Deloitte: Individual Decisions That Lead to Global Impact
Tax, finance risks, finance moves to make - these are not just your everyday tasks. It is safe to say that dealing with the logistics of money and debts has never been taught to us by nature. So, for many, resorting to an expert is the preferable solution. And this is where William Welch Deloitte -Deloitte's founder- comes into the picture.
Way back in the 19th century, William noticed the need for financial consulting and stepped up to the plate, launching the ever-remarkable Deloitte.
A global leader in audits and assurance, financial and risk advisory services, tax services, and more - Deloitte has become one of the Big Four accounting companies, side to side with EY, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Starting a professional career at the age of 15 is a rare sight, but William Deloitte did it all on his own. Taking wise steps and thinking ahead of his time, here is how he created the giant that is Deloitte.
Deloitte's Founder - Taking the First Steps in the World of Business
William Welch Deloitte was born in 1818 in London. William is a great example when we talk about entrepreneurship from a young age. Only his story happened 200 years ago. Without finishing school, at the age of 15, William became an accountant and started working as the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy of the City of London. The experience he gained here was priceless.
In those years, the British economy expanded rapidly, leading many to financial struggles and no way out. This motivated William to act against the problem. After 12 years working in the Bankruptcy Court, in 1845, a 25-year-old William opened his own independent accounting office opposite Basinghall Street. The same year, Deloitte was officially founded.
In the first year of working, William built a portfolio of nearly 100 clients, many of whom were facing court appointments due to bankruptcy. This made the best grounds for William to prove his impact and professionalism to the industry, taking on the challenge with arms wide open.
William Welch Deloitte’s Recognition as Industrial Accountant
Deloitte’s ambition didn’t stop at the initial success. William was close with a classmate who was a partner in the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable producer. This relationship helped him gain relevant industry skills and establish himself as an accountant in numerous cable companies.
In 1849, William was appointed as an independent accountant to a public company. He became accountant to the joint-stock company Great Western Railway at a time when the company’s stock value was on the rocks. He was the first person ever appointed as an independent auditor.
The most significant recognition for the quality of his work came in 1856 when William was named as an accountant to the Great Northern Railway. He was 38 years of age when he became in charge of an investigation into one of the biggest financial crises in England.
Deloitte’s World Expansion
The following years were remarkable, with the London, England, headquartered Deloitte conquering new continents and industries.
The first overseas office in New York opened in 1880. The first branch office on Wall Street came 10 years later. The experience William gained with the audit of the Great Western Railway he performed was invaluable. During these 10 years, in 1895, Charles Haskins and Elijah Watt Sells opened accounting offices in New York as public service. This followed their US Government investigation engagement.
During that same time, in 1990, George Touche and John Niven set up their firm in New York, which soon burst on the US and Canadian markets. And it took about a century for these independent companies to merge. First was the Deloitte merger with Haskins & Sells in 1972, followed by the Touche Ross-Deloitte merger in 1989, leading to the formation of Deloitte and Touche. Finally, in 1993, the firm was renamed Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, followed by its later abbreviation to Deloitte.
The beginning of the 20th century was when Brazil was a purely agricultural country, with black gold coffee as its only economic driver. With one-third of the world’s coffee production, this country was attractive for English investments. So many English companies opened offices there for business.
Deloitte followed global trends and set up operations in Brazil in 1911 to serve those English companies locally. The need for auditing and account management came from the headquarters of international companies rather than local companies.
1968 was the birth year of the first nationwide audit firm in Japan and when Deloitte Tohmatsu Group was established. It was an aspiration of Nobuzo Tohmatsu to lead a global audit firm in his native country. He was enthusiastic and firmly convinced of the need for internationalization and was in charge of leading the team from the establishment and after.
Expansion to other continents was done in parallel with expansion in other growing industries, including railways, collieries, ironworks, hospitality, banks, insurance companies, and more.
Market Leader Follows Global Technologies
The company is now recognized worldwide under the single global brand, Deloitte. It is a heritage of the courageous young English accountant William Welch Deloitte and stands as a global leader, rising throughout the last decades and expanding digitally. As a company, Deloitte constantly follows innovation and fits new technologies into its state-of-the-art solutions.
The Deloitte website came 6 years after the introduction of the world wide web. Four years after the creation of Facebook, Deloitte global connect was launched. Today, Deloitte has more than 30 apps available for its users, 15 years after the launch of the first iPhone.
Becoming More Than a Service
The total revenue of Deloitte is over $30 billion - all stemming from services in auditing & assurance, financial advisory, tax, legal, risk, and consulting services. Being an industry leader creates additional responsibility for Deloitte to keep improving and innovating its ranks. What employees at Deloitte do is not only service-oriented but based on tradition as well.
According to Fortune magazine, the embedded and maintained culture makes Deloitte one of the 100 best companies to work for. According to Bloomberg Business, it is among the best places to begin a career. Starting in 2008, and for 10 years in a row, the company has been named the No.1 accounting firm by Inside Public Accounting, which further adds to its impact. A superb quality Deloitte adopted over the years is its designed paternity leave program, allowing male parents to also have a say in raising their children.
After more than 175 years of opening its first office in London opposite the Bankruptcy Court, Deloitte has made its presence in more than 150 countries worldwide. This company counts about 345,000 employees and has become the world’s largest private professional service network.
Deloitte grew from the simplest accounting firm to a leader that humanizes the face of future working, scales, and trains the company workforce, and nurtures a culture that allows that workforce to score its maximum potential.
If a time machine were to turn back and take us to 1833, William Deloitte would be a proud man. The best decisions are spur-of-the-moment things, and William knew how to play his cards right at a time when thinking forwards was old news. But, in his search for the greater good, he also fostered a way for businesses to be and grow supported. And more than that, he found a way to make the touchiest subjects, like taxes and finances, be deemed doable and fruitful.
And here we are, two centuries later, with Deloitte still leaving its mark on the industry and still riding the fast train to success.