Protiviti James Pajakowski / EVP, Global Solutions
Consulting: Can you sum up where is your firm is today?
Pajakowski: We had a very successful year with growth in the high single digits or low double digits in most if not all practice areas and global regions (based on reported results through the first nine months of 2016). Overall, as of this writing, we generated operating profits consistent with our stated strategic goals.
Consulting: How would you describe your outlook for 2017?
Pajakowski: We feel very well positioned heading into the New Year but with some caution. Our optimism is fueled by strong demand signals in all service lines and in most regions where we operate. In particular, we continue to see strong demand in digital, business intelligence, cyber risk, internal audit advisory services and regulatory compliance. Further, the overall economic trends are positive and trending positively (employment growth, GDP growth, stock market indices, etc.). That said, there are still many uncertainties with a new U.S. administration, the adoption of Brexit, political uncertainty around trade agreements, regulatory change, etc., which creates some sense of caution.
Consulting: What do you see as the biggest opportunities for your firm in 2017? What do you see as the biggest challenges?
Pajakowski: The biggest opportunities will be in the continued demand for cyber security response and prevention, increased demand for help in digital initiatives around improving the customer experience but also improving the efficiency of back office functions. In terms of challenges, retaining talent is always a challenge in this industry and will continue as a challenge this next year. The factors that drive demand for our services also drive demand for our employees, and that’s why we focus so much on creating a culture our employees enjoy and one where they feel they can grow and thrive.