Jens Hartke is 45 years old and director of Governance & Assurance. He lives in Hanover and Bielefeld, and is a true Lower Saxony. He explains in the following interview why he has taken root here professionally and privately.
What connects you to Hanover and the Lower Saxony region?
Jens Hartke: I was born in Bielefeld and also studied there. In 2001, I came to Hanover for my first job as a lawyer for KPMG. Because of that, I am deeply rooted here, but I also dared to think outside the box. Before I started in Hanover, I spent a year with KPMG in Johannisburg and was on short-term assignments for international projects on almost every continent.
What do you appreciate about the region and its people?
Jens Hartke: I like that people are very open minded in this area. This refers to friends, colleagues but also to clients. You get honest feedback about your work. The people are down to earth and pleasantly restrained. This can be seen, for example, in corporate governance: here in the region we have large corporations, large medium-sized companies, family-run companies with a very long history, and most of them are characterized by restrained leaders.
This withdrawnness - I appreciate that, even privately. I have a extravagant hobby: restoring and driving oldtimer, and there are many like-minded people in Bielefeld and Hanover to meet and exchange, but you would never make a big rally here to attract attention.
What is your technical expertise and what relevance does this have for the companies in the region?
Jens Hartke: As an expert in the field of Governance & Assurance, I help companies and their owners and board members as well as managing directors to reduce their liability. I support and advise on the proper implementation of management systems in the areas of risk management, compliance management, internal control system and internal audit.
Many BGH decisions in the area of compliance make it necessary for companies to prove that they have set up structures that help to prevent incidents. We support the companies. Especially when it comes to new regulatory issues such as data protection regulation, money laundering directive and tax compliance management systems, we are more and more addressed.
We want to provide companies in our region with even better information on these topics and therefore also organize events that are very well attended. This tells us how much the demand in this area is increasing. I believe that we can offer even more services here for the sake of governance and assurance, and that we can earn the trust of companies.
If the client shows us where the issues in the past were in the area of non-compliance, we can use this to set up preventive measures for the future. The clients then see that it works, and we then get it back - in the form of feedback and follow-up orders. And that's what makes the market so attractive to me and my team here.
Which target group are you addressing?
Jens Hartke: Initially, these were mainly the up-regulated companies, i.e public companies and the large corporations. Increasing regulation has meant that even the smaller companies to which this regulation applies have recognized the importance of these management systems in the area of corporate governance - because, for example, they now also have to maintain a management system in the area of data protection. That's why today my target group are companies of all sizes, with a focus on corporates.
What exciting developments are there?
Jens Hartke: For us, our new office has given us a new spirit in the team, that's one thing. But we also notice that we are now perceived differently on the market, not only - and I do not mean that at all negatively - as a long-established auditor and tax consultant, but as someone who cares for a company innovatively and also deals with regulatory innovation. For this purpose, we are also re-launching our market approach and are starting to acquire precisely those companies that have never seen us so far: as a company that can provide security in corporate management and in the implementation of the corresponding systems.
Why is KPMG the clear choice for Lower Saxony?
Jens Hartke: There is a very clear answer: Because we can provide comprehensive advice to clients, especially in SMEs, because we are innovative with our Ignition Center in Hanover and not only develop new ideas for customers and targets, but do it all together.