EY MENA hits 100-year milestone amid record-breaking results

Headcount and revenue hit highest point in history for the EY’s Middle East and North Africa business, which celebrates 100 years of serving clients region

EY Middle East and Africa has a lot to cheer about this month.

As well as celebrating 100 years in business, the Big Four firm has secured record results – with both headcount and revenue hitting its “highest point in history”, an EY spokesperson said.

With the introduction of a record 106 new partners during 2023 fiscal year, EY now counts 8,000 professionals across 26 offices and 15 countries in the MENA region.

The accounting giant first set up shop in the MENA region in 1923 with an office in Cairo, and has since expanded operations with offices in countries across the region including the UAE, Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, and more.

From these 26 offices, more than 8,000 professionals deliver services to a wide range of clients, from private business to public sector organisations.  

EY MENA Chairman and CEO, Abdulaziz Al-Sowailim, said he was “very proud of everything our people have achieved over the past 100 years in MENA”, and especially this year.

“We have always harnessed the power of our people and network to create sustainable, inclusive growth for clients as they move from ambition to action. EY people will continue to work together both within the MENA region and with colleagues across the globe to create more sustainable, inclusive growth through collaboration across the organisation as well as with alliance partners and local governments.”

MENA region economic transformation

Demand for EY services have certainly increased with the firm delivering record results, both globally and regionally.

Global revenue increased by 14% to nearly US$50 billion, with the EMEIA region – inclusive of MENA, Europe, India and Africa – rising by US$1.2 billion to US$18.3 billion, marking 37% of the group’s total.

This is largely thanks to the economic transformation among the public and private sector in the region, which recently appointed EY MENA Markets Leader Michael Hasbani describes as “the renaissance of the MENA region, powered by an abundance of natural resources and a rich history of prosperity”.

He adds: “There is great opportunity for the region to become a global powerhouse, and I look forward to seeing how it continues to accelerate in areas such as sustainability and technology.”

It is in the areas of AI and sustainability where EY has made significant investments in recent weeks.

EY MENA Markets Leader Michael Hasbani

EY investments in sustainability and AI

EY Global recently announced a major multi-year US$1.4 billion investment in artificial intelligence, which includes the launch of its AI platform EY.ai – a unifying platform that brings together human capabilities and AI to help clients transform their businesses through confident and responsible adoption of AI.

The firm has also initiated a pilot programme to develop 4,200 of its team members, plans to introduce a secure, large language model named EY.ai EYQ, and introduce bespoke AI learning and development courses.

These introductions arrive as the latest research reveals that the Middle East’s Gen AI economy could reach US$24 billion per year by 2030, according to Strategy&.

Sustainability too is at the heart of EY offerings to clients, and especially regionally in the run-up fo COP28 taking place in the UAE later this year.

Armed with a mission to impact 1 billion lives by 2030, EY has just announced its partnership with Microsoft on the Green Skills Passport, an initiative that aims to equip youth with digital skills in the emerging green economy.

With forecasts predicting potential for 24 million green jobs by 2030, according to the International Labor Organisation, this ambitious initiative will position learners to thrive in this evolving market and provide non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with a platform to empower underserved communities with employable skills.

Through a 10-hour virtual course, participants can work at their own pace and learn about key topics such as sustainability, entrepreneurship and skills for employment – with the aim to influence some 5 million lives by 2025.

As Andy Baldwin, EY Global Managing Partner of Client Service, puts it: “These programs are a testament of our desire to continue equipping young individuals with the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world."

The rise and rise of EY

EY was born from two accounting powerhouses.

In 1906, Scottish-American Arthur Young established Arthur Young & Company in Chicago, while in 1903, Alwin C. Ernst founded accounting firm Ernst & Ernst in Cleveland.

These two pioneering firms merged in 1989 to form Ernst & Young (EY), significantly expanding the firm’s global reach and service offerings.

EY has evolved over the decades expanding into new markets, strengthening its capabilities with acquisitions and moving beyond audit and assurance to everything from consulting and financial services, to sustainability advisory, digital services and regulatory compliance.

Now considered one of the Big Four, EY has 365,000 employees worldwide, 10,000 of which are in the MENA region spread across 26 offices in key countries including the UAE, Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, and more.

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