The 7 Drivers of Growth

Annette Kimmitt, EY

Annette Kimmitt

Editors’ Note

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Annette Kimmitt is a global executive who has built her reputation on designing large, complex and transformative projects. She is a recognized leader for empowering women and supporting entrepreneurship. In 2013, she co-founded Scale Investors, the first seed capital organization in Australia to equip female investors with opportunities to invest in and support high-growth, female-led businesses at an early stage in their development.

Company Brief

The global EY organization (ey.com) is a leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. In the Americas – EY’s largest area – member firms employ more than 70,000 people across 30 countries and generate $14.5 billion in revenues. Globally, EY member firms employ nearly 250,000 people and generate $31.4 billion in revenues.

How do you define your role at EY?

I am responsible for all of EY’s global efforts that focus on supporting middle market companies. Importantly, this includes all of our programs and initiatives that support entrepreneurs and start-ups.

What was the vision around creating EY’s 7 Dirvers of Growth?

Our goal is to focus on companies in the middle market and accelerate their growth. Our latest research shows that over one-third of middle market companies around the world plan to grow at 6 to 10 percent this year, far outpacing the latest World Bank global GDP growth forecasts of 3.4 percent. It is the middle market that is driving growth and job creation the world over.

We know from working with the world’s fastest-growing businesses that focusing on a broad set of capabilities can accelerate and deliver far more sustainable growth. We developed the EY 7 Drivers of Growth, a specific set of enablers, to help all businesses with high growth aspirations to hone a targeted focus to successfully execute their growth strategy over the long term.

How much has technology disrupted the profession?

Technology has the potential to seriously disrupt our profession, particularly our traditional businesses. However, I don’t see it replacing the core strength of our business: our people. The goal is to put talent and technology side by side, to free up our people to focus on different types of value-added paths with our clients.

We can drive a far more effective audit process through technology, for example, which has freed up our people to engage more with our clients around their businesses and how we can help them solve their biggest problems.

It is critical that our people continue to have great skills in knowing how to leverage technology.

What impact do start-ups and high-growth companies have on the economy?

What we’re seeing in the market today is that innovation is the primary driver of economic growth and job creation. We recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. This program is so important because it enables women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses. To mark the anniversary, we published an impact study of the businesses that have been through our program. More than 400 women-led businesses across 50 countries have seen 35 percent average CAGR and have grown their headcount by 166 percent over the last 10 years.

Last year, we published a similar impact study of EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) program in the U.S. over its 30 year history and, once again, the figures are staggering. Winners of the EY EOY Award pumped an estimated $1 trillion of revenue into the US economy in 2015 and created millions of jobs in the process.

What advice do you give women who are looking to build a career in professional services?

The opportunities are there and we’re increasingly seeing more female role models in leadership positions. There is a responsibility that comes with being a woman in leadership in mentoring the next generation. Women role models today have created a path for the next generation to follow in their footsteps and climb the ladder. There are so many career opportunities that make today a great time to enter the profession.