Ernst & Young has announced the opening of an innovation lab in New York. The location is in Union Square in Manhattan. It is located on the 8th floor of 841 broadway which is on 13th st. Don’t think you can just drop in though. You will probably need to be a priority client of EY to get access.

EY made this announcement on June 21, 2017. The purpose of the center is to focus on financial services. The reason for the focused on financial services is likely because it is an innovation center in New York.

This center will highlight EY’s investment in Wavespace.

What is Wavespace?

Wavespace is a branding term that highlights Ernst & Yong’s growth and innovation network. You can see EY’s press release around wavespace from March 2017 on their website. Wavespace is a global network of growth and innovation centers. It’s not restricted to improving only accounting functions. It can help clients invest in a number of items including blockchain. Ernst & Young has invested in strategic alliances to help clients collaborate with other service providers in the space. This will probably with your typical providers like oracle, SAP, Microsoft in addition to some startups.

Some of the items that will be shown in these innovation centers are artificial intelligence, robotics process automation, blockchain, data and analytics, digital, customer experience and cyber security.

The wavespace centers are a multimillion dollar investment from Ernst & Young. They are seeking to building 15 locations around the world in Americas, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions. Each center will be tailored to its specific region. These centers have floor to ceiling screens, vr headsets, fancy tables all the things you need to sell clients on the future right.

Some solutions that are shown in the wavespace centers are as follows

  • 50 blockchain business solutions including and identity management platform.
  • An innovation pop up lab for a financial services client that EY built

Suit + Jeans

EY has also established another branding term called suits and jeans. They are saying that suits and jeans industries can collaborate to come up with better solutions. I guess they consider silicon valley type jobs as the jeans component and the financial services industry as the suits.

Big 4 Innovation Centers

You are beginning to see the adoption of innovation initiatives across all the accounting firms  and more specifically innovation around financial services. This is because there are in the business of financial services and more pointedly in accounting and tax. A lot of this is also highlighting what is called fin-tech. Fin-tech is short for financial technology or any technology used in the finance world.

The reason the accounting firms are primarily focused on these initiatives is because it can be used to make accounting and tax jobs easier. The technology can also be used for other purposes including process improvement and automation.

The big 4 have likely ramped up initiatives in this area because financial institutions like banks and hedge funds are really blazing the trail in this area and the big four accounting firms know they can’t get left in the dust. Otherwise they might be missing out on huge engagements and might face significant layoffs. The big 4 are built around clients needing a lot of bodies to complete a project. Those bodies typically aren’t highly skilled either. Those are jobs primed to be replaced by innovative technology.

More specifically you see a large investment in automation which is been taking over the past few years. Accountants have seen automation come in and being able to make journal entries and also consolidate a ledger among many other accounting functions that no one ever thought could be automated. But technology is even moving past that. People are beginning to invest in robotics and machine learning. Robotics takes processes that aren’t common processes and automates them. These aren’t physical robots; they are software that is programmed to be like a robot. For example, it can download all the instances of accounting reports that used to take hours but can now take minutes or be left over night to be done in the morning.

You see KPMG and EY now have physical locations where they will show their clients all the possibility that innovation brings, but as far as I can tell PwC and Deloitte do not have comparative centers. Since the big 4 accounting firms are typically copycat businesses, I imagine that you will see these pop up for them too. New York has a significant amount of financial institutions, so I believe that all big 4 will need these labs.

Ernst and Young has there’s in Union Square. EY has a sexy new website to highlight there center where you can see a bunch of business professionals playing with VR headsets. There are also walls of screens which is very similar to the KPMG ignition center.

KPMG has ignition centers in downtown NYC in SOHO and they have another location midtown NYC. You can see in the KPMG youtube video that they also have the whole jeans thing going on. PwC was on the whole jeans program long before any of these places started highlighting these fancy ignition centers.