Some help for KPMG applicants

Total
#1

As I am no longer part of the KPMG recruitment process because of UK visa refusal I just want to share some of information which I gathered for my assessment center. Unfortunately I couldnot make up to the Assessment Center but this will help others who are in going for an AC with KPMG.

Some key facts about KPMG which you may quote during your interview process to impress the partner

KPMG is one of the largest accounting firms in the world and part of the big 4. KPMG has shown an excellent name and reputation in the field of accounting and assurance services. There is a long list of reasons why I find KPMG the best firm than all other accounting firms.

• KPMG had the highest annual growth rate among the firms with 17.4%, followed by Deloitte at 15.5%, Ernst and Young at 15% and PricewaterhouseCoopers at 14.4% in 2007
• Combined International revenue for KPMG rose to a massive of 19.81 billion from 16.88 billion in 2006.
• Its not only about 2007 if we see back we can see Growth rate of 13.4 percent in 2004, 16.7% in 2005, Around 10% in 2006, and 17.4% in 2007.
• KPMG provides services to 76% companies listed on fortune Global 500.
• KPMG grew by 20.9% in Europe
• KPMG is the largest fully integrated firm in Europe after the formation KPMG Europe LLP with a total revenue of up to Euro 4.2bn. 23000 employees and 75 offices.
• Germany, UK, Spain and Switzerland have already become part of KPMG Europe LLP and Dutch partners have also voted in favour of joining this mega company.
• Global Firm of the Year
• Audit Team of the Year
• Accountant of the Year
• Corporate Finance Deal of the Year
• KPMG’s Global Insurance practice wins Best Accounting Firm of the Year 2008 award
• KPMG Joins the Millennium Villages Project to Help Address Extreme Poverty in Africa KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, has announced a $1.5 million contribution over the next five years to Millennium Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, to help support a Millennium Village in Tanzania.
• The Millennium Villages project - the flagship initiative of Millennium Promise, implemented in cooperation with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – now reaches over 400,000 people in 80 villages across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to KPMG in the U.S., KPMG International, KPMG in Japan, KPMG in Canada and KPMG in Russia are also providing financial and other commitments to support the project.
• Accountancy age magazine said you will be the first firm to integrate its global IT
• Was impressed with your growth rates in UK
20% growth in annual profits in 2007
• 11% growth in you revenues
• 94% of your clients are more than satisfied with your services (its better that PwC because it was somewhere around 88% there.
• 99% of flexible work applications were accepted
• 94% of your employees are happy to be associated with you
• 95% of your electricity comes from renewable sources
• You paid pound 100m bonuses to your employees this the most substantial than all other firms and it was up by 25% in 2007
• Some outstanding growth rates Audit 6% Tax 11% Advisory 13% Forensic 33%, Restructuring 9%, Corporate Finance 16%
• Transaction services 25%
• Auditor of the year 3 years in a row in UK
• P5.7m contributed to community help works
• 50% C02 cut against the 2006 Building Regulations.
• You are building your new offices in both London Canary Wharf and Birmingham which will be occupied next year
• 88.3% of paper used is now recycled.
• 4.8 million travel miles have been saved through car sharing and video conferencing this year.
• KPMG was first among the ‘Big Four’ to:
Publish an Environment Policy.
• 34% of our graduate intake is from minority ethnic backgrounds
• 88% of FDs surveyed by Real Finance would recommend KPMG as their auditor
• I was just reading a list of major clients switchover in the USA and I was impressed to see that no major switch over has happened from KPMG to other firms but I have got a list of 5 major switch-overs from other firms to KPMG.

