Who are you and how long have you worked for KPMG?
My name is Alexandra, and I am a Manager in Audit Central Switzerland.
I had never thought about working in Audit. I always thought that I would work as a history teacher after finishing my studies. But because I have always been a numbers person, plus crazy enough to do something completely new, I started my career as a trainee at KPMG in Audit Central Switzerland in 2013.
During your time at KPMG, you have changed from Audit Central Switzerland to IFRS DPP Zurich and back again. Tell us about your different roles.
In Audit, I began my studies to become a Swiss certified public accountant and worked on audits of various national and international clients in the trade, industry, and service sector. I always enjoyed being on site with the clients and gaining direct insight into their organizations and finances. Being part of the excellent Central Switzerland team and getting to work with different people every week is what I enjoy the most.
Starting in May 2019, I switched to the Department of Professional Practice (DPP) for a two-year rotation and was part of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) group. I worked in a small team of experts there. My new responsibilities included answering consultations from Audit teams, performing reviews of annual reports, and developing and presenting training sessions. My clients were now the Audit teams rather than external clients.
What motivated you to change roles?
After finishing my CPA, I was keen to see something new, deepen my professional knowledge, and become familiar with a different department in KPMG. I love delving into a topic and learning everything I can about it. This might be a holdover from my university days when I studied history: researching, collating argumenting, identifying connections, and presenting and explaining them clearly and comprehensibly. Additionally, I found it exciting to be involved in developing and presenting training sessions, since I had also taught introductory courses while I was at university. So, I thought: "DPP it is!"
How did you start the process of changing roles?
I consulted my Performance Manager and contacted our profit center leader in Central Switzerland and Head of DPP to see whether there were any vacancies in DPP and if a rotation could be possible.
At first, I was a little disappointed to find out that it wasn’t possible at that exact time and that a vacant position had just been filled a few weeks before. But one year later a rotation position became available in the IFRS DPP, and they remembered that I had been interested. After talking to the relevant contacts and getting a taste of a few IFRS projects with the Accounting Advisory team, it was clear that a rotation would be a good fit for both sides.
What were the biggest lessons that you learned?
Working together with highly experienced leading experts in the IFRS team and dealing with occasionally difficult technical issues on a daily basis significantly advanced my development. I learned so much in terms of technical IFRS knowledge and gained valuable insights into a different department, along with meeting new people and other Audit teams that I otherwise would not have worked with.
In May 2021, I once again changed roles and returned to Audit Central Switzerland. Now I can apply my newly gained knowledge and experience directly to the Audit teams and clients. The rotation was a highly enriching experience for me, both personally and professionally, which I can highly recommend to everyone.