Deloitte business model

Dissecting the Deloitte Business Model

A deep dive into the Deloitte business model using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas will provide valuable insights into why Deloitte has maintained its competitive edge.

Founded in 1845, Deloitte is one of the world’s leading providers of professional services. With more than 175 years of rich history, it continues to play a pivotal role in the global business landscape. The firm’s name is linked with that of its founding father, William Welch Deloitte, who single-handedly started a small London-based accountancy office, which would eventually become a part of the “Big Four” – the four largest professional services networks in the world, including PwC, EY, and KPMG, alongside Deloitte.

What set Deloitte apart from his contemporaries was his ability to see beyond mere financial auditing. He recognized the immense value and potential of comprehensive business services, an idea that was revolutionary at the time. His vision to support businesses in the strategic management of their affairs was a game-changer, laying the foundation for Deloitte’s business model.

A deep dive into Deloitte’s business model using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas can provide valuable insights into why Deloitte has maintained its competitive edge over the years.

Key Partners

As a professional services firm, Deloitte relies heavily on its vast network of partners, which include its workforce, clients, academic institutions, technology vendors, and governmental organizations.

Deloitte’s employees, its most crucial partners, consist of an array of professionals, from auditors and consultants to financial advisors and tax experts. They are the heart of the firm, delivering the quality services that Deloitte is known for.

Clients, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, form another integral part of Deloitte’s partnership network. Their trust and satisfaction define the firm’s success. Academic institutions supply Deloitte with a steady stream of well-educated talent, while technology vendors ensure the firm remains at the forefront of innovation. Lastly, governmental organizations provide the necessary regulatory guidance, allowing Deloitte to operate within the defined legal framework.

Key Activities

Deloitte’s key activities can be grouped into three primary service lines: Audit & Assurance, Consulting, and Tax & Legal.

Audit & Assurance services focus on attesting to the validity and reliability of financial statements. Consulting services assist businesses in improving their performance, primarily through the analysis of existing business problems and the development of plans for improvement. Tax & Legal services help clients navigate complex tax and legal issues.

Another crucial activity is talent acquisition and retention. Given the knowledge-intensive nature of its services, Deloitte invests significantly in attracting and retaining skilled professionals. Continuous professional development programs, along with a strong emphasis on a diverse and inclusive work culture, are essential elements of this activity.

Key Resources

Deloitte’s key resources are its people, brand reputation, proprietary knowledge, and technological infrastructure. Its highly skilled professionals, equipped with deep industry knowledge, constitute its most significant resource. The firm’s brand reputation, built over 175 years, gives it a competitive edge and attracts clients and talent alike.

Deloitte’s extensive proprietary knowledge, derived from decades of experience, provides a strategic advantage. This knowledge, along with state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, allows Deloitte to develop and deliver high-quality, customized solutions to its clients.

Value Proposition

Deloitte’s value proposition revolves around delivering high-quality, customized professional services. Their reputation as a trusted business advisor is rooted in their deep industry knowledge, global network, and broad service offerings. Deloitte not only helps organizations comply with regulatory requirements but also assists them in business transformation and growth.

Clients rely on Deloitte’s proven track record of handling complex business challenges, regardless of the industry or geographical location. The firm’s global reach, coupled with a local understanding, allows them to provide a unique blend of services that appeal to a broad range of clients, from small and medium-sized businesses to large multinational corporations.

Customer Relationships

Deloitte maintains customer relationships through its commitment to exceptional service delivery. The firm assigns dedicated teams to its clients to understand their unique needs and provide tailored solutions. This personalized approach creates a relationship of trust and collaboration, leading to high client satisfaction and loyalty.

Moreover, Deloitte continues to engage with its clients through thought leadership content, webinars, and events. This continuous interaction allows the firm to anticipate and respond to changing client needs and market trends.


Deloitte uses a mix of direct and indirect channels to deliver its services. Direct channels include its global network of offices where client meetings and consultations occur. Indirect channels involve the use of digital platforms, including the company’s website and other online collaboration tools, to provide virtual consulting, training, and other digital services.

Deloitte’s adoption of digital channels has become more significant in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic-induced digital transformation. For instance, DeloitteConnect, a digital platform for clients, provides access to project information, insights, and Deloitte’s professionals, showcasing how the firm is leveraging technology to enhance service delivery.