  1. Unisys Corp. FY2007 Audit Fees: $11,000,000
    Firm that HAD the Fees in FY2007: Ernst & Young
    Firm that WILL get the fees in FY2008: KPMG

  2. CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. FY2007 Audit Fees: $8,400,000
    Firm that HAD the Fees in FY2007: Deloitte & Touche
    Firm that WILL get the fees in FY2008: KPMG

Aspen Technology Inc. FY2007 Audit Fees: $5,245,554
Firm that HAD the Fees in FY2007: Deloitte & Touche
Firm that WILL get the fees in FY2008: KPMG

Borland Software Corp. FY2007 Audit Fees: $4,306,996
Firm that HAD the Fees in FY2007: PricewaterhouseCoopers
Firm that WILL get the fees in FY2008: KPMG

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. FY2007 Audit Fees: $4,263,000
Firm that HAD the Fees in FY2007: Ernst & Young
Firm that WILL get the fees in FY2008: KPMG

Ames Research Group Conducted a research on how much Big 4 suffered because of current credit crisis.

They said:

From our quick analysis (we believe our numbers are right, but provide no guarantees), Deloitte appears to be the most negatively impacted.

Deloitte loses almost $130 million of audit, tax and advisory fees at 2007 levels due to the change of ownership of:
Merrill Lynch (2007 total fees: $57.1 million, 2006 total fees: $51.9 million)
Bear Stearns (2007 total fees: $20.8 million, 2006 total fees: $18.7 million)
FannieMae (2007 total fees: $49.3 million, 2006 total fees: $42.2 million)

Next comes PricewaterhouseCoopers with a loss of $73 million at 2007 levels due to the change of ownership of:
Freddie Mac (2007 total fees: $73.1 million, 2006 total fees: $46.1 million)

Next comes Ernst and Young with a loss of $30 million at 2007 levels due to the change of ownership of:
Lehman Brothers (2007 total fees: $30.1 million, 2006 total fees: $29.5 million)

Surprisingly, KPMG, which is known to be strongest in financial services and known to have the largest client roster in this sector has been unaffected as yet.

#2

I made a list of following competency based questions that were asked by various applicants who wrote their experiences about KPMG Assessment Center here in wikijob.

I spent long time to consolidate all those questions and here is the list that can help KPMG applicants

• Describe the most challenging situation you’ve had to deal with and the ways you dealt with it.
• Describe a situation where you have thought of a new or creative way of dealing with a problem.
• Describe a time when you encountered an especially difficult project. What did you do and what was the result?
• What do you consider to be your greatest personal or school related accomplishment and what steps did you take to achieve it?
• Describe your most successful effort in promoting teamwork within a group and how they responded.
• What would someone you’ve worked for describe as your strengths? What about areas that need improvement?
• Describe a situation when your work or one of your ideas was criticized. How did you respond?
• Describe a situation in which you’ve shown a great deal of initiative.
• Describe a goal that you have set for yourself in the last year.

What is your proudest achievment?
Tell me a time when you have had to coach someone after a poor performence?
Tell me a time when you have had to step in and take the initiative?
Tell me a time when you have had to adjust your approach after a sudden change in objectives?
Tell me a time when you have had a manage a team?

Give me an example of when you’ve worked in a team. What was your role in the team? Did you take a leadership position within the team?
Tell me about a time you’ve overcome a problem. How did you overcome the problem? What was the outcome?
When have you worked under pressure. How did you cope under pressure? What was the outcome of this pressure situation?
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

#3

Uzairch, U r such a good man

#4

Following links can help increase knowledge about current Economic crisis and Financial crisis

You can also be asked what is the affect of current financial crisis on Accounting firms

  1. New legislations can be evident after these crisis which can affect accounting firms
  2. When ever a company collapses first finger is always pointed towards what were the auditors doing.
  3. Due to current economic slow down there will be slowdown in expansion projects and investments… This will lead to slowdown in advisory services and advisory revenues for accounting firms.
#5

As for partner presentation you can use the following 6 factors as key to expansion

Horizontal Integration
Vertical Integration
Mergers
Acquisitions
Joint Venture or alliance
Franchising or licensing

Use the Ansoff model to explain future strategy for your company

Give a competitor analysis :
What are major competitors and give a comparison of ratios of all companies. Explain how can you become better in comparison to your competitors

Make this information also part of your presentation :

taken from http://www.expansionadvice.com/?cat=4

PARAPHRASE IT IN YOUR OWN WORDS

Financial markets are in a near-panic. Oil and gas prices set new records, seemingly daily. Financing is drying up, whether for consumers or businesses. Real estate prices continue their record spiral downward. Plummeting truck sales paralyze what’s left of “The Big 3”, while boat sales are at a 40 year low.

