KPMG: Application - Offer Full Experiences


Hi guys,

Having just received an offer from [[KPMG]] for a Grad Programme in Audit, I thought it was only fair I posted all my experiences on here too. If you do have any further questions then please just post something on here or PM me and I’ll surely get back to you.

Application Form & PAPI
There is not much advice I can offer for this, as long as you meet the requirements for your intake the Wikijob walkthrough pretty much explains everything. I used all my characters available to show some effort but generally I think if you meet the requirements and pass the PAPI then you will be invited to take the ability tests. The PAPI is simply questions on some working environment scenarios and asks you what you think might be the most appropriate action. It’s really quite simple.

Number and Verbal Tests
I would agree that these tests are the hardest out of any of the big four. As a consequence their pass marks are lower. The Verbal is not too bad and you could probably do 95% of it if you work very quickly. The Numerical is harder and you need to work very fast. When I did mine I thought I had failed … I only answered 13 out of 24 question. That put me in the 62%. The trick to these is working fast but ACCURATELY. Definitely use the practice ones available and even pop down to your local bookstore and get a career book with these tests in it. That will give those of you who are really worried some much needed confidence.

First Interview
This is a competency based interview. You will get questions like;

  • Describe me a time when you worked as part of a team?
  • Describe when you acted as a leader?
  • Describe when you need to persuade others?
  • Describe when you used your initiative?
  • Describe a time when you were criticised and what did you do?

There was then – Why KPMG? And; tell me about a company that interests you at the moment. If you’re anything like me, you will find this interview really “rigid”, I didn’t have the opportunity to make much conversation with the senior but you do get the opportunity to ask some questions at the end. Definitely get a vast amount of competency questions and practice answering them. You need to be confident when you talk and be prepared to be asked for more than one example. They also like it when you manage to use a variety of examples such as work, studies, hobbies that sort of thing. Just be prepared with your answers and this will also help you manipulate answers when you get asked something that you haven’t prepared for.

Assessment Day

E-tray In my opinion, this is the hardest part of the assessment day. In the first part you get 70 minutes to answer roughly 24 emails. You cover somebody who’s ill at another office and need to send information to his clients, feedback and that sort of thing. My advice is spending roughly 10-12 minutes making sure that you know where the information is. You can use either the handout they give you or info on the PC, whichever is easiest for you. That will leave you with roughly an hour to answer the questions and you do need to work fast. There are a couple of questions that will require you to do some number crunching. It’s very easy, probably easier than the numerical test questions. I had 2 or 3. I left one email unanswered and it was one of the maths questions as I thought I would do it last!!! The second bit is 50 mins to answer two emails. They want you to make a recommendation for developing a client within a budget, and recommending how to market your own business services. The options are laid out for you. I listened to advice on here and spent more time on the first. WRONG IDEA. I would try do them equally, neither is more important. I did a comprehensive first email but my second was REEAALY rushed. Try and balance them out, keep your SPAG tidy and offer some good justification for your decisions.

Group Exercise You use a company from your e-tray. You are given 10mins to read your booklet and take notes, 35minutes to discuss and then 5-10 minutes to present as a group. Just extract the relevant bits of the book and anything you notice or believe you should recommend. During the discussion, don’t overpower people too much, give people time to talk, but make sure you have the chance to get your points across too!. When you finished saying your bits, try and involve other people as they won’t want to interrupt you, say something like – what do you think xyz? Or even, do we all agree with that?

Partner Interview & Presentation The presentation does NOT need to be really heavy on figures. Just know it well and present it clearly. I did a discount supermarket and there was hardly any financial information on them. However, make good proposals and the justify them. It doesn’t matter the size of your company, and I don’t think you need to know it off by heart. I had my whole thing written out, printed it twice and that was my hand out (of course, made it look great). It didn’t have any charts or things like that. I just engaged with the partner, she could tell straight away I didn’t rely on the handout too much but I also proved I could learn something and present it too! Stay clear and make eye contact.
I then got some questions on the company, why I made those proposals. Just be ready to justify each of your ideas and what KPMG can offer them in the way of services.
Then your likely to have some competency questions, same as the first interview really. Just use your work for that. Then come the conversation bit…Why KPMG? Why your line of service? Why is KPMG different? What you might find good/difficult about the job? Try and smile! Be calm and work through your responses slowly. Their really nice people so you will quickly build a relationship with them. Prepare a good question…Throw in that you had questions answered in your first interview so it looks like your really engaged in the WHOLE application process.

