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Building pathways for change: 35 vibrant years and beyond for P&A Grant Thornton

The women supporting P&A Grant Thornton visionaries: The Firm’s Founders Ben Punongbayan and Joe Araullo with their loving spouses Ms. Evelyn Punongbayan and Ms. Amparo Araullo

With P&A Grant Thornton leaders in this photo: Megaworld Chief Operating Officer Lourdes T. Gutierrez-Alfonso, Megaworld Senior AVP - Finance Kristine Leaño, Megaworld VP for Financial Reporting Des Ramilo, and Megaworld SVP for Finance Lino Victorioso

P&A Grant Thornton Founder Ben Punongbayan and leaders with GT Regional Head for Network Capabilities - Asia Pacific Rodger Flynn and Senator Win Gatchalian

P&A Grant Thornton Founders Ben Punongbayan and Joe Araullo share a toast with GT Regional Head for Network Capabilities - Asia Pacific Rodger Flynn

Cebu celebration: P&A Grant Thornton leaders take a photo with PRC BOA Chair Noe Quiñanola, BOA Member Gervacio Piator, and Cebu Mayor Mike Rama

On to a more vibrant tomorrow: P&A leaders pose onstage to mark the momentous event

Cebu celebration: P&A Grant Thornton Chairperson & CEO Marivic Españo and Audit & Assurance and Advisory Services Partner Mai Sigue Bisnar pose for a photo with Cebu Landmasters, Inc. Director Stephen Tan

Davao celebration: Front: Ms. Diane Jane Dela Serna-Escarlan (Compliance Officer) and Mr. Jude Dacutan (Accounting Manager) of Cooperative Bank of Cotabato. Back with Audit & Assurance Partner Ramil Nañola: Mr. Troy Diño (Marketing Officer) and Ms. Sharlene Luchaves (Finance Manager) from Samal Island Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Right of Mr. Nañola: Niezl Gilvero (BDO Network Bank, Inc. Comptroller). Left of Mr. Nañola: Joy Politico (Enterprise Bank, Inc. CFO)


Marking milestones is easy; making each one count is a feat. And for P&A Grant Thornton, a leading business advisor for scores of dynamic organizations across the country, celebrating its anniversary means so much more than showing appreciation to its clients, its people, and other stakeholders for their unwavering support. It means laying the groundwork to achieve more in the vibrant years ahead. 

Last February 15, 2023, P&A Grant Thornton celebrated its 35th Anniversary with clients and other stakeholders whose loyalty and trust have always fueled the Firm’s insatiable drive to achieve and be more. 

“2023 marks the 35th Anniversary of Punongbayan & Araullo, now known in the business as P&A Grant Thornton. Turning 35 is an important moment for our firm. Our journey has been marked with huge opportunities, and just like many businesses, several challenges too,” Ms. Marivic Españo, the Firm’s Chairperson and CEO, said in her opening speech. “We are fortunate to reach this point of our history largely because of clients and friends in the business community and profession who have all bestowed their invaluable confidence and continuing support for our Firm and our people.”

It was a night of warm cheer and good tidings, a meaningful homage to the decades-old institution that slowly but surely rose to prominence as a powerhouse where transformational leaders are mentored and trained. It is, after all, the concrete proof of every employee’s hard work and the organization’s relentless pursuit of all things noble and helpful for its clients. “As a leader, my primary responsibility was to transform the organization that was handed to me by our past leaders to become a stronger and more beautiful one,” said Ms. Españo. Indeed, P&A Grant Thornton is a valued member of the profession today.

The Firm’s promise of excellence, integrity, and quality service

P&A Grant Thornton was born in 1988, a product of the dream of two visionaries and prominent names in the Philippine accounting profession. Early on, it relied on three core principles that its Founders, Mr. Ben Punongbayan and Mr. Joe Araullo, passed to all staff for them to embody – excellence, integrity, and commitment to provide quality service to its clients.

“We consistently received, annually, very good ratings from clients in our customer satisfaction survey. This great recognition gives us the greatest feeling of all – that we are well-liked by our clients. We are happy and proud to continue to work together with [our clients] in the next 35 years and beyond,” Ben Punongbayan shared during the event.

“From the start, Ben and I planted some characteristics of the Firm that carried us, and which are present even until today.  These values were passed on from one generation of leaders to the next and carried over from one Partner to another – traits that distinguish P&A Grant Thornton leaders and staff and which make the Firm stand out today,” Joe Araullo quipped during his short, but engaging speech at the Anniversary Celebration.

Indeed, these qualities allow the Firm to shine and power through amidst adversity. From its humble beginnings as the “little firm that could” with only seven people and two Partners, it has grown to become a formidable presence in the realm of business advisory and as a leader in the ASEAN region which implements global standards and practices.

The P&A Grant Thornton promise

The program, held in the regal ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, was a success. Aside from celebrating the Firm’s achievements, the Partners also expressed their commitment to shape a more vibrant tomorrow by employing bold perspectives, utilizing divergent thinking, and forging paths with clients, government, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders.

“There is no firm that embraces our culture of collaboration, innovation, and quality service more than P&A Grant Thornton. That is why your anniversary’s theme of Shaping a Vibrant Tomorrow is so fitting, because it is exactly what you have been doing all these years and what we have no doubt you will continue doing in the years ahead,” Mr. Peter Bodin, CEO of Grant Thornton International, said in his message during the event.

The P&A Grant Thornton story: Past, present, future

The Firm’s Partners also articulated their promise to create a place where their people will flourish and eventually become transformational leaders. Ben Punongbayan attributes the success of the Firm to its people. He said, “Over the years, all and every batch of our personnel have responded favorably and determinedly to the great challenge of professional work.”

On the other hand, Ms. Paz Malubay, Partner and Business Process Solutions Practice Leader, narrated, “From the start, we believed that our success depends on our people, in nurturing their growth and development, and in building a relationship of creative collaboration. This is what we call providing a great People Experience.”

The Partners shared the Firm’s commitment to demonstrate its support to sustainability goals, specifically on gender equality, quality education, decent work, good health, and economic growth, and responsible consumption and production. These commitments were wholeheartedly embraced by the next leadership team of the Firm.

To more vibrant years ahead

All in all, the celebration was one for the books which ended with a poignant performance from the Philippine Madrigal Singers. It will be remembered by guests as a night marked by optimism and professional fervor, qualities that the Firm will carry as it continues with its journey. For P&A Grant Thornton, building pathways for change means laying the groundwork for bold and divergent thinking in a business landscape that calls for innovation and transformation. From the Founders to the next generation of leaders of the Firm, which were announced at the end of the program, the Firm remains strongly committed to grow with its clients and its people. This is true evidence that P&A Grant Thornton has been securely established firmly deep in the ground. As Ben Punongbayan said, “Certainly and surely, P&A Grant Thornton will pass the extreme test of time.”


As published in The Manila Times, dated 16 March 2023

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