What a perfect time to invest in growth.

The Worst of Times Were the Best Of Times

Horrific times like these don’t come along often. But when they do, history shows that brave investors willing to leave the harbor and navigate tumultuous waters are often generously rewarded over the long haul.

Early 1990’s New England Real Estate: At the time, condo prices and commercial properties had dropped 50% in value in most markets (including some of Boston’s ritziest neighborhoods). Yet, there were few takers because people had been burned at much higher prices. People who did manage to scrap some money together were greatly rewarded.

The Stock Market: 1981. Our economy was in the deepest recession since The Great Depression. Short term interest rates were 18%. The stock market was sitting at 800, 20% below where it sat in 1966. People hated stocks then. Stocks proceeded to triple over the next 9 years.

Gold/Precious Medals 2000. Gold had an annualized return of -1% over the past 20 years. “Experts” said, don’t buy gold. Gold has quadrupled since then.

Think Expansion
When times get tough, people get scared. You should be thinking expansion. Consider the following areas.
Airlines: For those airlines not teetering on bankruptcy, at the very least, maintain your level of service, or if possible, expand into markets that need your service. A reduction in industry capacity will bring higher prices to offset higher fuel costs. JetBlue, and particularly, Southwest, now is your time.

Franchising: Ironically, franchising is often counter-cyclical. During bad times, many people search for something new to do with their lives (or are forced to by early retirement in the financial services field or the above-mentioned fields). Is your concept positioned to take advantage of the times?

Construction: Same lesson. Ratchet up customer service (which you should have done in 2005 by the way). If you managed to save any money, buy up land and equipment at fire sale prices and hang in there. Your time will come after most of your competitors have left (fled) the building.

Retailers: With the demise of Linen N’ Things, The Sharper Image and others soon to come, now would not seem like the best time to expand. Au Contraire. As these companies fold, vacancies will rise and occupancy costs are sure to fall. In the not too distant future, it’s possible that you’ll be able to lock in that 10 year lease at low market rates or, buy real estate that suits your needs.

Real Estate Investors: Markets are likely to get even worse, before they get better for Florida, Nevada and California, but it’s worth sticking a toe (or foot) in the water. Already, sales are up dramatically in Detroit as prices have dropped something like 40% in the last year. Even with the auto industry implosion, that’s good news. The wild card here is long-term interest rates. If inflation rears its ugly head, then prices will go even lower.
New Venture/IPO Investors: During the dot-com bust of 2001-2002, most companies that conducted IPO’s during the late 90’s failed. A less known fact: the companies that went public during the recessionary times of the early 90’s survived as phenomenal successes. Why? They had stood the test of time during the worst of times. The same applies now.

U.S. Stock Market Investors: During the late 90’s, the average P/E (price-earnings) ratio hit 25, very expensive by historical standards where 17 has been the long term average over 80 years. We’re now at a P/E ratio of 15. While I do believe we may be in for some more rough years, prices of U.S. stocks are no longer expensive. We may be in for a number of years before hitting previous highs. Use dollar cost averaging and you’ll be fine.
While it is impossible to time market bottoms perfectly, it appears that the environment is becoming more favorable for those willing to take the risks.

Things You Can Do Now To Survive and Prosper

Last month, using history as a guide, I made the argument that the best time to invest is during the worst economic times. The feedback I received from business leaders was essentially one of agreement followed by the question, “how do I survive and prosper in this environment?” Most cited the triple threat of customer belt-tightening, limited resources and tight capital markets.
And that’s the paradox. Great opportunities currently exist because of the dearth of reasonable capital. Case in point: Multi-family home prices in Providence, RI recently dropped 47% from a year ago. The contributing factor? Financing for these properties has essentially dried up for all but the most qualified buyers. With the most recent turmoil, this lack of available capital is spreading to additional sectors of the debt market.
Barring a suitcase of cash magically appearing, what can business leaders do to persevere and take advantage of today’s challenging business climate? The following list offers eight suggestions.

