PwC gathers global assurance leaders in Shanghai to share insights
PwC gathered their global assurance leaders in Shanghai for a two-day conference on November 15 and 16, to share insights, and bounce ideas off each other on the development of markers and trends of the industry.
This was the first time the accounting giant chose Shanghai as the location for this significant annual meeting, with around 40 people coming from overseas.
"China is our second largest audit firm within our network, so it's hugely important just because of the size of your economy. But as a practice, we think it's really important to bring our leaders together from around the world so that they can collaborate with one another, but also they can understand the market," said James Chalmers, PwC Global Assurance Leader.
"So China and Shanghai are very significant, therefore bringing them together here to build our network and to give them access to this market is really important."
Chalmers personally took this as a chance to visit Shanghai for his first time, and saw it as "a hugely vibrant and exciting city."
"It's a major business center, major finance center. I think probably the thing that struck me most in terms of meeting clients was the focus on innovation," he said.
Daniel Li, PwC Asia Pacific and China Assurance Leader, stated that this meeting in Shanghai highlighted the significant position of PwC China within the global network.
"We are delighted to invite other members of PwC's global network assurance leadership team to gather in Shanghai for the annual assurance meeting after the China International Import Expo, allowing international guests to personally experience the development and progress of this charming city," Li said.
The company on Thursday released the PwC's Global Investor Survey 2023, which shared the insights into the factors that most affect the companies they invest in and cover, exploring how investors assess threats and opportunities, allocate capital and determine what is important to their decision-making.
Among the key findings is that investors want to better understand how companies are managing crises and staying resilient, while creating and protecting long-term value in today's fracturing world.
"What the survey tells us is they (global investors) are really interested in the economic performance, the macroeconomics, the threats potentially for companies from that," Chalmers said, noting that it was the top issue both this year and last year.
The survey also found that global investors are looking closely at two areas – emerging technology and sustainability – to gauge whether companies can seize opportunities for reinvention and business transformation, or will instead succumb to rivals.
Technology is also one of the key areas PwC itself showed an emphasis on, as Chalmers noted one of the global trends around audit is that "data and technology is growing and changing so fast. It gives us the possibility to reimagine the way we deliver our work." Notably, to follow the trend, PwC is investing US$1 billion in its Next Generation Audit.
A big area they are investing in is data, which is to enable them to bring in data in high volumes from clients, he said. "That's really important because if we can access that data, then we can use AI and other technologies to really examine the data as auditors."
Chalmers specifically introduced some of the ways they are making use of AI in their business: "AI can do a number of things. It allows us to find errors in data more easily in anomaly detection. It also allows us, through generative AI particularly which is arriving more recently, to read and understand documents much faster to absorb information from professional standards, and bring that quickly to our people so that they can see the data, see the information, and interpret it, and then they can use that to deliver an insight or judgment to a client."