Public & Regulatory Affairs

Understanding the expectations of stakeholders and incorporating them into our work

Thanks to approximately 5300 colleagues in the Netherlands, our contact with clients, and our partnerships, PwC is in close touch with society. We continuously ask ourselves how we can help to improve societal trust and ensure sustainable progress. To be able to keep answering this question in a world that is changing faster than ever before, we also actively converse with our societal stakeholders. This allows us to better understand their expectations and to incorporate them into our work.

The views of our stakeholders help us to become a better organisation and to offer relevant services as auditors, tax advisers and consultants.

Understanding the expectations of stakeholders: PwC stakeholder dialogue

1v1 discussions

During the course of the year, we hold so-called stakeholder meetings with our clients and colleagues, as well as with politicians, supervisory board members, civil servants, NGO’s, opinion makers and scientists. During financial year 2021/2022, 45 of such 1v1 discussions were organised. 

Each stakeholder meeting is conducted by a member of the board of management, often assisted by a member of the supervisory board, a young colleague or a content specialist. A report is compiled for each meeting. This report is then used as input when identifying the common theme and the most important messages of the stakeholder dialogue for different groups of stakeholders.

Number of formalised stakeholder discussions per stakeholder group, per financial year

 

2021/2022

2020/2021

2019/2020

Civil servants

5

4

6

Colleagues (groups)

4 2 2

Supervisory board members

4

3

1

Clients

8

8

6

Umbrella organisations

5 4

5

NGO’s and social partners

3 6

4

Opinion makers

4 8

8

Politicians

3

7

7

Regulators

1

1

0

Scientists

8

5

5

Total number of meetings:

45

48

44

Materiality analysis

To better understand the themes where we can make a difference for our colleagues, clients and society, we ask our stakeholders which themes they think are important (material) to PwC and to what extent. These themes are part of our materiality matrix:

1. Quality, 2. Long term value creation for clients, 3. Knowledge development and sharing, 4. Impact on society, 5. Acting values driven, 6. Integrity, 7. Independence, 8. Transparency, 9. Fraud, 10. Inclusion and diversity, 11. (Data) security and privacy, 12. Innovation and digitalisation, 13. Recruiting, developing and retaining PwC employees, 14. Environmental sustainability, 15. Governance, 16. Well-being, 17. Financial results.

1. Quality, 2. Knowledge development and sharing, 3. Integrity, 4. Acting values driven, 5. Digital, 6. Fraud, 7. Impact on clients, 8. (Data) security and privacy, 9. Impact on society, 10. Independence, 11. Transparency, 12. Sustainability, 13. Diversity and Inclusion, 14. Wellbeing, 15. Recruiting, developing and retaining PwC employees, 16. Financial results.

Every other year, we conduct a large-scale study among stakeholders to identify material themes and determine how important they think these themes are for PwC. The more important a theme is deemed by stakeholders, the higher it is located on the y axis. The board of management then states how much ecological, societal and/or economic impact PwC makes in each specific theme. This varies from little impact (on the left of the x axis) to a lot of impact (on the right of the x axis). We follow the guidelines of GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) when doing so. We also set goals for most material themes. We use an integrated dashboard to monitor our progress in each of these themes every quarter, and make adjustments wherever necessary.

Annual cycle

Output from the stakeholder dialogue is one of the sources we use for our internal dialogue about the long-term strategy of our organisation, our way of communicating, and the choices we make when defining business operations or fine-tuning our services. We then inform discussion partners from last year about specific changes or actions (and the public via our annual report), which helps to complete the whole cycle. We repeat this cycle every year because public expectations are subject to change.

Key messages PwC stakeholder dialogue 2021/2022

Take a leading role in developing and sharing knowledge on non-financial information

Stakeholders are keen to point out the growing importance of non-financial information, such as on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects of organisations. They encourage PwC to challenge clients on setting ESG-related goals – such as carbon footprints, inclusion & diversity and tax governance – help them measure and report publicly on their progress, and verify whether the information provided is accurate. In other words, to be a driving force for the sustainable progress of our clients. To achieve this, PwC needs to take a leading role in developing and sharing knowledge on non-financial information, stakeholders argue. To do so credibly, stakeholders find it important that we emphasise how developing and verifying non-financial information is still in its infancy and hence a learning journey for all of us, and that we walk the talk ourselves. Examples of how we can take a leading role include contributing to setting standards for non-financial information and integrated reporting, and developing tools to measure organisations’ impact on ESG- related topics and progress on the SDGs, including our own.

Demonstrate what you do differently because of The New Equation

Stakeholders are interested in our (cultural) transformation and new global strategy: The New Equation. To transform successfully they encourage us to be transparent about our journey, which also means being open about matters that aren’t as yet going well. Stakeholders are keen to know what we will do differently because of our new strategy. They expect progress, not perfection. Stakeholders request us to speak up in the public debate, sharing not only our knowledge but also our views, and to communicate on what our transformation entails in practice: what type of organisation do we aim to be in the long term? And what does that mean for our service offering, delivery and business operations in the short term? According to stakeholders, making clear (and sometimes tough) choices is a prerequisite to delivering on our new strategy. To decide what is the right thing to do, stakeholders advise us to not only use a legal compass when facing dilemmas, which they consider well-known to PwC, but a societal compass as well.

Look ahead to maintain relevance

To live up to our ambition, build trust and deliver sustained outcomes, stakeholders encourage us to look ahead. By discussing what the future of our business looks like and how we can ensure relevance for our (future) employees, clients and society in the long term. By encouraging our colleagues to reimagine the possible, amongst others by stimulating innovation, creativity and the use of technology in daily work. And by thinking about pressing societal issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequality, and how PwC can contribute to mitigating those. Stakeholders encourage us to include the next generation – the voices of the future – in these discussions and strategy decisions, both young professionals within our own organisation as well as youth outside of PwC. Their fresh perspectives can help us to see things differently and further boost sustainable progress, stakeholders argue.

Incorporating the expectations of stakeholders into our work

Helping to sustainably improve audit quality

The audit profession is always on the move. This can, for example, be attributed to changing laws and regulations, as well as changing public expectations in fields such as sustainability, fraud and continuity. PwC wants to help sustainably improve audit quality. We thus examine how things can be improved or done differently, and talk about this with our stakeholders.

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Contributing to a sustainable tax system

Everyone has to deal with taxes. Rules tend to change regularly, and the tax system can be perceived as complicated. PwC wants to help improve the system and make it comprehensible, by sharing knowledge about existing laws and regulations, and by sharing ideas about what can be changed or done differently.

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Contributing to a sustainable society

A sustainable future can only be realised with a healthy planet and a society based on socio-economic cohesion. This sustainable future will offer appropriate and meaningful employment for all, together with equal opportunities in an inclusive society. PwC wants to contribute to this sustainable society by offering our services, sharing knowledge and making ourselves heard in public debates.

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In dialogue about sustainable progress

Dialogue allows us to understand how stakeholders feel about sustainable progress and what role they foresee for organisations like PwC. Besides 1v1 discussions as part of our stakeholder dialogue, we do this in many different ways.

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Contact us

Hayte de Jong

Hayte de Jong

Senior manager public & regulatory affairs, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)61 207 40 01

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