Hortense Pfammatter

  • Company: Ernst & Young AG
  • Position: Manager
  • Remit/main activity: Lead auditor of stock-listed and private international Swiss companies as well as advisory mandates in Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) with a focus on transaction accounting.
  • Highest educational qualification: Certified auditor
  • Highest educational qualification: 8
  • Place of work: Zurich

 

 

What makes my work exciting?
Collaborating with our customers, the deep insights into different companies, managing and developing teams, as well as the opportunity to actively contribute towards further developing Assurance.

Why did I enter the profession?
Besides the diverse areas of activity and the insights into many companies, I was also particularly impressed with the distinct coaching culture, the collaboration with inter-disciplinary teams and the extensive EY network. After completing a Masters at the University of St. Gallen, another important factor behind my decision to join the auditing team at EY was the training to become a certified auditor.

What challenges does my work present?
Everyday life as an auditor is challenging and stimulating – at all levels. Learning on the job in parallel to the formal training to become an auditor is a very steep learning curve. With increasing experience comes more responsibility, towards both the customer and the team. The daily challenges that need to be overcome are becoming more complex, which means that everyday working life is never boring, even after many years. It is also important to be adaptable and to continually re-orient yourself in order to respond early on to changes caused by general trends in the industry – such as the current trend towards automation and digitalisation, and to develop solutions today to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

How does my work benefit the economy?
My work as an auditor increases the reliability of financial information, and establishes and maintains transparency and trust in reporting – forming the basis for better decision-making in the capital market.

What is important to me in my client relationships?
The relationship between a client and an auditor or advisor is a cooperation based on mutual trust. The following points contribute towards this:

  • Precise, reliable and high-quality work based on sound expertise.
  • A forward-looking approach that is designed to enable strategic action.
  • Open and proactive communication in order to avoid surprises.

What is currently important for my clients in our cooperation (keyword: coronavirus)?
I believe it is more important than ever that we are there for our clients and that we remain in close contact with them. At the moment, nobody can predict how the crisis is going to evolve, so it is all the more important that our customers are as well prepared as possible for different scenarios – and we actively support them with this. We launched the EY Solidarity campaign, for example, whereby we offer direct access to our specialists via the solidarity platform. Key components of the platform include the weekly EY Solidarity webcasts on topics such as cash flow, liquidity management, supply chain stability, short-time work, funding opportunities, managing contracts during the crisis and other COVID-19-related themes.

How has the industry changed? What are the challenges of the future?
Trends in the sector like automation and digitalisation in the finance function are changing our customers’ world and our auditing work in equal measure. An additional set of skills is required for auditing. Auditors are developing from conducting a past-oriented and random sample-based audit into data experts who have sound accounting knowledge, experience and industry expertise. Close, personal exchange with my customers is also important for me in order to analyse and assess the audit results within the overall context.