That it’s really…I hope this has covered most of it. By all means, if you need any further information then please ask.

Edit - Don’t get bogged down with response times! They get back to you quickly, after your tests it may take up to two days generally because its electronically! After my first interview I waited 6 days!!! hear I got through. After my partner however they got back to me the next day.

Good Luck!


Hey, thanks for your post, that’s really good to know - I have an assessment centre soon. Was wondering if you could tell me more about your presentation, like what company did you do it on that enabled you to suggest things kpmg might be able to help them with to improve? I know the presentation is only 10 minutes but I am having a bit of a panic about it! Really want something good to talk about. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks :slight_smile:


Hi, thanks very for your information.
I just got through the first interview yesterday, and they sent an email saying: we will be shortly inviting you to an assessment centre, but didnt give an exact date. Have you got ideas how long it will takes to get the day, please?
Many thanks.


@axs772 - amazing post! …thanks from the WikiJob team :stuck_out_tongue: …must have missed this when you first put it up but thank you - and well done!!



hhoo -

When i passed my first interview, i had to book my own assessment centre based on the dates they had available? Im not sure how its worked with you exactly but id imagine it will be fairly quick. Date or no date if youve been promised an assessment centre just start preparing then get onto the recruitment hotline and speak to them. Id imagine they will be able to get you in within two weeks but thats just my own rough estimate im afraid.

Please note that you want this to be as soon as possible. When i had my choices, i was given either two days or 3 weeks away! i went for the nearest even though it was so quick because these places get filled quick!. Also, i dropped it into my assessment day and they said it showed a level of motivation.


fidget87 -

My presentation was on Aldi. I said they were in a great position as consumers are looking for cheaper alternative. Also they had some great progress in the last financial year. I did three recomendations, In brief, more stores, diversifications and online shopping. KPMG could offer and audit to help decision making on new stores. Diligence reporting and advisory on diversification into another industry with possible mergers. Online shopping - It Advisory.

I was worried about my presentation too. I cant stress enough that it doesnt have to be amazingly financial. Justify your ideas well and your in a good position for the remainder of the interview. The partner/directors are really quite nice…There not there to spot holes in everything you say, there more interested in why you think there the best proposals, and how you can defend or present them.



Many thanks for your quick reply, and acturally I called the recruitment hotline this afternoon, and they said there is currently no available time for me, and would let me know in the following days.
Ahh^^^, not sure when.
Yes, you are right, the only things I could do are waiting and preparing.
Hope soon!
Thanks again, and when willl you start work?


Il be starting September 09, London!

As i understand it, its down to when a partner/director is available and gathering enough applicants at the same time! Hopefully they can get you in ASAP.

Good Luck!



Hope you enjoy your time before september.

I was told that my assessment day will be on the 25th this month, excited and stressful.

How about the etray format, is it the same as the fast stream one?
4 choices, and you choose two answers, one is the most suitable one, and one is the least?
Could you let me know please, I am quite confused, as I heard before, there is only one answer from 4.

Also, were you selected to do numeric or verbal tests on the day?

Many thanks!


Thanks for your help, especially on the presentation stuff! I had my assessment day today, apparently will find out at the beginning of next week. thanks again :slight_smile:


hhoo -

I would say the Fast Stream E-Tray is SIMILAR to the KPMG one. The biggest difference is that you only choose the most suitable action or response; Not the least suitable! You have a booklet which includes all the details of the clients…this information is also available on your “Email System” so use whichever you feel suits you best. You basically cover a colleague at another office and have two hours of your morning to get back to his office colleagues and clients! You have Four clients in total.

You start with 5 emails in your inbox, then by your reponses you get more; to a maximum of 25 i think. Of those 25, two require some number crunching but it is very simple, just slightly more time consuming than the others! When you recieve an email - they will either include an attachment that you will need to answer the questions, or it will ask you to reference your notes. It is a simple format you just need to be relaxed and understand where all the information is!

