Students helped PwC respond to increasing competition in Tax and Legal Services market

PwC Finland utilises the results of the study in its own strategy work
Räätälöity opiskelijaprojekti PwC:lle
The project team and members of steering group from PwC. Tommi Vihervaara (Aalto) (left), Kaisa Heikkinen, Kaisa Nikkinen and Juha Laitinen (PwC), Leevi Mäkipää, Miia-Mari Virtanen and Alexei Gloukhovtsev (Aalto), and Mikko Leinola (PwC)

Master's students Miia-Mari Virtanen and Leevi Mäkipää from the School of Business executed an extensive market research and competitor analysis project commissioned by PwC Finland. In the project, the students analyzed the competitive situation in the Tax and Legal Services market and PwC’s position within it. The students prepared a comprehensive report based on their analyses and made recommendations to support PwC’s strategy and decision-making.
Alongside studying the market, the project's target was to develop a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making processes of companies using external Tax and Legal Services, as well as their expectations toward service providers. The students delved into the current trends in the Tax and Legal Services market, interviewed leading experts in the field, and invited over a thousand business decision-makers to participate in a large-scale quantitative survey. The survey's findings were used to evaluate PwC’s position and performance compared to its competitors in the market. The students presented their findings to PwC’s management in early 2024.  
The results of the research indicate that the relationship between the efficiency and pricing of a service provider is a critical decision-making factor for companies choosing service providers for their Tax and Legal related needs. Juha Laitinen, Tax Partner at PwC, says that understanding the client’s business and helping them reach their financial goals are at the core of PwC’s advisory work.
‘It is of utmost importance for us to hear how our clients’ perceive the Tax and Legal Services market in the current economic situation, where recession and changes in the operational environment affect companies across industries. Our desire is to help our clients succeed even in demanding situations, and the research conducted by Aalto University has deepened our understanding of the current challenges and solutions relevant to our partners. We are very satisfied with the collaboration with the two students,’ Laitinen describes.

Project results exceeded expectations 

The representatives of PwC commended the students’ ability to consider the business perspective and to present relevant analyses that help implement the study's results within the organization. ‘The results of the project exceeded our expectations, and we were able to immediately apply the students’ analyses and interpretations to our internal strategy work. The insights gained were ready to be utilized just hours after the students' presentation,’ says Mikko Leinola, Tax Partner at PwC.
Kaisa Heikkinen, Brand and Communications Director at PwC Finland, also commended the selection of the two students for the project. ‘Working with such a competent student team was a wonderful experience for us as well. We were particularly delighted by the strategic recommendations and ideas the team delivered at the end of the project,’ Heikkinen states. ‘We also want to thank all our clients and partners who participated in the study. PwC is planting a tree for each survey respondent as part of domestic afforestation projects,’ she adds.

Students advanced their capabilities in a professional setting

Alexei Gloukhovtsev, Assistant Professor and the project's supervisor, notes that PwC’s assignment provided the students with a unique experience in the consulting business. ‘From the very beginning of the project, the students demonstrated their ability to independently lead the project and quickly familiarize themselves with the previously unfamiliar Tax and Legal market. It was a pleasure to supervise the project, as the students were flexible, solution-oriented, and skillfully managed the project's stakeholders and their individual needs,’ Gloukhovtsev says. 
The students confirm that the collaboration with PwC further enhanced their professional expertise. ‘The project advanced our skills in analyzing extensive datasets and presenting relevant findings with a focus on the client’s business. Formulating strategic recommendations for PwC was also an engaging and seamless process,’ the students share.
‘Communication with PwC was consistent throughout the project, and their valuable support ensured the successful delivery of the project. We are grateful to PwC, the experts involved in the study, and Aalto University for the opportunity to collaborate,’ students conclude. 

The purpose of PwC is to build trust in society and solve significant problems. The company helps companies grow, operate efficiently and responsibly, and report reliably in a constantly changing operating environment. The services include business management consulting, business restructuring services, tax advice, legal services, risk management, auditing and other verification services. PwC operates in 151 countries, and 1,350 experts work at PwC Finland all over the country. More information:

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Opiskelijoita Kauppakorkeakoululla. Kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Unto Rautio
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