KPMG is a professional services firm that operates internationally and serves the needs of businesses, governments, public-sector agencies, not-for-profits, and capital markets. KPMG has tax, audit, and advisory practices as well as strategic alliances with many of the world’s leading software and service vendors. It is one of the Big Four Accounting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. KPMG was one of the first Big Four firms to foster an industry-driven structure, where they organize along the same industry lines as their clients. The industries that KPMG serves include asset management, alternative investments, consumer and retail, healthcare, energy, and natural resources, entertainment and media, and technology to name a few. Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) had the opportunity to interview a couple of Hokie alumni, Laura Vitale, Campus Recruiter, and Jason Kies, KPMG Partner, to get the inside scoop on working at the firm and learn why the people and culture make the firm so unique!
No day is the same
When asked about the day in the life of a KPMG employee, both Laura and Jason shared that no two days working at the firm are ever the same. Laura says, “..our main goal is to serve our clients to the best of our ability each day. With that, on any given day our employees could be solving a client problem, meeting with top-level executives, working with their engagement team to complete test work, participating in networking events, or assisting with recruiting efforts at their alma mater.” While there is a wide range of roles and responsibilities that KPMG employees take on, depending on their department’s function, Jason shares that direct client interaction is a big part of work at KPMG. He says, “most partners and employees have meaningful interactions with our clients on a daily basis that make a real impact on the issues they are having.” Kies goes on to share that staying up to date with laws and regulations, market trends, and client specific needs are critical things that employees and partners do at KPMG to complete their work effectively. Flexibility, adaptability, and professionalism are key traits to possess if you want to work at a firm like KPMG!
People and Culture
Both Laura and Jason admit that the people and culture of KPMG are what sets the firm apart from others. Some of their favorite aspects about the firm have been the mentorship, leadership and training courses, and diversity networks that KPMG offers for professional growth. Laura shares, “There’s very much a “pay it forward” culture at KPMG, where the more senior employees want to help grow and mentor the newer employees.” She explains that every new hire at KPMG is assigned a People Management Leader (PML) to help them set goals and track their performance throughout the year. Jason shares that there is an “entrepreneurial spirit” at KPMG. While Jason began his career in Audit in KPMG’s Richmond, Virginia office, he did a four-year rotation in Zurich, Switzerland where he worked in Audit and Advisory. He then moved to New York to work in the Private Equity Group, taking on a very different role in maintaining client relationships, driving new opportunities and doing issue resolution and independence. As evidenced by these responses, there are endless opportunities for both personal and professional growth at KPMG!
Women in the Workforce
KPMG has a culture of supporting women in the workforce that is imperative to the firm and apparent through the mentorship and networking initiatives they have created. Laura is involved in the KPMG Network of Women (KNOW) and shares that this network of women and men across the firm is committed to fostering women’s networking, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. This organization has connected her to professionals that she would not have otherwise met had she not joined KNOW. Lynne Doughtie, VT alum and U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG is a prime example of the strong women in leadership roles at KPMG. Laura shares, “I’ve worked for and with several strong women throughout my career and have had several female mentors whose advice and guidance has been pivotal to my success.”
What can you, CWIB members, do to work at a company like KPMG?
Laura shares some advice for students striving to work at KPMG!
- Have a solid resume that highlights your strong grades in the core, major classes and any active roles you have held in organizations you’re passionate about!
- Build relationships. Laura explains, “get comfortable being uncomfortable and start networking!” Attend recruiting events so recruiters can put a face to a name when looking through a pool of applicants.
- Nail the interview! Show that you are a leader, team player, passionate, and an excellent communicator, and most importantly be yourself!
By: Allison De Santis