Delivering quality work will build trust equation: PwC's Sanjeev Krishan

PwC India Chairman Sanjeev Kishan
Sanjeev Krishan takes over as chairman of PwC in India at a time when India Inc is still reeling from pandemic aftereffects. In an interaction with

What has been the impact of the pandemic on professional services business, and on the firm itself?

We needed to stay as close to our clients as possible. That allowed us to be part of their journey – be it digital enablement, or business transformation. 

On a firm level, we first focused on our people’s health. What worked for us is the investments we made in the past on building people capabilities, and on creating a cloud-based organisation.

We would continue to focus on building the trust equation (with clients, employees, and other stakeholders). This is likely to have an organisation-wide impact. One of the positive dialogues from the Covid situation is the focus on sustainability and the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) guidelines. Also, as clients are likely to adopt a more outcome-based approach. We need to be prepared.

What have been the lessons from the crisis for corporate India?

This crisis has been a great unifier. Any crisis creates competitive advantage. But this crisis tells us that we need to be ready for some crisis or other every now or then.

What are the key business concerns facing corporate India?

The first is the whole digitisation part. The other part is the focus on ESG. Many investors are asking questions on ESG parameters. We are getting traction on all the three at this point of time. As an organisation, PwC global has taken a stand to go carbon-neutral by 2030.

What about the regulatory headwinds facing professional services business across jurisdictions?

As a purpose-led firm, one of the important things is to create trust within the society and the whole ecosystem, including the regulators. Delivering quality work could help create that trust.

Why does the audit industry continue to face relevance challenge?

The profession is perhaps more relevant today. Trust deficit was one of the key causes of the volatility and disruption the world was seeing even before the pandemic hit us, and the pandemic has only placed greater focus on it. For us the trust equation is a much broader and wider term that encompasses investors, customers, suppliers, regulators, and all other stakeholders. To meet the evolving expectations of various stakeholders, there needs to be continued investment in quality, which will mean that people delivering work need to be upskilled on technical and business aspects. That will create greater relevance for the profession.

What are some of your key concerns around post-pandemic business recovery?

Our demographic dividend has to be nurtured and put to good use. For that to happen it is paramount that mid-sized corporate houses come out of the pandemic crisis reasonably unscathed. They — along with SMEs — have been the biggest employment generators and will continue to be so. Liquidity must reach the mid-sized corporate houses.

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