Customer Segments

Deloitte serves a diverse range of customer segments, including corporations, governmental bodies, non-profit organizations, and private individuals. Its clients span across various industries, such as financial services, technology, media, telecommunications, consumer goods, and healthcare, among others.

These customer segments are further divided based on their unique needs and the services they require. For example, a technology startup might seek Deloitte’s consulting services for business strategy, while a multinational corporation might utilize its audit and tax services.

Revenue Streams

Deloitte generates its revenue primarily from fees charged for the various professional services it provides. These fees are usually based on the time and resources used, the complexity of the project, and the nature of the services provided.

In the fiscal year 2020, Deloitte’s revenue was diversified across its three primary service lines: Audit & Assurance contributed 21%, Consulting 42%, and Tax & Legal 18%. Other services, including Financial Advisory and Risk Advisory, contributed the remaining 19%. This diversity in revenue streams showcases Deloitte’s resilience and adaptability to varying market conditions.

Cost Structure

Deloitte’s cost structure is largely driven by employee compensation, given the labor-intensive nature of its services. Other significant costs include operational expenses such as office rent, utilities, technology infrastructure, and professional development programs. The firm also incurs substantial costs in regulatory compliance, given the nature of its work.

Analyzing Deloitte’s business model using Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas illustrates how the company leverages its key resources, partners, and activities to deliver its value proposition to a diverse range of clients. The firm’s success is a testament to its client-centric approach, commitment to quality, and emphasis on innovation and continuous learning.

In an ever-changing business landscape, understanding how a seasoned player like Deloitte operates and adapts is crucial for any budding entrepreneur. And the story of Deloitte serves as an inspiring reminder that with the right vision and resilience, even a small London-based accountancy office can transform into a global professional services giant.

Over time, Deloitte has continually fine-tuned its business model to meet the changing needs of its clients. The firm has skillfully harnessed emerging technologies to enhance its service delivery, providing innovative solutions such as cloud services, cybersecurity, and data analytics. Moreover, Deloitte’s Digital division, established in 2013, demonstrates the firm’s forward-thinking approach by providing digital consulting services aimed at helping businesses transition into the digital age.

The resilience and adaptability of Deloitte’s business model were put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenging circumstances, Deloitte managed to not only maintain its position but also achieve growth by swiftly transitioning to remote work and digital service delivery. The firm also played a crucial role in helping its clients navigate the crisis, providing services related to crisis management, business continuity planning, and digital transformation.

A closer look at Deloitte’s response to the pandemic offers a concrete example of how the various components of its business model work in concert. Leveraging its key resources, especially its workforce and digital infrastructure, Deloitte swiftly transitioned to remote work without compromising on service quality. The firm’s key partners, including technology vendors, played a vital role in facilitating this transition. This quick adaptation ensured the continuity of revenue streams while safeguarding client relationships.

Moreover, Deloitte ramped up its consulting services to help businesses manage the crisis, providing solutions for remote work, cybersecurity, supply chain management, and more. These services resonated with Deloitte’s customer segments, who were seeking expert guidance to navigate the unprecedented situation.

Deloitte’s response to the pandemic serves as a testament to the robustness of its business model. It showcases how the firm’s emphasis on quality, innovation, and customer-centricity, combined with its diverse service offerings and global reach, enable it to weather storms and come out stronger.

In conclusion, Deloitte’s success can be attributed to its visionary founders, who understood the importance of providing comprehensive business services, and to the firm’s ability to evolve and adapt in the face of changing market dynamics. The firm’s emphasis on quality, innovation, and customer-centricity has served it well over the years and will likely continue to drive its success in the future.

By using Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas to dissect Deloitte’s business model, we can glean valuable insights that can be applied to other business scenarios. The model’s emphasis on the interplay between various components of a business, from key partners to revenue streams, underscores the importance of a holistic view of business operations. For budding entrepreneurs and seasoned business professionals alike, understanding this interplay can provide valuable guidance in creating, assessing, and fine-tuning their business models.

In the spirit of Deloitte’s foundational principles, let us all strive for excellence, adaptability, and a customer-first approach in our entrepreneurial ventures. After all, as Deloitte’s story demonstrates, a small idea can grow into a world-leading business if nurtured with vision, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to delivering value.

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