KPMG in Sri Lanka recognized as the “Most Respected Entity in Sri Lanka” for the Financial Services Sector by LMD Media Services. The ranking of Sri Lanka’s most respected entities is based on a survey of working people undertaken by leading multinational research firm Nielsen on behalf of Media Services.
KPMG Sri Lanka is one of the largest professional service firms in the country with a history spanning over a century. Boasting a resource base of 19 partners, and more than 1,400 professionals and associates, the firm provides a range of services across the audit, tax and advisory spectrum. With a value system built on the pillars of integrity, honesty, professionalism, transparency, ethics, accountability, diligence and sound governance, KPMG has built a reputation as one of the leading audit firms in Sri Lanka through its multidisciplinary approach, diverse industry knowledge and global perspective.
Q: How is ethical conduct promoted within KPMG Sri Lanka?
A: KPMG Sri Lanka was among the first of the ‘big four’ to publicly announce its core values, which we actively promote and inculcate throughout the firm. These values are non-negotiable and form the broad cornerstones on which people are assessed.
We have established a framework to bring these values into our day-to-day operations in the form of a risk management structure and continuous training. The senior partners of the firm take on the role of risk management partner to ensure that this framework always functions within an ethical framework. This sets the tone at the top.
Furthermore, while financial performance is generally assessed in terms of profits and revenue, we strive to ensure that targets are achieved in compliance with our values by assigning equal weightage for nonfinancial targets.
Staff members are also encouraged to provide feedback on the ethical conduct of senior leadership through a KMPG Global People Survey. And as part of our effort to walk the talk, we have a dedicated hotline coordinated by KPMG International enabling individuals within or outside the firm to report any unethical behaviour on the part of the leadership team while ensuring that the identity of the reporter’s identity is never revealed and no action will be taken against the reporter.
Q: How has the firm adapted its services to address client requirements?
A: Our approach has shifted from having functional teams basis to client centric solution basis services. What this means is we aim to provide holistic solutions with multi-disciplinary teams that offer rather than piecemeal services. For instance, offering supply chain management might involve supply chain, IT advisory and assurance teams. This shift requires a change in mind-set. I and isn’t merely a local trend but a global phenomenon.
Q: In you view, is financial stability a gauge of corporate success?
A: While there was a time when the size and stability of an organisation were used as measures to determine success, the world has undergone several changes. The gauge for corporate success has moved on from merely financial stability and now encompasses new factors.
In the KPMG 2019 Global CEO Outlook, two factors stood out: agility and resilience. Changes in the market can put pressure on traditional ways of doing business, and companies must be able to read these changes and adapt, while also facing and overcoming resulting challenges and shocks.
We also learnt that globally, CEOs are recognising the importance of sustainability in achieving long-term success.
Q: Why should corporates look into doing business globally?
A: Customer centricity has become a central factor with emerging changes in customer requirements, which means organisations must focus on disrupting traditional business models and crossing borders as the market is now global.
Technological developments and globalisation enable businesses to perform services anywhere in the world without the need to be physically present.
These developments make it critical for firms such as ours to think globally and implement planning processes that account for the global perspective.
For instance, our cybersecurity lab is able to provide penetration testing services to global clients while leveraging lower costs. Similarly, with cloud technology, we’re able to provide a range of services including accounting services to the global market.
Q: How important are stakeholder perceptions – and why?
A: Stakeholder perceptions can form the basis of an organisation’s reputation. Positive perceptions cannot be bought and are formed over time through interactions, trust, confidence and quality among other aspects.
Because of this, our Talent management process, Quality and risk management systems and Client service reviews (CSR) are geared towards ensuring that we achieve a quality standard that clients perceive positively.
CSR also plays a role in stakeholder perceptions.
In our view, trust will naturally develop once quality is established, enabling us to be perceived as trusted advisors.
Q: How does the communications function help garner corporate respect?
A: We’ve been taking certain initiatives to meet the emerging needs of clients while also increasing market awareness of our various services. To this end, we set up a full-fledged marketing team, and have released Thought leadership documents with in depth analysis of the local market which further shows our commitment to Sri Lankan clientale as a whole. The Global CEO Outlook is a research carried out amongst 1,300 CEOs of systemically large corporates around the world. This year for the first time we took the initiative to work with our global team to include 30 of our own CEOs.
Our focus is on discovering what the clients would need tomorrow and addressing those requirements today.
As we have strategic partnerships with different professional and commercial societies and associations, many of our partners contribute towards knowledge sharing and thought leadership initiatives. Part of our communications strategy also centres on spreading awareness about our leadership team’s direct involvement in the corporate sector and society at large.
Q: And how is KPMG Sri Lanka looking to address gender diversity among its ranks?
A: A number of initiatives have been taken locally and globally to increase the number of women in leadership. Locally, four of our 17 partners are female, which is among the highest proportions in the region. And about 40 percent of second tier directors being prepared for leadership roles are female.
This is an area that we’re focussing on as we would like to see more high performing women in leadership roles so we’re looking into how we can provide support such as flexible working hours to accommodate family needs.
As KPMG Sri Lanka aims to better serve its clients through a shift to holistic solutions, it also looks to set itself apart as the clear choice in the professional services sector by adding value to and making a sustainable difference for clients in the local and global arenas.