Audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG Caricom is leveraging the use of technology in its operations as it continues a two-year process of integrating its services across the Caribbean into a single entity.
Following on from an agreement inked in July this year with Microsoft to make use of artificial intelligence to modernise its workforce, the company last month entered into a partnership with ServiceNow, a digital work flow company operating across Latin America, aimed at improving KPMG clients' efficiency, reducing their costs and fostering more flexibility to meet the needs of stakeholders.
"The alliance will help corporation and governments in the Caribbean automate, streamline and consolidate processes which increased visibility to their IT [information technology] infrastructure," KPMG stated in a release.
Using cloud-based technology to drive its services, ServiceNow will now add another layer of support to the consulting expertise offered by KPMG across the Caribbean. This partnership will see the digital work flow curator expanding its business beyond the borders of the Latin American mainland and into the archipelago that is the Caribbean.
"KPMG professionals, through our global strategic alliance with ServiceNow, can deliver value to clients at pace and scale."
- Raymond Campbell
"This is an exciting opportunity to deliver significant transformation to our clients across Caricom, covering Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. As organisations in the region grapple with their digital journeys and look to accelerate their move away from manual processes to create great experiences for their employees and customers, KPMG professionals, through our global strategic alliance with ServiceNow, can deliver value to clients at pace and scale," Raymond Campbell, head of advisory, KPMG Caricom.
The company further highlights that the partnership with ServiceNow is a significant milestone as there is increased activity and demand for digital transformation and services across the Caribbean. Pointing to a study from the Economic Commission in Latin America and the Caribbean, KPMG substantiates its claim noting that approximately 70 per cent of the region's population uses the internet as the annual growth of Internet penetration has grown by 8 per cent on average in the last 10 years.
At the operation level, KPMG is working with global tech giants IBM and Microsoft to unlock growth opportunities. The partnership with the latter forms part of a US$12-billion investment from KPMG International Limited aimed at improving both the client engagement and the employee experience to ensure responsible, safe, and trustworthy interactions between the two groups.
KPMG will be using Microsoft's platforms across all three business lines: audit, tax and advisory. For audit, it will infuse data analytics, AI and Microsoft's Azure Cognitive Services into its processes with the use of its smart audit platform KPMG Clara. With regards to tax, KPMG will integrate Azure OpenAI and Microsoft Fabric with its KPMG Digital Gateway that will allow clients to access tax and legal services.
Commenting on the impact this new partnership would have on the Trinidad and Tobago's business environment, Campbell said that it would help KPMG's clients across both the public and private sectors in their digital transformation agenda, especially in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.
His colleague Ravi Sankar, head of cyber and technology at KPMG Caricom, noted further, "Through this expanded alliance relationship, KPMG will have access to the technology needed to deliver solutions and services to clients that keep pace with the changing economic, societal, and environmental landscape in which we operate. We will also see where the new AI capabilities can help organisations better manage risk, compliance, and security agendas, create meaningful data insights to inform intelligent decision-making and drive value by taking advantage of the latest innovative technologies," he added.
In the Caribbean, the technologies will also support the buildout of the company's outsourcing services KPMG in Jamaica Extended Support Services (KJESS) and KPMG Audit Team Extension (KATE).
"We have expanded our KATE business unit, which provides nearshore audit team secondments to other KPMG Islands Group member firms, especially those in international finance centres, giving our people in the region greater exposure to working on a portfolio of global financial services clients. This business is to expand significantly in the future," KPMG explained to Jamaica Observer.
KPMG Islands Group consists of KPMG Caricom — Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago — and KPMG member firms in The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Malta. The subsidiary is based in the Cayman Islands.
The company's technology push forms part of a significant reorganisation of its firms in Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states announced in 2021 which involved integrating tax, audit and advisory services into a single business entity, though operating across 12 countries. KPMG employs over 1,200 individuals including 24 partners and 18 directors across five physical offices.
When asked if the reorganisation has resulted in job losses, KPMG responded to Caribbean Business Report in the negative.
However, it highlighted that over the last two years it has invested in improving its audit quality management and monitoring; investing in environmental, social and governance services to help clients prepare for the reporting requirements; and launching key alliances with global technology companies to support digital transformation and innovation in the Caribbean.
"[We're also] establishing our cybersecurity centre of excellence, bringing a range of advanced solutions to help our clients identify and monitor ongoing risks and respond effectively to cyber threats and incidents," the company added.