EY Brings Global Delivery Services Center to Hungary, Eyes Further Expansion

Interview

Srini Rao

EY’s Global Delivery Services (GDS) Center will be housed at the Hungarian headquarters and aims to employ 500 professionals in the next three years. The Budapest Business Journal talks to Srini Rao, global vice-chair at EY GDS, about how the Big Four player expects the Budapest office to bring a fuller line to its service offering by supporting internal operations.

EY sees GDS as playing a vital role in the delivery of its growth strategy. Over two decades, the unit has evolved from providing simple delivery support to a 60,000-strong network of professionals. With the addition of Budapest, they are now based in 18 cities across seven countries, including Argentina, China, India, the Philippines, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

EY GDS is continuously exploring possibilities to increase its presence in key markets in Europe. In this context, the new center in Budapest will be the fifth city for the service in Europe, and it will initially share space in EY Hungary’s headquarters.

“EY Global Delivery Services is a dynamic and truly global network of service delivery centers. EY GDS teams combine deep technical knowledge with a focus on innovation, technology, and process improvement to create scalable services to support all EY member firms, service lines, and functions across all geographies and sectors,” Rao tells the BBJ.

Part of EY’s delivery network, GDS only works with external clients through EY member firms. Teams in GDS centers often work on global client accounts, where local member firm teams may focus more on in-country clients. Many of the activities, competencies, and services are the same because GDS helps deliver client work.

“Together, we help our clients capitalize on transformative opportunities. We also help them fulfill regulatory requirements, keep investors informed and meet the needs of all of their stakeholders. And in a fast-changing world, we give them the support they need to be effective today and create long-term value for tomorrow,” Rao explains.

Attractive Location

The Hungarian capital is an attractive place for setting up EY’s GDS center. The combination of highly-skilled talent, the availability of multi-language capabilities, the stable economic environment, and support from the Hungarian government were all factors when EY decided to base the center here. The HUF 767 million investment is supported by a Hungarian government grant of HUF 384 mln.

Initially, the center will focus on tax-related services, joining the 10,500-strong international team. However, EY has big plans for the center. Via planned capacity and capability building, the hub will support all EY service lines and business disciplines, including audit, consulting, strategy, transactions, and operation functions.

“The EY GDS team in Hungary is currently focused on delivering services to support EY’s tax finance operate service, and in the year ahead, will launch payroll services, legal managed services, and transfer pricing services. It also plans to expand into VAT services, accounting compliance and reporting, corporate income tax, and mobility services in the future. Adding a GDS center in Hungary brings a fuller-service offering, as well as additional language capabilities, and will enable GDS to serve EMEIA-based EY teams and their clients in a more holistic way,” the global vice-chair says.

As confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, EY is planning to scale up its GDS center activities to employ almost 500 professionals by the end of 2024, with a specific focus on tax and accounting-related skills. EY GDS is looking to increase its workforce with accounting, tax, and technology skills, given the strong demand for digital transformation and innovation-led services from clients worldwide.

EY GDS also seeks strong cooperation with local universities to provide valuable market knowledge and access to quality talent.

Diverse and Inclusive

“Known for its purpose of building a better working world, EY offers a diverse and inclusive culture where people are empowered to be intentional about their careers, to embrace continuous learning, and to seek out the experiences and skills that will help them bring out the best in themselves and others,” Rao says.

What are the career opportunities for Hungarian talent? EY’s GDS aspires to grow its extensive workforce continuously.

“Every day, EY GDS builds an exceptional experience for this mammoth workforce where each has a say, feels inspired and motivated to bring their authentic selves to work, and feels a sense of belonging. The organization focuses on empowering people to be intentional about their careers, seeking out the experiences and the learning, the skills, the impact, the leadership behaviors that will help them bring out the best in themselves and others,” according to Rao.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other companies, EY’s GDS teams did the best they could to transition into working from home seamlessly. The firm insists it was able to continue business as usual overnight. The vice-chair adds that he believes that such arrangements will be characteristic of what the future of work will look like. There is also an increased focus on well-being and engagement.

“The organization focuses on creating an infrastructure to support people in their roles beyond work as primary caregivers; this is in an increasingly virtual and truly remote environment. EY GDS continues to be the epicenter of efficiency, innovation, and modern practices and has evolved into a hybrid model, part physical, part virtual, and highly digital,” Rao concludes.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 3, 2021.

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