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Paulo Reis

MOZAMBIQUE - Economy

Paulo Reis

Office Managing Partner, EY

Bio

Paulo Reis has been Office Managing Partner at EY Mozambique since February 2018, having joined the firm in 2009 and promoted to Partner in 2011. Since 2020, he has also been the Assurance Leader. He began his career in auditing in 1992, after completing a degree in Economics at ISEG, Technical University of Lisbon. He is a Certified Auditor by OCAM and a Chartered Accountant by OROC, in Portugal, where he was born.

"EY has been permanently in Mozambique since 1991. We started with a small local structure where most of the technical staff were expats, mainly from member firms in Portugal and South Africa."
TBY talks to Paulo Reis, Office Managing Partner of EY, about the company’s operations in Mozambique, client demand, and goals for the coming year.
Can you elaborate on EY’s journey since it was established in Mozambique?

EY has been permanently in Mozambique since 1991. We started with a small local structure where most of the technical staff were expats, mainly from member firms in Portugal and South Africa. Now, we have around 180 people in the office, of which only 12 are expats. EY provides all the typical service lines, including: audit, which is assurance, where we have a team of 80 people; Business Consulting and Technology Consulting, where there are around 30 people; a small team of 3 in Strategy and Transactions; and Tax, which has a team of around 25 people. The remainder are administrative and support. We work in an integrated manner, and when needed we have access to more people from the PAM Cluster (Portugal-Angola-Mozambique), comprising around 2,000 professionals. For large international projects and when required, we can rely on EY’s global network of more than 400,000 people. Our strategy is to grow the practice organically, develop our people, and recruit locally.

How is EY adapting its services to meet the evolving needs of clients in Mozambique?

Digitalization has to be examined internally and externally. For example, EY has developed tools where, for example, we cannot document our audit on paper. We have software that works through the cloud where anyone on the team can review our work from anywhere. Externally, clients are digitalizing as well, and we have been acquiring internal capability to serve our clients in the areas of Technology Consulting, cybersecurity, investigation of security breaches, and more. We have a team that has been serving clients not only in Mozambique, but also in other countries in terms of IT consulting. We created the Technology Cluster recruiting a dozen talented young professionals from university and trained them, and they now serve clients around the world. We must be prudent about the process and are constantly upgrading even our internal systems that are not linked directly to client work. We are constantly upgrading our internal management systems to manage the business in a more digital manner.

EY has been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness with its initiatives. Can you tell us more about that?

The Be Like the Woman initiative rings all the bells at EY. Our values include a strong sense of diversity and inclusiveness. Gender issues are the basis for diversity and inclusivity. We support women in the business space who are entrepreneurs or have corporate careers to move to the next step and have tools that enable them to reach the higher ground of their environments in business or a corporation or entity where they work, so they can reach the top. Our program has reached the end of the first cycle and its success has been recognized by leaders at EY who plan to launch similar initiatives, for instance in Angola. At EY the breakdown of our senior staff is 50-50 men vs. women, while at the executive level the figure drops to 35%, which is not bad in our local environment. We have women in leading positions including finance, branding, marketing, communications, and human resources. EY was one of the first audit and consulting firm in the country to internally appoint a female partner.

EY has been actively supporting young people in finding job opportunities. What specific programs or partnerships does EY engage in to foster career development for young professionals?

Our main fields of recruitment are universities and being close to them allows us to identify the best talent. Around 80% of our team today joined EY when they left university. We have other initiatives in partnership with AIESEC, an international economics management student association, to support youth with employability skills training as well as career guidance. We´ve also recently launched the “Green Skills Passport” an EY and Microsoft free and online learning program in Sustainability and Entrepreneurship for young students and professionals to develop green skills. We believe we not only have a role to play but it also matches our strategy of organic growth. You bring people to the organization who have the talent and you develop the talent and help them grow their careers and capabilities. Mozambique has around 30 million people being half of the population are under 25. If you develop their capabilities, you can even consider exporting qualified workforce.

What is EY’s vision of the country’s future economy?

There are certain sectors that are clearly ahead compared to other African countries, like banking. Then, there are huge projects, companies, and multinationals, such as Total, Mozambique Leaf Tobacco, and British American Tobacco. As well, there are countless micro businesses. The country is expected to grow, with a solid growth rate of around 5%. There are some uncertainties in politics in the next months with the general elections coming in late 2024 and the situation in Cabo Delgado; however, there is no doubt there is potential here. Our strategy is to go where the economic environment goes and provide a new range of services to address clients’ growing needs.

What are your objectives for this year?

Our objectives are to be able to continue the path we have been on for 33 years and for all partners to have one objective: when you leave the firm, you leave it better than you found it.

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