  1. Service, service, service – Any company considering outside financing must demonstrate that management consistently addresses critical operational issues. Service quality is a great place to start.
    Many companies let service quality erode over time, often imperceptibly. An outside perspective is critical. Ask others to shop your services (or better yet, hire an outside secret-shopper firm) and provide feedback. Don’t give your customers an easy excuse to no longer conduct business with you.
  2. Streamline offerings – During good times, most companies tend to expand product and service offerings to build sales.

Attempting to be things to all people isn’t always the best strategy. Not only does added complexity sometimes hurt quality, but it can impact the bottom line through increased indirect overhead. Audit profit margins on individual products and services.
3. Review and rerun the numbers – For companies eyeing potential expansion, recalculate breakeven based off today’s economic conditions. Certain expenses have increased dramatically in recent years, but recessionary periods often bring lower costs. Retail space is dropping in certain markets, reducing breakeven for many companies.
4. Update/tweak your brand – Is your brand holding your company back?
Whole Foods is currently struggling with consumers’ “whole paycheck” perception even though their “365” house brand items are price-competitive against mass-market grocers’ offerings. Not a good place to be in these frugal times.
Make changes carefully. Markets can (and will) shift again. Just ask any company that added the letter “i” to their name back in 1999. It worked fine for Big Party’s transition to iParty, but where are the rest of “i-Companies” now?
5. Open communication channels – Sticking one’s head in the sand hoping the problems go away is not an effective strategy. Open a dialog with employees (and in some cases, customers) about the current environment. Most good ideas come from the trenches. Mine them.
6. Pump up the marketing – Most companies cut marketing budgets during bad times to cut costs. Not always the smartest move. Even if your company is running a lean marketing budget, dig for alternative, cost-effective marketing strategies to get the story out. Do you have a success story that contrasts with the doom and gloom permeating our lives? Grab some PR on it.
7. Ignore the negative chatter –The media has a tendency to dwell on negative stories. It’s what sells.
Take the beleaguered restaurant industry where the combination of rising food and energy costs and reduced consumers spending are battering many chains.
What has gained little attention is the increasing availability of affordable attractive restaurant space in some markets. The ability to find competent help, the bane of nearly every one of my clients, has eased a bit. Yet, these current “benefits” were reported as the worst problems three years ago when the restaurant industry was far healthier.
Is the glass is half full or half empty? You decide.
8. Network for money – If you have a profitable business model, the money will follow. It just might take a bit of legwork to find the alternative financing sources that are sitting on the sidelines waiting for the right opportunities.

Conclusion
When driving, we’re most out of control at the top of a hill looking down, versus at the bottom of the hill driving upward. We’re near the bottom of that hill. For those people willing to take calculated risks, now is the time to step on the gas and climb that mountain.

#6

that was some excellent information! It definitely shows that you did your research, so im sorry to hear that you werent able to come over to the UK cos of some visa-trouble

#7

Sorry to hear that, don’t let it get on top of you though. Keep up the good efforts!

#8

Uzairch, thank you so much for all your effort here. It’s admirable that you’re trying to help others while you’ve been unfortunate. KPMG are quite obviously missing out on you.

#9

hey guys I can see a great deal of effort here from Uzair…thank you so much

Guys I managed to pass the first round interview at KPMG…now preparing for my assessment centre…Anyone who has an interview coming up with KPMG let me know I will post my experience.

#10

Just a quick advise from Uzair, what company were you thinking of doing for your partners presentation? I am really confused…Should I focus on the airline industry or just retail sector to be safe?

#11

Fair play Uzairch that’s really good of you to have gone out your way and posted that. I echo the previous sentiments about KPMG having lost out on a great asset, you certainly put an awful lot of effort into that!

