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Deliver exceptional client service

A relentless focus on winning in the market is the first strategic pillar of our strategy to build a better working world and achieve our Vision 2020 ambition. To create a truly outstanding client experience – worldwide, every time – we have one single vision on the difference that defines EY: our exceptional client service framework, delivered by the highest-performing teams, worldwide.

Exceptional client service is fundamental to how we operate, both strategically and tactically, and is supported by our culture. We work with our clients to solve today’s problems and make the most of tomorrow’s opportunities. Our industry experience, deep knowledge, insights, multidisciplinary teams and strong global network set EY apart. We ask the right questions to create new opportunities for our clients. Our services are founded on a solutiondriven approach with an integrated offer in our non-audit business and a multidisciplinary offer in audit.

EY embraces every activity that fosters good entrepreneurship. We want all our disciplines to engage with our clients, across the board and in every phase of the entrepreneurial and business lifecycle. Our EY Growth Navigator™ is an invaluable tool to engage with our clients. We applied it more widely last year, especially in our conversations with family businesses, a cherished target group. The EY Growth Navigator™ allows CEOs and their management teams to benchmark their current business practices against comprehensive maturity models. These are brought to life with insights from leading businesses that offer new perspectives on how to approach key issues.

Completion of mandatory audit firm rotation in the Netherlands
The 2015/2016 financial year was the third and final year of mandatory audit firm rotation for Dutch listed companies and other public interest entities (PIEs). It has been a challenging, extensive and far-reaching process for all involved, with a lot of time and energy spent on arriving at the right portfolio balance for the decade ahead.
The three elements of exceptional client service
Bringing all of EY to our clients with the right people in the right locations, building trust and enriching relationships.
The desire and commitment of every EY person to be proactive, visible and timely.
Sharing EY experiences and points of view tailored to our clients, thereby helping to advance their thinking.

Mandatory audit rotation is so much more than selecting a new auditor; it involves a much wider choice in terms of audit and non-audit services: tax, legal, advisory and transaction services. A change of auditor often also affects relationships in other areas, and the channel shift has caused a major overhaul in the client portfolios at all service lines.

We have had to bid farewell to some great audit and non-audit clients and have landed many new audit and non-audit clients. We did so by being well prepared, by listening closely to established and potential clients, by truly communicating with them and by leveraging our highly engaged teams, while also benefiting from our global EY network. At the end of 2015, new auditors had been appointed for the vast majority of all PIE clients subject to the regulations.

If we step back and take stock of what audit rotation has brought us, we can conclude that our audit portfolio is now more balanced and spread over more sectors. Our audit portfolio now includes a number of high-profile accounts such as ABN AMRO, ASR Nederland, Ballast Nedam, CBRE Global Investors, Fugro, Heijmans, NIBC, Koninklijke BAM Groep, Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster, Koninklijke KPN, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, NIBC, Lucas Bols, Ordina, PostNL, Propertize, RELX Group, Royal Dutch Shell, Royal Reesink, SNS Bank, TKH Group, TNT Express, TomTom and VIVAT.

The past year was particularly busy as we were wrapping up client accounts at the same time as starting new audit and non-audit engagements. It was a year of transition, demanding the careful transfer of final-year audits, the consolidation of new audit and non-audit engagements and investments to forge solid, long-term relationships that put exceptional client service and quality at center stage.

The mandatory audit firm rotation in the Netherlands was part of earlier amendments to Dutch law regarding the audit profession. In addition to these amendments, new EU rules governing the audit profession entered into force on 17 June 2016 and have been implemented into Dutch law too. The EU rules regulate audit services, client independence and our professional practice and primarily rules to the services EY provides to PIEs. However, non-PIEs are also being impacted. In most cases, the EU rules apply with effect from the audit of the 2017 financial statements. So, audit firm rotation is now regulated at European level and more spread over time.

Anticipating tomorrow’s services
Exceptional client service means being alert to new developments and their impact on our clients. Our profession is constantly changing and innovating to fulfill their needs. Technological advances in particular are inspiring new services based on digitization, data analytics and cyber security. But innovation is more than just new services or technology. It is thinking of new ways to work with clients and with each other.
We will further develop new technology-enabled services, for instance by investing in predictive analytics where we see future growth opportunities, and we will add the digital component to our existing services.

Moving with the market is vital to long-term corporate success
Companies that step up their innovation and take more risks in response to increased market dynamics and uncertainty earn healthier profits over the longer term. This is one of the main findings of a unique 15-year study of 135 large Dutch companies conducted by the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and EY into the relationship between entrepreneurship and profitability. The study revealed that the keys to a successful business include a clear strategy, entrepreneurial staff and separate business units dedicated to innovation and new business
Quality of service
We aim to satisfy our clients’ demands by consistently raising the quality of our services. This means entering into far more intensive dialogue with them, both before and after completing engagements. We use our Expectations of Service Quality (ESQ) framework to understand client expectations before getting down to work to help our clients achieve their goals, and we then measure how well we perform against those expectations using our Assessment of Service Quality (ASQ) framework. ASQ enables our clients to tell us what is working well and what needs to be improved. It is about having a dialogue, making sure we understand their needs and then responding accordingly.

We performed 196 quality reviews in FY 2015/2016 (2014/2015: 211). As at 93%, the percentage of ASQ recommendation scores of 7 or higher – on a scale of 1 (never) to 10 (always) – was higher than in the previous year. We feel that our ESQ/ASQ framework indeed helps us to improve our performance and response. We are committed to improving our score next year in line with our long-term target of 95%.