4 Mar 2015 08:29am

As I see it: Panos Kakoullis

Panos Kakoullis is managing partner of the UK audit division at Deloitte and a member of its global audit leadership team


Growing up, I admired Daley Thompson, the British Olympic decathlete. He won gold in Moscow and Los Angeles but never did things the normal way.

It isn’t possible to do everything yourself. By handing over responsibility, you give people the space to develop and grow.

Audit is changing and it is an exciting time for us. Analytics are allowing us to analyse information in real time, so we can identify trends more quickly.

I hate the phrase “I can’t”. I’m an optimist and I believe every problem can be solved.

Albert Einstein was a role model and I wanted to be a Nobel-Prize winning scientist. It was one of the most difficult school subjects, but I was drawn to the challenge of hypothesis and experimentation to solve problems. It led me to my university studies in molecular biology.

I joined Touche Ross (now Deloitte) in 1989, and have been there for 26 years. Growing up in Deloitte allowed me to gain the skills for an incredibly varied career. I made partner in 1999, led our technology, media and telecommunications audit practice, and was appointed managing partner for audit in the UK in 2011.

After I became a partner, one of my clients was involved in a groundbreaking M&A transaction. I was fortunate to lead our work. It was fun, but vastly different. No one had seen anything of its kind before. Navigating our way through the transaction meant looking at it from a first principles perspective to get the right answer.

We have embraced the change. We are seeing ferocious competition. Every tender is hard fought and all of the firms are participating in more tenders than we have been used to. But this is driving innovation. We are always pushing the boundary to set the audit quality benchmark higher.

I have a brilliant support network around me, at home and work, which creates the balance that allows me to succeed. You have to make choices around what you want to do, and create the environment to make it happen. You’ve got to really want, rather than need, the balance.

I’ve been lucky to compete in triathlons in some wonderful places. I’m particularly proud of qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.



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