Member? Please login
BBA 2023 Winner Profile: Company of the Year – EY Japan
From Left to Right, Julia Longbottom CMG (British Ambassador to Japan), Keith H Thomas (EY), Rebecca McKavanagh (EY), Richard Johnston (EY), Natsuko Higano (EY), Nami Kawamura (EY)
Written by Sterling Content
December 21, 2023
British Business Awards
EY Japan Co., Ltd. has been awarded a British Business Award (BBA) in the category of Company of the Year at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s annual black-tie gala celebrating UK–Japan relations.
The professional services firm, whose main services are assurance, tax, consulting and strategy & transactions, were lauded by an esteemed panel of judges from the UK–Japan community for showing excellence and innovation across their organisation. EY Japan’s outstanding achievements encompassed digital and technological innovation, social and environmental sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Reflecting on the win, Keith Thomas, associate partner at EY Japan, said the BBA is a recognition of, and reward for, the dedicated work of the thousands of employees who work with purpose and go above and beyond what is required to make a difference to society.
Their efforts contribute to EY’s purpose of building a better working world.
Providing long-term value
According to results from fiscal year 2022, EY Japan is showing significant progress towards its Long-term Value Vision, which outlines efforts under the themes of planet, social value and talent. For example, 54% of the firm’s energy comes from renewable sources, and emissions from business trips have been reduced by 35% compared to 2019.
In fiscal year 2023, 2,364 staff participated in EY Japan Ripples, a corporate responsibility programme, and EY Japan attained Rainbow (the highest grade) in the Pride Index, which evaluates companies’ initiatives to promote LGBT+ inclusion.
Looking forward, the firm outlined ambitious targets in its Integrated Report 2022. By 2025, it aims to be net zero, with 100% renewable energy use at offices. By 2024, 80% of office waste will be recycled.
In the area of DEI, EY Japan is aiming for women to hold 15% of senior positions by fiscal year 25. They also aim to have 20 registered DEI preferred suppliers by fiscal year 25, up from 80% in fiscal year 22.
“We aim to be transparent about our targets, to set standards for ourselves and to provide a good example for companies,” explained Thomas, adding that EY Japan aims to be accountable, credible and realistic in goal setting.
In declaring its intentions and supporting its vendors to do the same, while providing a vast number of services, EY Japan hopes to offer long-term value for its people, clients and society.
“By providing complete services, from strategy setting to implementation, we hope our work is more useful to clients and more rewarding for our people,” said Thomas.
Focusing on value creation also means staff increasingly are considered “trusted advisors” rather than providers of “transactional services,” added Rebecca McKavanagh, senior manager at EY Japan.
In 2022, EY Japan generated total revenues of ¥173 billion, equating to year-on-year growth of 12.6%, and held the largest market share of IPOs in Japan. As part of its strong commitment to develop talent, the firm also grew its workforce by 8.5% in the past 12 months and achieved 100% uptake of flexible working. Each team member also gained an average of 56 hours of learning.
Amid growing economic uncertainty, the firm supported clients in their response to supply chain disruption resulting from geopolitical risks, including by developing business strategies to maintain economic security.
The firm also worked closely with its alliance partners to create frameworks that can address areas such as climate change and biodiversity. For example, an alliance with Microsoft allows EY Japan to use detailed, real-time data generated by Microsoft to visualise sustainability and support ESG management initiatives.
In September 2023, EY launched EY.ai, “a unifying platform that brings together human capabilities ad artificial intelligence to help clients transform their businesses through confident and responsible adoption of AI.”
The move is the culmination of $1.4 billion in investments made over the past 18 months. AI is embedded into proprietary EY technologies and people are put at the centre of AI. EY’s employees now have access to AI to support them in their work.
EY also supports the digital transformation of clients. For example, in Okinawa Prefecture, EY Japan is field-testing chatbot solutions and collecting data about rental car usage to visualise the needs and behaviours of tourists, which is expected to support the local tourism industry. Meanwhile, at EY Digital Hub Fukuoka, children who face difficulties attending school use avatars to interact in a metaverse space.
“We’re engaging more and more in the regions, to support local businesses and infrastructure, as well as the next generation of companies,” said Thomas, adding that EY Japan has offices throughout the country.
“Our team members try to identify what’s right for each client, depending on many factors including the region, and appreciate that there can be no one-size-fits-all approach,” added McKavanagh.
Environmental, social and governance
EY Japan provides advice to companies and governmental organisations on issues such as sustainable procurement, measuring the impact of investments and showcasing standards relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and implementation of ISO 20121 (Sustainable Events).
The firm also supports companies to comply with the taskforce on the nature-related financial disclosures risk and opportunity disclosure framework.
In DEI, EY Japan released a social equity campaign in which eight employees told their DEI stories, which were shared internally and externally.
“We want people to be comfortable to be themselves when they come to work. And people responded to that by volunteering to tell their stories in their own words, to set examples for their peers,” said Thomas.
In addition to the BBA, the firm has scooped several high-profile awards recently. In 2022, EY Japan won the SAP Asia Pacific Japan Partner Excellence Award for driving customer digital transformation and sustainable growth. It was also named as the Microsoft Global Sustainability Changemaker Partner of the Year in 2023.
EY, meanwhile, won the Corporate Travel Community APAC Environmental Sustainability Travel Program of the Year award for 2023 in Singapore.
Thomas reflected that as the BBA is for Company of the Year, it recognises the work of every employee, regardless of their specialism, making it very special.
“One hundred percent of our business is people,” said Thomas. “The BBA is recognition of them and everything they have done.”