My Advice for this bit is; Work very quickly and accurately. You can relax when its over!! Also, familiarise yourself with where all the information is at the beginning of the E-Tray. spend no more than like 5-10 mins on this. You wont need all the info, just an understanding of where it all is so you can get back to it quickly!

Part B - In my opinion is easier. You have two emails which are basically reccomendations. (Similar to your presentation for the partner) The first is for your client, they give you a budget and four options with all the relevant details. the Second is for your own firm, again they give you the budget and all the details. You get 50 mins for this, and again you need to work fast! So many people advised to spend more time on the first. But everyone at the AC couldnt understand why!?! their equally weighted and each take as much time as the other. So work fast and keeps all your grammar perfect! Try if you can to leave a minutes to read over each.

Just to give you an idea of how i did…(im not sure if i passed or failed) BUT … I missed one question in the emails - And in part B, I did a fairly good first email but my second was very very rushed and consisted of around 5-10 lines!! Dont forget the competencies they check in the ETray they also check in your interviews and group exercise. Just make sure you do all the basics and youl be fine!

I wasnt retested in my AC. Infact, when I went to lunch; the graduate said she didnt know anybody who ever was…

This is about as good as i can do mate! I hope it helps, post something else if you have any more questions!!

Good Luck!



Thanks very much for your reply.

Busy during the weenkend, just started to prepare, so stressful. I think the first one for me is Presentation. Are there two recommendations enough? And for every suggestion, do I need to give advices for implemention, including any risks? quite confused.

Many thanks!


Well i made two suggestions for each of the emails in part b. You are confined to a budget so you may be able to make more or less!?. Its really simple…and yes, you probably should say why their the best options. You dont have that much time so you need to be quick. Im not sure if you should say how you would implement them…i dont think i did? dont stress about it too much, and also, scour these pages for what other people have said! Other people will have useful info posted.



Thanks for your suggestions on Etray.

And with the presentation to Partner, I will talk about the company information firstly, around 1-2 minutes; and then summarize SWOT analysis, about 2-3 minutes; and then about the recommedations, I give two points: market develop, increase investment on emerging markets, such as China and India, and the other is that developing new products. So those recommedations answer the second question they ask: How they can expand/further develop their business.

And to answer the last question they ask: The advice that you would give to this organisation to ensure successful development of their business, and why.
I give detailed advices on those two recommedations above.
For market developing in emerging markets, I suggest to open more stores, increase product range, acquistions and alliances, staff training, internal controls.
And for developing new products, I advise them to develop marketing research, Invest more on R&D, internal control.

And Kpmg’s auditors can help make decisions on new stores, and advisory could give suggestions on development of new products, acquisitions, internal controls and enhance performance, and tax services can provide perspecive on future developments with tax and regulartory authorities.

Are they all right and enough? Please give me some suggestion, which will be really helpful for me!!!

Many thanks!


Yeah that looks about right. Its more about how you can defend your ideas, so keep some of your presentation back, so when your asked you will have some quite good answers. Otherwise, from my experiances your on the right track. In my opinion; the partner interview is the most important so i would advise using as many people on here with experiance as you can becuase they may have something useful to offer. I hope your successful a you AC, please keep me informed!

Good Luck!


That is helpful, axs772.

Can I use the same examples for competency questions in Parter interview, as the first interview, please?

Some people here said yes, but some of them said no, what’s your opinion?



I wouldnt, you can use similar exampls but using the same is risky. They write everything you say down in your first interview, and it would be quite naive to think that the partner wouldnt look at your file and skim through your notes.


Hi axs772

Congratulations! It seems quite a few people will start in 2010. You are so lucky!!!

Did you do your AC (Etray and Partner Interview) on the same day or separately?


Hey Guys, if any of you did the AC in London yesterday on the 25th, let me know about the outcome! :slight_smile:


Hi guys, I’m going to have a 1st interview with KPMG on audit in a week’s time. About the number of examples, I got a email reply from HR that 3 examples for each competence. But I’m not sure does this mean 3 examples for each question ie have you worked in a team, or for a teamwork type question?