ACCOUNTANCY

Portugal 2019 | ECONOMY | B2B

Consultancies work to add value to their clients by bringing in new ideas, providing links to foreign companies and markets, and introducing new methodologies.

Sérgio do Monte Lee
SÉRGIO DO MONTE LEE
Partner
Deloitte
José Manuel Bernardo
JOSÉ MANUEL BERNARDO
Partner
PwC

What have been the main milestones and achievements of the company's operations in Portugal?

SÉRGIO DO MONTE LEE Deloitte Portugal has an undisputed leadership in professional services. We are ranked number one in delivering professional services among the Big Four and hold the largest market share in tax services for the 250 largest national companies. In Portugal, we employ more than 2,500 practitioners, and our cluster has regional rights to operate in Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. More than 60% of our business is in Portugal, 20% in Africa, and the remainder comes from other Deloitte's practices. Across the global network of Deloitte, we are also a reference in innovation and technology areas through our seven centers of excellence in financial and non-financial services. We recently announced a new location in Portugal, in Viseu, where we opened a technological center, to reinforce the center of excellence in Outsystems. We aim to be the best in all that we do to help clients realize their ambitions, make a positive difference in society, and maximize the success of our people.

JOSÉ MANUEL BERNARDO We initially had a significant consultancy business in Portugal, and most of that business was sold around 2002 to IBM to create IBM Consulting Services, which was one of our main milestones. Since then, we have been doing other things in terms of consultancy, mostly in IT. We later set up departments for deals, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and so on and started doing more business in areas such as incentives, processes, revenue improvement, and so on and less in IT. We are creating areas of competences in terms of the digital space, technologies, and AI. We are focused on these now together with assurance and tax consultancy. We also set up a legal firm here called CCR Law, a separate entity, in early 2018 to operate in the legal space. CCR Law is a member of PwC's legal network. Our key clients are Banco Santander, Total, BPI, Galp, EDP, and Millennium BCP, among others. Our revenue is above USD120 million, though it is significant in the context of the firm or in the context of the UK, for example. It is a reasonable market of 10 million people and is in line with the other PwC firms in this scale.

What makes Portugal so attractive for investment?

SDML It is a combination of different factors. First, the country's economic, social, and political stability has been especially relevant in a decade of unrest in many regions of the world. Second, our recent governments have followed tax, administrative, and regulation policies that favor investment in the country; increased flexibility in labor laws is a great example of such measures. Finally, investors have access to high-skilled labor at a competitive cost compared to the majority of our European neighbors. When combined with foreign language proficiency and an increased culture of client service, it makes Portugal particularly attractive to the establishment of nearshore operations.

JMB In the areas of services and technology, for example, we have great potential because young people are skilled in foreign languages, education is excellent, we have a great communications network, and it is a peaceful country. It is not that expensive, especially outside of Lisbon and Porto; therefore, the country has a great deal to offer. It is a seven-hour flight to the US or Moscow, meaning it is right in the middle.

What are your main goals and priorities for the year ahead?

SDML Leading business through innovation is one of our key priorities. In our experience, innovation results from the convergence of a wide range of perspectives, knowledge, and insight focused on specific industries and issues. Young generations are also challenging top management approaches. The latest Deloitte Millennial Survey shows a dramatic, negative shift in their feelings about business motivations and ethics. Therefore, attracting and retaining millennials will be also a key priority for us.

JMB We have a significant position in the insurance market that we want to continue, and we are doing a great deal of work and investment in new technologies. We are reinforcing our advisory practice by bringing in engineers, IT experts, mathematicians, and experts in machine learning, AI, blockchain, and others because we have competitors in the market and need to do something different. For example, cybersecurity is one area of concern for us. There are many issues in terms of cybersecurity in the market, and this area has great potential. That is why we are contracting people and investing significantly there. ✖