the opening of the new headquarters in Budapest, EY GDS will be present in three countries and five cities in Europe. The office will initially be located at EY’s headquarters in Hungary. This is our second such center in the region, which can build on the remarkable success of the GDS in Poland for ten years this year.
The new headquarters in Hungary is a huge milestone in the company’s expansion.
Hungary is an attractive market that offers an excellent opportunity for further growth.
What will they focus on in the Budapest office?
The Hungarian team will focus primarily on tax services, joining the 10,500 GDS. EY is currently focusing on supporting its tax and financial services, and will launch payroll services, legal advice and transfer pricing services in the year ahead. In the future, the local office will expand its activities to VAT services, accounting compliance and reporting, as well as corporate income tax and mobility services.
The launch of the GDS headquarters in Hungary will provide a fuller range of services as well as a wide range of languages, enabling us to serve EY teams and their customers in the EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) region in a more holistic way.
Why did the election go to Hungary? What did you say about Budapest?
The availability of a highly qualified and multilingual workforce, a stable economic environment and the generous support of the government – the government provides HUF 380 million in support for the implementation of the HUF 770 million investment program – make Hungary an attractive market that provides an excellent platform for further growth. Although we will initially focus on tax-related services, over time we are expected to build support capacity for all of EY’s services and business areas, including auditing, consulting, strategy, corporate transactions and operational functions.
It is reported that 500 people are planned to be hired in the areas of tax advice, auditing and technology. When will the new center reach the desired headcount?
The organization plans to expand its staff to 500 professionals over three years, focusing on knowledge of taxation and accounting.
EY GDS aims to increase the number of employees with accounting, tax and technology skills, as there is a high demand from customers worldwide for digital transformation and innovation-driven services. As a preferred employer, the company also seeks to work closely with local universities to ensure access to valuable market knowledge and outstanding talent.
Will the team be international, or do they rely mainly on domestic staff?
The vast majority of EY GDS professionals are recruited from the country where the headquarters are located.
In the year before the pandemic, in the fall of 2019, major international consulting firms, such as KPMG or Deloitte, talked about planning to hire tens of thousands of people into various positions. EY planned to recruit 14,000 people to its GDS teams at the time. How did the pandemic affect these plans?
Even before the pandemic, our organization offered its employees flexibility and telecommuting, which meant that
we were well enough prepared to properly handle the transition to full-time work for all colleagues.
As a result, during the pandemic, our recruitment went according to plan, with GDS hiring more than 20,000 people between March 2020 and September 2021. The changes caused by the pandemic have provided an opportunity to rethink, streamline and further improve our recruitment and inclusion processes.
How did the pandemic affect the group?
We were among the first to try to determine what the job would look like in the future. With a smooth transition to full-time work from home, our employees continued to do business as usual. At the same time, all offices place an increased emphasis on the well-being of colleagues and increasing commitment. The organization is working to create an infrastructure that supports people in their non-work responsibilities and in their lives, as many other areas besides work are increasingly taking place in a virtual and truly remote environment. EY GDS is still home to efficiency, innovation and modern practices, so the introduction of the hybrid model is obvious to us – partly physical, partly virtual and highly digital.
Are there any plans to open new centers in the region or in Europe?
Unprecedented demand for our services has resulted in the rapid expansion of the first headquarters in India while also expanding our global presence. The real expansion started in 2009 when we opened the first international center in China. Then, the opening of offices in Argentina, Poland and the Philippines followed in quick succession between 2012 and 2016. In addition, we have offices in Poland, the United Kingdom and now in Hungary. We are in a growth phase and are looking for opportunities to expand in Europe, but we are also considering other locations. However, it would be premature to make a statement, as nothing has been decided yet.
He has led EY GDS for five years as Global Vice President, you are responsible for transforming the company. What is the main direction and purpose of this change? When will you be satisfied?
EY GDS’s vision is to drive the development of EY’s services by providing world-class service on an industrial scale. Our transformation is ongoing, non-stop, in line with EY’s needs, changing technology and market conditions.
He has worked for the company for more than 20 years: EY worked in taxation in India (business unit manager), followed by the global tax business (international vice president), then the company’s emerging markets committee (vice chairman) and then GDS global vice president. Nice career curve. What other plans do you have?
In an organization as large and powerful as EY, there are so many opportunities and ways to build a career, and I was lucky enough to be able to play a number of different roles during my time here.
My passion for truth is transformation, transforming companies and business processes.
I am always looking for transformation opportunities throughout the company. Opportunities that bring long-term and lasting changes to our business and operating models. For the future of my career, I would like my future responsibilities to be in the field of transformation as well.
How much free time do you have outside of work? How do you spend your time then? How much do you travel per week?
I am fortunate to have the support of an excellent management team and an excellent operational team, and this helps me to balance work and private life properly. I try to relax and limit my work time, especially on weekends. In my free time I do a lot of activities from research to writing, I am also interested in philosophy and mythology. My duties actually involve some travel, I traveled about two weeks a month before Covid-19. In recent months, I have started traveling a few days a month again. While this number could increase somewhat as restrictions on the coronavirus ease, all EY member firms are committed to making our operations carbon-free by 2025, and this can be achieved, among other things, by significantly reducing business travel.
(Cover image: Péter Papajcsik / Index)