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KPMG Singapore 75th anniversary story: Show me your staff pass

KPMG Singapore 75th anniversary story

See how KPMG’s staff pass evolved from simple laminated cards to the RFID ones used today.

See how KPMG’s staff pass evolved from simple laminated cards to the RFID ones used today.

See how KPMG’s staff pass evolved from simple laminated cards to the RFID ones used today

Source: ( Veritat , 14 March 2016) by Quentin Joseph and Tan Ter Cheah

What does it mean to be KPMG Singapore? This year, 2016, is a great time to reflect on that question as the firm turns 75 years old on 16 Oct 2016.

Many people in the firm have their own collection of KPMG memorabilia. Some collect mugs, T-shirts or notebooks. For Forensic Senior Executive Suziana Mustapha, one of her most prized collections of KPMG memorabilia is her collection of staff passes.

She showed the KPMG 75th Anniversary Celebrations team her collection of four passes (including the latest), which spans the three decades that she has been with the firm. Her collection is almost complete, she lamented, except for the one that she failed to keep from her earliest years with the firm, between 1984 and 1987.

Suziana , who joined the firm, then known as Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. in 1984, as an administrative assistant in the Tax department, said the staff strength then was only around 400-strong, and there were fewer than 20 partners. With every staff pass, she could tell a little story.

Her oldest pass was issued 16 Nov 1987, exactly a month after the firm’s 46th birthday and not long after it was renamed KPMG Peat Marwick. It was a rudimentary printed paper card, laminated with clear plastic, much like the identity cards and library cards from that era.

It wasn’t till 2000 that RFID (or radiofrequency identification) cards became the norm, and her first RFID staff pass was issued in October 2000, when the staff strength was 1,250, two years after the words ‘Peat Marwick’ were dropped from the firm’s name, becoming the KPMG that is known today.

The next pass was issued in June 2011, the year that the KPMG Clubhouse was officially opened. The current staff pass format was issued in 2012 or 2013, and does not have any personal information, like staff employee number, printed on it, for security and data protection reasons.

In fact, Suziana did not get this collection easily. For security reasons, old staff passes, then as now, had to be returned to the firm (and destroyed) when new passes were issued. But she wanted to hang on to them as keepsakes and had asked for permission. But she did not get a satisfactory reply. She said: “I hope they don’t come after me now asking for the cards to be returned!”

Although you can tell how dated the cards are from the wear-and-tear and oxidation, a look at Suziana’s photo shows that she has hardly aged. When told that, musing with her trademark mischievous grin, she said: “I’ve seen the people here age, their hair turning from black to white, them growing from thin to fat, and progressing from associate to partner! But one thing that’s never changed is the respect that people here show for one another!”

To her, this is a firm where people would go out of the way to help one another, especially the partners. Indeed, she said KPMG was, and still is, like one big family. So much so that she merrily added: “Occasionally, I still call a partner by his old extension number (it’s 500 by the way), and he in turn would call me mak cik .”

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