Learning Pool has done really well so far* this year in the Deloitte Fast 50 competitions, coming 1st in Northern Ireland, 6th in Ireland and 26th in the UK as a whole. These positions reflect how well we have grown in comparison to other technology companies.
Unlike other business competitions the Deloitte Fast 50 placings cannot be fudged or juggled because the rankings are based solely on submitted and audited company accounts. Entry is free and your position is not reflective of how much you have spent with them as a customer but what your financial performance has been over the last five years.
As an entrant in the competition over the years we’ve undoubtedly benefited from our wins (Learning Pool wasn’t eligable for the Fast 50 competition until it reached five years old this year but, instead, submitted and won the Rising Star category of the awards in 2009 and 2010 in Northern Ireland).
But what, I pondered, does Deloitte get out of it?
The cost of staging the Ireland leg of the competition and hosting the ceremony at Dublin’s Convention Centre would have been, I reckon, about €30,000 (thanks for the free bar). For a large global multinational company like Deloitte this would be small beer considering the PR they must get in return.
The message all along with the competition is that Deloitte is recognising the fastest growing technology companies in the world.
This is all about the future, growth, agility, expansion, success stories, businesses who are going places, cutting edge innovation and strong businesses with stamina. Not words or phrases you might instinctively apply to Deloitte. What large, long established financial organisation doesn’t want to be aligned with that nowadays?
As we gently teased our Deloitte host, Peter, on Friday evening at the Dublin ceremony, there isn’t a huge amount of differentiation between the big four auditing companies in the UK – Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and Young and Price, Waterhouse, Coopers.
Indeed, the OFT has just announced it is probing the dominance these big four have over the UK market – between them they audit 99% of the FTSE 100 companies.
And the worry continues for Deloitte as they prepare to defend an accusation of failing to detect fraud during audits of a mortgage firm which failed during the US housing crash. Being sued for $7.6billion would tend to focus the mind.
So the PR value that Deloitte gets from the global Fast 50 competitions has to work hard to make some dents in the bigger news stories currently doing rounds.
I’m sure the marketing people at Deloitte are working on the metrics to prove that the Fast 50 competition drives new future business. Today’s winners might not yet need the full range of auditing services from Deloitte but they may one day. Here’s hoping a trophy or two (or three) might even earn a discount.
*The EMEA rankings are announced on 24 November and Learning Pool is automatically put forward for the competition.