IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

May 27, 2020

The new member participants in the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) keeps expanding, giving the current membership new opportunities in networking and offering support/partnerships, as well as exchanging guidance and new ideas for Venture Capital, Private Equity and support industries. The latest new member is PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the well-known global network of firms delivering assurance, tax and consulting services for business.
The following is a Q&A profile with PwC, which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.
New Member: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Representative: Jon Neidig, Tax Partner
IVCA: What is a brief history and background of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)?
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): Before France gifted the US the Statue of Liberty in 1865, our accounting practice was born in London. Today, PricewaterhouseCoopers is a global network of firms formed from the Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand merger in 1998 with our U.S. headquarters in New York City. We draw upon the skills and talents of a global network of professionals in 158 countries to deliver a perspective and the right resources to help address our clients specific needs across three core lines of service …

Assurance: Innovative, high-quality, independent and cost-effective services related to financial controls, regulatory reporting, shareholder value and technology.
Tax: A wide range of specialist resources, primarily in tax structuring, tax compliance and human resources.

Advisory: Advice and assistance related to transactions, performance improvement and crisis management.

For Venture Capital and Private Equity, the VC and PE professionals of PwC help reduce risk and help fuel opportunity at every level – from management and operations, to portfolio and fund strategy, and throughout the deal lifecycle. With an unrelenting focus on value creation, our teams bring together unparalleled experience and cross-functional integration to tackle every new challenge. PwC can help make the complex world of VC and PE feel a little simpler.
IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?
PwC: Building trust in society and helping solve important problems is our purpose, and at the core of what we do. We joined IVCA as an opportunity to help give back to the community in living our purpose – sharing knowledge and educational programming with other member firms to help promote a stronger sense of community and cooperation.
We would be delighted to speak at educational events and interact with other professionals in our local Venture Capital and Private Equity communities to support the network, public policy initiatives, and our effort in delivering highest quality outcomes for our people, clients and society.
IVCA: The firm is one of the most high profile in accounting history. How does your reputation precede you in business interactions and how does the firm's culture keep projecting that reputation into the future?
PwC: While our reputation has been viewed as a ‘Big Four’ professional services firm, it's our people who set us apart and create unmatched value. Our inclusive, people experience is what fuels our brand.
We take pride in our talent and invest in developing a diverse workforce of professionals who are prepared from day one to bring leadership thinking and results – regardless of their level or role at the firm. While we come from different backgrounds and cultures, our values are what we have in common. They guide how we work with our clients and each other and hold us accountable to deliver on our firm’s purpose.
IVCA: What element of PwC's business has expanded the most since the beginning of the millennium, and what new ideas have come into the firm because of that expansion?
PwC: We’re a 150-year old audit firm, but the days of line-by-line materiality reviews and tax return filings have gone the way of the incandescent light bulb and the rotary phone. Technology is now the driving force of our firm, and we bring next-generation tools and digitally upskilled people to every engagement – producing solutions, dashboards and automations for analytics, workflows and data analysis – saving valuable time, eliminating data wrangling and using data analytics to help create meaningful insights for clients and investors alike.  
It started when we found a gap between our clients demand for more technology and greater productivity, and the resources capable of delivering. We saw this as an opportunity to make significant investments to transform the way we do business through our ‘Your Tomorrow’ initiative – which helps digitally upskill our people while informing our clients and public on digital preparedness. It’s a unique investment to digitize our people, our firm, and our communities, and how we reimagine what it means to work at PwC in the digital age.
For more information on digital upskilling and PwC’s ‘Your Tomorrow,’ go to (click here).
IVCA: Technology has affected accounting in profound and surprising ways. Since the beginning of your career, what element of your job has changed the most, and how has that made you a better tax accountant?
PwC: The way we interact with and communicate with our clients has made huge strides in the advent of leading technologies. One thousand page assessments delivered by courier, long email chains and spreadsheets have made way for interactive, real-time communication platforms, where our clients can track current and future work progress without picking up the phone.
Today, through digital transformation occurring within PwC, and around the world, has allowed me to increase the speed and quality of delivering client deliverables. Whether it’s a consulting project or tax reporting, technology has enabled me to bring data analytics and visualizations to my clients that add increased value. Furthermore, I am able to address the current needs of my clients through technology-enabled solutions that help drive measurable and sustainable value.
IVCA: How has the pandemic changed the course of your business at the present time and how is the firm reacting to that change?
PwC: COVID-19 is weighing heavily on our minds, as I know it is for IVCA’s member firms. We have a page on www.pwc.com detailing how PwC is responding entitled ‘Business Resilency at PwC.’ It outlines our approach to business continuity and pandemic planning, how we’re managing risks and how we’re helping address COVID-19 specifically in working with our clients and how we’ve helped communities  to reach their potential. PwC U.S. Chairman and Senior 

Tim Ryan has also led within the business community, discussing in this blog (click here) the ways that PwC and other firms can do more to support their employees and the communities around them, including prioritizing diversity and inclusion.
We leveraged our past experience with helping clients respond to viral outbreaks such as Ebola and SARS and our Global Crisis Survey to proactively help our clients highlight the types of ‘points of pain’ companies face as they navigate through their COVID-19 crisis response through our PwC COVID-19 Navigator (click here). The Navigator is an online, interactive tool free of charge to anyone who wishes to use it. It’s designed to help you better understand where you are on the path toward COVID-19 preparedness across six key focus areas.
IVCA: What does  PricewaterhouseCoopers hope to achieve in their interaction with the VC/PE community within the IVCA?
PwC: We’re looking to connect with our peers, and the Venture Capital and Private Equity leaders on a professional – and more importantly a personal level – as community members, parents, friends, outdoor enthusiasts, music lovers, and more.
Our VC and PE knowledge is extensive, and we hope to provide in-depth perspectives into policy initiatives and growth strategies through mutual interests in educational programming. We see this as an important opportunity to help strengthen the Illinois VC and PE industries, as well as developing personal connections that makes us stronger.
For website of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), click here.