Lauren Morrissey is one of our partners in the Transaction Services team, part of Deal Advisory. But her career actually began in audit back in her home country of Australia, where she also earned her credentials as Chartered Accountant and spent the first seven years of her career at the KPMG office in sunny Sydney.

In 2008, she however made a bold move to Denmark, driven by a desire for new challenges with working in a different language, culture and the opportunity to travel in Europe: 

- Being part of KPMG’s global mobility program had been a goal for me since joining the firm. Many Australians transfer to London for a period after completing their accounting qualification. Having been a Rotary exchange student in Denmark seven years earlier, I had acquired a proficient level of Danish that enabled me to work here. So, I wanted to try something a little different and arranged a two-year secondment to Copenhagen with the purpose of me working for one of the largest audit clients – A.P. Møller-Mærsk.

Lauren Morrissey
Lauren Morrissey

Taking the big leap

Lauren was part of that audit team in KPMG Denmark for five years – a time she describes as exciting since she got to travel a lot while also working with other multinational clients, such as Pfizer, Estée Lauder and Falck together with local Danish clients. After extending her secondment and then becoming a local hire, she wanted to move further in her career at KPMG – but she didn’t want to study to become a state-authorised public accountant in Denmark which was the natural next step if she were to stay in the audit department:

I had already juggled study and work whilst living in Sydney and while I admire those who choose to do so, it was not for me to do that again. I started looking into Transaction Services and what that was all about and how I could use my audit skill set in a new way. I was also quite curious because I knew Dale Treloggen who is Australian and a Partner in Transaction Services at KPMG Denmark – and he had a leadership style which I thought was very inspiring.

For Lauren, this was the perfect next step in her career because transaction services and audit have a lot of things in common:

- Transaction services has its foundation in audit. It is kind of like doing an audit, but in the context of a transaction. So, if a company is being bought or sold, the transaction services team prepare the financial due diligence for this process. Often the timeline is a bit shorter than an audit and it has a bit of a different focus because we are very interested in things such as underlying earnings, net working capital and net debt whereas the purpose of the audit is to result in the financial statements.

Since 2013 Lauren has been part of the Transaction Services team and in 2019, she was promoted to Director - just before maternity leave with her second child. At the time, Lauren received comments that ‘Wow, promotion before maternity leave, that’s cool…. Or unusual... In response to this question, Lauren has something important to stress:

I was promoted to Director right before going on maternity leave with my second daughter and people were like, can you really be promoted just before you go on maternity leave? And you definitely can because these promotions are longer than the next 12 months in their horizon. It’s important to strive for promotions before extended leave periods so you can go out on a high – and come back ready for new and exciting challenges.

In 2022, Lauren was further promoted to Partner at KPMG Denmark. Something she describes as one of her biggest work-related successes. 

Lauren Morrissey
Lauren Morrissey

Being present at work and at home

When asked about her leadership style and what she finds important, Lauren highlights her strong focus on striking the right balance of how to be present and actively contribute on project teams  – and she also finds it crucial to let her colleagues know that flexibility is a key priority and benefit of their line of work:

I am passionate about demonstrating a modern leadership style supporting flexibility. Transaction services is all about deadlines – that can definitely require late nights, but there is also time between transactions, and when the process can be stop-start, information is pending etc. Sometimes, I hear people express their desire to start a family, and start to look for a new role away from Big 4 because they believe it will be too challenging to balance parenthood with their job at KPMG, or to continue to be promoted, be part of the exciting project teams etc. And I really think that is a misconception – because you can make it work! We have great flexibility, but you also have to own the flexibility and be a strong communicator.

But how does Lauren then manage the balance between motherhood and a job that in some periods takes up a lot of her time? There's no simple answer, but she has discovered that being proactive and having the courage to say no to certain commitments makes a significant difference:

- Some weeks are of course better than others. But I am very proactive with my calendar and in general also very proactive on projects, always reaching out to the client or to the other advisors to find out what's coming next. So, for me it helps to take a proactive approach instead of being reactive. And then I am practicing saying no to things. Particularly things in the evening so I make sure that I also have the time to be together with my family. I pick up and drop off my children most days. That is very important for me.

What Lauren often finds is that her clients obviously have families too which creates a mutual understanding that scheduling late afternoon meetings may not be ideal for any of them:

- They don't want to talk at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon either because their house is in the same chaos and noise level, a situation many parents can likely relate to. And sometimes when you're playing with LEGO blocks, the change in scenery might help your mind to come with potential solutions to some of the problems that you have been thinking about during the day.

The advice has hereby been passed on! Thanks to Lauren for giving us insight into her inspiring career, move from Australia to Denmark, and change from audit to transaction services.