“Being entrepreneurial is a mindset. Hence, it is not the prerogative of senior team members; everyone on the team can and should be entrepreneurial.”
What is your role in Audit and how long have you been at KPMG?
I am a Director in Audit Zurich, serving some of our largest multinational group audits, primarily in the life sciences industry. I recently celebrated 10 years with KPMG and have worked in three KPMG offices (Neuchatel, New York Metro and now Zurich).
How did you grow into being entrepreneurial in your role?
Being entrepreneurial is a mindset. Hence, it is not the prerogative of senior team members; everyone on the team can and should be entrepreneurial, and there are numerous ways to be entrepreneurial in Audit. As an example, I recall nudging my Partners to invest in data and analytics on a large group audit when the technology was still in its very early days. Back then this was a bold decision to make (which eventually paid off).
The same mindset applied to our new global audit tool where I suggested that one of my larger engagements ought to be part of the pilot deployment. There was no better way to learn the tool/methodology, and it eventually benefited the Swiss firm as a whole.
Suggesting ordering dinner to make your teams’ job easier during a long night in January, organizing social events for your team, or suggesting an unsolicited lunch with your key client contacts are other ways where we can all demonstrate entrepreneurship. Don’t be shy, if you see new opportunities, or have new ideas, bring them to the table and go for it.
How does KPMG support you in this regard?
I had the chance to work with great leaders who also embraced the entrepreneurial mindset. Hence, I generally faced limited pushback towards my ideas. This open mindset is critical and something I do my best not to forget, especially in my new role as Director, whereby the tables have turned, and younger colleagues are now looking for my support.
What kind of skills are needed to excel in your role?
I think you need to be willing to constantly learn, be it a new industry, a new client/project, a new team, a new tool/methodology, you name it. This means sometimes going outside your comfort zone and embracing the change.
What are your key strengths?
This is a tough question. I asked a few colleagues to make sure I am not totally biased. This is what came out…
Team player: I embrace working shoulder to shoulder with highly dedicated colleagues, and I will get my hands dirty. Creating a working environment where people can strive, learn and feel comfortable is part of my core values.
Decisive: I think I am not afraid of making decisions (sometimes good decisions, sometimes not so good). Nonetheless, I think that giving a clear direction and vision to the team is essential, and even if a questionable decision was made, in hindsight we will learn from it and grow as a team.
Client focused: Audit is often perceived as a profession focused on “numbers,” but relationships remain at the forefront of our profession. Building those relationships and accompanying our clients on their journey is something I particularly value.
Finally, what do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that every day is different. There is never a dull moment. I am constantly learning something new, developing new skills and building new relationships, both internally with KPMG teams across the world and externally with clients. While at times this can be exhausting, it is precisely what makes the profession rich and fulfilling.