How technology transformed EY Belfast

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How much can a workplace really change in nine years? Fiona, a Senior Manager in EY's Audit team, talks about the tech transformation she’s witnessed since re-joining EY Belfast.

Spot the difference: the tech transformation of EY Belfast

When I started at my first audit job as a fresh-faced graduate with EY Belfast, there can’t have been more than five computers in the entire office. Naturally, I was given one – a perk of being the computer science graduate in the early 1990s.

Throughout my first 16 years here, I stayed close to the unfolding tech revolution. Then I changed course, leaving private practice to take on in-house roles, including CFO for a charity. But when I found myself sitting across from EY – the auditors on our accounts – I realised that there was only one place that offered the buzz I was looking for.

After nine years away, here I am – back at EY Belfast. The biscuits haven’t changed, but everywhere else I look it’s a different story.

The new frontiers of audit

Using advanced data analytics, we’re doing things we could only have dreamed of before. Going into a final audit meeting a decade ago, we’d be armed with a small selection of indicative items to comment on. Today, we’re able to give clients real insight through their data.

Recently, we showed the client exactly which staff members were publishing what documents over the weekends – useful insight they’d never normally have at their fingertips. Watching their reaction was quite incredible.

We’re working hand-in-hand with our data experts to build new levels of insight into the audit process. As part of this, I’m involved in bringing together different specialists across EY to learn from each other. It’s very exciting.

A hub for innovation

From data analysts to developers, I find myself surrounded by people with job titles that didn’t even exist nine years ago. A big reason for this is the investment EY has poured into Belfast as a hub for innovation.

Take our Delivery Centre, which builds the tools that bring ideas to life across our business (“everything from bots that draft letters to real-time reporting on traffic camera data”). We’ve doubled the number of staff here during the past nine months and now expect to do the same again.

A global outlook

This growth story at Belfast is evident in the diversity of our teams. You can hear it in the accents of people working around you. This is no longer a local office with local staff – it’s attracting people from around the UK, Ireland and the wider world.

Our client base is equally as global. The brands we work with are household names. Plus, we tap into the thriving entrepreneurial scene on our doorstep in Belfast.

A place to progress

Before I left, I was very involved with graduate recruitment. A real highlight for me has been bumping into colleagues I interviewed all those years ago, who are still progressing and enjoying their EY career today.

While all this transformation is exciting, it’s reassuring to see that not everything has changed while I’ve been away.

To find out more about EY in Belfast, click here.

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