In the Meet KPMG People series, our versatile experts share their stories. This time you'll have a chance to explore KPMG from within, as our experts reveal their unique KPMG journeys.
Ari Engblom, the Head of Legal Services and Tax & Legal Partner has been at KPMG for 25 years. During this time, the world of tax and legal services has gone through a tremendous change.
How did your KPMG career start?
– Several years ago, I saw a job posting promoting an international training for young tax advisors in Helsinki. At the time I had just graduated from the university, where I had studied both economics and law and I was looking for a place to put my studies into practice. I decided to apply to KPMG and the one thing that really drew me to the company was the international training opportunity. However, the position I was eventually offered was based in Turku. This meant that I could not participate in the international training, but nevertheless I decided to join the company. Actually a few of those with whom I studied at the same time at the School of Economics in Turku, are also still working at KPMG after all these years - one of them being our earlier CEO Kimmo Antonen.
How was the company at that time?
– The organization was quite different; most people were auditors. Our Advisory business was relatively small and there were only a handful of people working in the Tax practice, in Helsinki this meant five or six lawyers. The size of the company made it easy to get to know all the people in person, both in Helsinki and the regional offices. Currently in Tax & Legal we have over 60 tax advisors and lawyers in the regional areas and quite a lot more in Helsinki.
How has your career evolved at KPMG?
– Initially I started as an income tax advisor. Later, I got more responsibilities when the new middle market tax team emerged with the focus on private enterprise clients. I was also accountable for our regions and the Enterprise client segment that covered the majority of Finland geographically speaking. The Governmental segment was also a part of it at that time.
Those were quite busy times, but there was also a lot of growth, business development and great fun with both the colleagues and clients. For example, the initial idea to build a digital platform for clients (later to be known as KPMG Move) came together through inspirational discussions amongst a few colleagues in sunny Tampere. After several hiccups and development phases the tool was ready and during COVID-19 it was proven to be “the” tool for remote work collaboration.
Currently, I am a Partner at our Tax & Legal business function responsible of the Legal Services. Besides my core focus in Tax & Legal services, I have also learned a lot about Audit and Advisory Services along the way. I have also met a great number of people from other KPMG practices around the world with amazingly similar culture, interests, and challenges.
What is especially motivating in your work at KPMG?
– It is motivating to work together with our people and to mentor younger colleagues. I have been considered good at innovating new service models, products, or solutions for our clients as well as developing our business, all of which I enjoy. The wide range of competences we have means there are always new areas of collaboration to be found.
What makes KPMG unique?
– Looking back, we have always been encouraged and allowed to develop our business and provide new innovative solutions. The culture with an unconditional can-do approach challenges us to always find the best solutions for our clients.
– Colleagues are helpful and always ready to challenge you to evolve your thinking. Low hierarchy motivates all people. Everyone meets and corresponds with the clients regardless of the experience – the most junior colleagues together with us old hands. Relevance and meaningfulness of our everyday work becomes thus reality, it is highly motivating and makes a difference also to our clients, Ari sums up.