Joining EY's Global Reporting Center of Excellence

Feargal De Freine

Joining EY's Global Reporting Center of Excellence

In April 2016, I made a big change in my professional life. I moved from a senior role in industry (regional CFO for a Fortune 500 life sciences company) to become a partner in EY. That’s a road not frequently travelled, and it was a big change for me. People are always interested to know why I made the jump. While there were lots of good reasons, one of the most influential was the chance it gave me to work with EY’s Global Reporting Center of Excellence (CoE).

We work with the firm’s largest audit accounts to help them achieve excellence in the statutory audit process across the globe. As somebody who previously had responsibility for dozens of statutory audits in a big, complex region, I could see immediately how the CoE’s approach could really transform a process that is often fragmented and not given the attention it merits. Good statutory reporting is growing ever-more important in today’s world.

In a nutshell, we work to transform how we oversee, execute and generate insight from the hundreds of statutory audits in each of our clients. The word “disruptive” is sometimes over-used, but our approach truly merits that description.

When I reflect on what’s different in this role, a few things spring to mind. I work with a young (well, certainly younger than my previous team) and creative team from a wide range of backgrounds, which is a lot of fun. We have an open-plan office, so that we share ideas and experiences constantly and pretty informally. And our work is truly global, as we deal with clients and colleagues in dozens of countries. From time to time, we need to jump on a plane when a phone call or video conference just won’t do, and that can be exciting as well.

I’ve had a few “ah ha!” moments, when I’ve seen a client being really happy with our service, and that’s truly rewarding. We’re privileged to work in a fast-growing part of the business and we’re using technology in new ways to solve problems. It’s also really rewarding when the team figures out how to do something better by approaching it in a new way, and if there’s one hallmark of our success to date it’s how we’ve used technology and data creatively. 

I am eager to see what new challenges I will encounter over the coming years as well as what opportunities for personal growth and development are presented to me during this time. In short – did I make the right move? Definitely.

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