#12

best post i’ve read on wikijob, and i’ve not even applied to kpmg. I’m sure things will work out Uzairch, you’ve proven your unquestionable drive, motivation and selflessness to us and you will have no problems career wise with such an attitude

Good luck

#13

Mate, this has hit home just how much research I need to do!

#14

Hi Minty23!..I have my first round interview coming up on monday…I have prepared examples for the competencies…but if there is anything else you can give me the heads up on it would be much appreciated!!..thanks x

#15

Hi guys, ive got my first round interview coming up in a few days at kpmg and i think im prepared for it (prepared examples etc) however any sort of advice would be appreciated, nice 1

#16

Hi Az345!!

I had my interview before xmas and finally got a reply to say I had passed it today!..I think all I can advise is that you have as many examples as you can think of for each of the competencies because I did find that examples do begin to somewhat overlap especially since my interviewer kept asking me for more than 2 examples per competency!..The questions you get are set and are generated from your papi questionnaire results…to be honest I was sweating after the interview…felt like a roasted chicken…so I didn’t remember all the questions…but here are a few of them:

  • when did you work as part of a team? What was your role? How did you influence the team? Were there any conflicts?
  • Has there ever been a time when you have been content with the work you produced in a given time?
  • Have you ever used others performance to judge your own?
  • Situation where you had to adapt to a new way of working and didn’t like it?
  • Situation in which you had to challenge someones way of doing something?
  • Situation where the plan changed and you had to change your approach?

I hope this helps and just to let you know I did appli for public sector which may have been why the interview was a little different to what I had expected!..But good luck and hope it all goes well!!

xx

#17

Thanks for that Seetal14, i’ll try coming up with more examples for each competency, wish me luck in the interview!

#18

Hi Seetal14

have you had your ac yet? ive got one coming up in the next few weeks. Have you any advice?

#19

hi Az345!

I’ve not had my full assessment day…but I had half just yesterday…thats the e-tray and the group exercise!..The e-tray consisted of two exercises, the first part lasts 70 mins and requires you to answer 24 emails, by choosing the best out of 4 options (multiple choice). - the scenario is that you are taking the role of a member of staff with similar expertise to yourself who has been taken ill; you will therefore be forwarded all their emails and asked to give recommendations based on information that you will be given both in a booklet and on the computer. The recommendations may relate to when a particular task can be completed by; may involve simple calculations and also your general opinion. It will be important for you to try and remember what you answered with relation to a particular subject in a prior email, although you can go back and click on emails you have already answered if needs be - however this can waste time so try and be as vigiliant as possible. The second part of the e-tray involves you responding to 2 emails in written form - the time given is 50 mins and I must admit it is quite time pressured since one of the emails has a lot that you can recommend - but they are assessing your time management quite closely here so ensure that you spend no more than 25 mins on either as it can go against you. Before beginning to write the email make sure you absorb all the information because I found that I wasted time on my second email because I rushed to writing without reading everything carefully.

After completing the e-tray test we went for a 2 hour lunch which was lovely lol…After lunch some people went off for their interviews whilst 4 of us completed the group activity. The group activity lasted 50 mins altogether - 10 mins individual prep; 30 mins group discussion; 10 mins presenting a summary. The group exercise I think was quite straight forward, the task was to recommend 4 issues that the online business needed to address, 2 immediately and the other 2 in due course. Issues were obvious in the text given, e.g. improve customer service, improve perception of privacy and security, change product range etc. The only thing I can say for this is try and use figures to back your views where you can and if possible try and lead atleast one recommendation, i.e. be the instigator of that point. Besides that maintain eye contact with the person speaking and also if possible try and bring some light humor into the activity - i don’t mean crack a joke lol…just use something your discussing which you think is quite appalling and make a joke of it!

I think thats all I remember…I’ll give you input on the interview once I’ve had it…hope this helps!

Takecare and good luck!

Seetalx

#20

Hi

Thanks for that seetal you’ve covered a lot. I’ve got my ac in 2 halves as well. Is there any way we can practice for the e-tray before hand? (i.e. some online practice)

Thanks a bunch once again

az345