3 min read March 2022 — Anthony Sgammato, EY Iselin office managing partner, spoke with Invest: to discuss the highlights for the firm over the last 12 months and the big opportunities looking ahead. Sgammato also discussed key concerns moving forward as well as his general near-term outlook.
What were some of the highlights for EY over the last 12 months?
One of the things we pride ourselves on is how we take care of our people. We are committed to putting our teams and their well-being first. We actually have a well-being leader at the office who’s focused on bringing our group together and hosting sessions on nutrition and sleep. This has been important for several reasons. The demand for our services and how busy we all have been, as an industry, creates a formula for overworking and we know it wears people down. Therefore, we are taking a proactive approach to mental health.
Another thing that we are proud of is that we work with small and big companies in the state, which gives our people exposure to diversity and experience. It also shows the market that we are here to help. Last year, EY launched the Entrepreneurial Access Network, which is a program focused on Black and Latino entrepreneurs. It was a year-long program to identify these individuals in our communities, educate them and help their companies grow. We teamed them up with an EY mentor or relationship adviser to learn about their company and create connections. We are proud to say that in New Jersey, we are one of the eight pilot offices in the whole country to launch last year. We had 15 individuals in our inaugural class.
Where do you see those big opportunities and challenges looking ahead?
We are all hearing about the war for talent. Everyone is in need of professionals and there’s a huge demand out there for people. How are we transforming to do more with less? And how are we using this as an opportunity to give our people better experiences? That’s the challenge we are facing, but we’re learning that our people want experiences and the ability to try new things, and we are actively changing our work dynamic to meet these needs.
The other thing that we’re seeing as a huge opportunity is the focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). Three or four years ago, ESG was a buzzword, and I’m not even sure if people knew what it was. Now, we’re seeing all of our clients across the spectrum become interested in ESG. We’re finding a good opportunity to help our clients develop their strategy around this area. I don’t think this is a short-lived phenomenon. In my opinion, this is something investors are going to continue to look at as they make decisions.
What has been keeping EY busy over the last 12 months?
The IPO and SPAC market has been keeping us busy as well as other strategic transactions.
The other thing is cyber. Everything is more digital nowadays, so we’re talking to all our clients about the importance of cybersecurity and doing cyber assessments. Finally, there’s the digital experience. All companies are interested in what their digital strategy should be. What’s their customer experience from a digital perspective? We’re helping them answer that question.
What do you see as the defining aspect of the New Jersey market?
Education is really big. We have good universities that are pumping out amazing talent each year. Also, we’re a diverse state, which is positive and attractive for businesses. The other factor is our proximity to New York City. The proximity to New York is something that can’t be oversold. Moreover, it’s the logistics that our state provides. Our logistics, talent and diversity are the factors that differentiate us.
What would you consider the key trend that emerged between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic?
I think we’re still trying to figure this thing out. We’re coming out of the pandemic, we’re going back to work and we’ve enjoyed some good economical years. Now, however, we have inflation. We also have the midterm elections coming up in November that are going to be a reflection of the overall economy.
What are the key concerns that people are looking at as they look ahead?
We know the Federal Reserve is going to increase rates. They’ve been clear on that. Additionally, from what we understand, we believe the peak is within sight for inflation. While we do believe this to be the case based on our current knowledge, it’s something that our clients are still trying to prepare for.
What’s your general near-term outlook?
I think these positive trends are going to continue. There’s still a lot of capital out there, and a lot of strong companies have been built, developed and founded over these past couple of years. Also, we started to focus on the digital divide last year as an office. We teamed up with a couple of local organizations to do computer drives, getting them into the hands of those who need it and positively impacting local families.
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