KPMG and differences with the others


What are the diffferences between KPMG and the other big 4 firms?

Does KPMG have greater strenghts than the others in particular areas?

Are PWC the biggest out of all of them?


You can talk about KPMGs fastest growth globally in 2007, Some 17.8%.(2008 figures not available until Jan 2009). You can talk about KPMG awards won over the years. It accepts maximum flexible work applications etc. Talk about KPMG Europe LLP , the largest fully integrated firm in Europe !!! with E4bn. revenues last year.


in my partner interview i mentioned i was interested in the audit clients of kpmg - that might be something to look into.


noob Did you get successful in your partner interview / AC? What did you apply for and where?


yeah, i applied for audit in london.


Well Lucky then, Londons closed now , can you tell me what business was the company in E-tray and Group discussion involved?
was it some retail CD/DVD business?


yeah, i was lucky…think i was one of the last few to get an offer. phew!
yeah, it was the cd dvd business, but in all honesty you can’t prepare for it until the day. don’t worry about it!


And how many competency based questions you were asked ? Do they ask something like tell me about yourself ? Why should we hire you or why are you different from others? etc


no, the partner told me upfront he was bored of asking the same questions haha. he asked me 3 competencies i think, nothing difficult! partner interviews are mostly just a chat about you and them and the current economic situation, cos they are assessing whether you would fit into their firm! they’re lovely too. they became partners because they have good people skills, so don’t think they’re going to say anything bad to you!!!

edit - i know you originally applied to london and had to switch locations. where did you decide on in the end?


Now I have an AC in Birmingham on 26th Nov… worried arghhh!!!


Birmingham being the second largest city in UK and Birm office has a strength of 1000+ so I considered a second best place to work for in terms of exposure to good clients and company plus I am already a CIMA affiliate (passed finalist) ACCA Finalist and ICAEW 8 papers cleared so I have good hopes.


oh you’ve got ages to prepare!!! good luck with it! i’m sure you’ll be fine, just be confident haha


noob what competencies did the KPMG partner ask you?


1- tell me about a time you worked in a team - did you face any problems
2 - tell me about a time when you just had to give up
3 - tell me about a time when you worked extra hard on something


hey noob,

I have my KPMG AC coming up soon. I am shit worried about it as this is my first AC ever. What can I expect out of it? How intense are the group discussions? Could you please run me thru what happened?



Arriving at the office you will have some time to socialise with other candidates (if of course you haven’t been late).
You go into a room and do a quick introduction saying your name degree and university. After the HR manager explains to you what will happen in the day and what competencies they are looking for you will be given the E-tray exercise.

E-tray - you are given a booklet with about 30 pages. There are memos on “how to deal with new sales procedure etc”, tables of people’s skills and who is booked when(there is a question of booking ppl with the right skills and the right time). There are 4 projects i would really skim and pretty much gather a rough index of what is where and what is roughly in it. I read you should spend no more than 10 minutes but i would recommend aiming for 5 minutes. No way you will be able to read everything and no way will you need everything. Questions require you to look into some of those pages, give your own judgement and use specific formula or two given in the project files.

Don’t pay attention to new email notifications its a distraction which will not help you get through as many as you can. You have 24 emails to reply to just work at a good pace and don’t panic - no time for panic.

You then have about 5 minutes and the second part of the e-tray begins. You have about 4 pages and have to write 2 emails in 50 minutes. I think i did 10 minutes per question deciding my arguments and decision and 15 minutes write up time + checking. One of the cases involved research pay attention to size of sample and also future trends. The data was clashing as far as i remember so i put an argument against some of the data.

Lunch - you will be able to socialise with other candidates as well as people who are training with the company. It is a good time to learn what it feels like at the job as well as learn more about other candidates. 2 hours is alot of time so you will have plenty of time to discuss whatever is on your mind.

After that you are split into 2 groups one is doing the group exercise the other the partner interview and they swap. Group exercise is fairly straight forward you will be instructed and whatever you decide it will not be questioned by the HR manager. He will agree with everything. Point here is to note down the objective of your task - ie. Improve customer service; and keep suggestions aiming for that goal; make a mental note when you start so you know when you have to start preparing for the presentation 5 minutes should be enough to decide who is saying what. Oh sorry you have to come up with strengths and weaknesses as well as 2 short term and 2 long terms suggestions on how to improve the company. I made notes on important bits of information relating to our objective and noted the page too (saves some time) as well as in the last 2-3 minutes i went to the end of the booklet and started going over the data that most people might miss if they fail to go through the whole thing. Throughout the group discussion you will have 3 people monitoring you as group - and the advice is to ignore them. They will not say anything - you have to interact with your group mates: make sure that everyone speaks their mind - you never know they might have a good suggestion plus you get bonus points for including more quiet people. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion and if you disagree with somebody put it out in a structured argument and don’t come out too negative.

Partner interview - Partner will introduce him/herself briefly and then its on to your presentation - general wisdom is to go for a company that is not a partner’s client. Make sure you have practiced your presentation and its close to the 10 minutes you have been given. He will most likely check if you know how the business works - ie what they do; their competitors etc. After that its questions on your career motivation, and other competencies. You will likely be asked about current issues to test your business awareness. The interview is relaxed and its not meant to grill you so do not worry. Practice your answers and try to think what the partner will ask you about the examples you have given - they will ask insightful questions and if your example is not so strong you could end up struggling for the right answers.

So in brief:
E-tray - don’t worry think of it as just another project where you just have check something to give the answer. For the written part mimic the beginning and the end of the emails ie Hey Name etc.
Group exercise - its not a competition so befriend the candidates and have a discussion - make sure you note what you have agreed ie the proposed improvements
Interview - relax, do your bit and be natural. Smile and dont forget to hand shake with confidence.

Hope this helped :slight_smile:


Bobo you use the same 30 page booklet for all 3 tasks?
Answering 24 emails , Writing 2 long emails and group discussion?


No. You get one booklet for first e-tray. 30 pages covers the first part of the booklet which relates to the first 24 emails.
Then the booklet has 2nd part with about 4-5 pages you get 2 pages of information for each email you have to write thus why its easy to read thru and decide what to write in up to 10 minutes.

Group discussion is a different booklet on a company that was used in e-tray. Don’t worry dont have to remember anything. This booklet contains information of the business customer satisfaction, stock levels, sales and competitors. Think the end pages is about their competitors. The one i had to do was aiming to improve customer service - their call center was appalling, delivery was awful and stock management was poor.


What kind of questions are there in 24 emails. Is something like choosing some task to do, delegating some task , attending some meeting , conference , deciding which thing to do first and postpone something etc?
What kind of emails you get ?

And for the 2 long emails who are your addressees? Creditor , customer/Client, supplier ?


All the emails are from other employees. in both sections.
The first 24 emails - they will ask you for example to check your information pack for common characteristics of competitors - the answer was in a table listing stuff that each competitor offered as well as THE SUMMARY IN THE END (i didnt see the summary til later :). You will be asked judgement questions ie someone has failed to deliver how do you proceed - be diplomatic. There was question on project timetable - if some part of the project is delayed by x days would it be crucial etc. There are time tables for each project which are rather detailed but dont worry about the details until you get asked the specific question.
You do not have to decide as far as i remember, what to delay for example. Judgement emails were not of the nature “do you want to lose an arm or a leg?”.
Be mindful not to double book anyone etc. As far as i remember Time management pass rate for etray is like 22/24.

The written emails are from employees again asking you for recommendations they should give in their meeting with the client. So write it like you would present it to the client ie Analysis and then recommendations. Cannot give the wrong answer here - make sure you support your argument with the data given.