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KPMG U.S. appoints Heather C. Paquette as National Tech Assurance leader – Audit

New role will drive ongoing multidimensional transformation efforts to sustain quality technology audits

The use of technology is accelerating across business processes.

KPMG U.S. announces the appointment of Heather C. Paquette to lead the National Tech Assurance practice within KPMG Audit. 

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Building a dynamic National Tech Assurance practice within KPMG Audit is part of a multidimensional and multiyear transformation that highlights technology as the future of audit.


"We are upskilling our professionals to not only meet market demand for technology assurance and attestations but also to create the capacity and structure to go deep and innovate to stay ahead," said KPMG Vice Chair – Audit Scott Flynn. “We are laser-focused on meeting the need for complex attestations of AI, ESG, cloud, blockchain and more.”


The use of technology — including cloud, automation, artificial and cognitive intelligence, and blockchain — is accelerating across business processes.

  • Most CEOs (74%) are increasing the digitization of their operations.
  • Two-thirds of CEOs are augmenting their workforce with automation and artificial intelligence.
  • Most business leaders say AI is functional at their organization.


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Organizations have an immense opportunity to gain efficiency and unlock value, but they are also exposed to operational, cyber and other risks.


"Heather has the track record of innovation to focus and accelerate this team's passion and talent, along with the experience to drive true collaboration across our firm to the benefit of audit quality and our clients’ experience," Flynn added.


Paquette is a veteran of the United States Air Force and moves to Audit from her current role as a Bay Area Risk Assurance senior people management leader who oversees the Internal Audit & Enterprise Risk, Technology Risk Management and Tech Assurance practices in three offices. She has more than 26 years of experience in financial audit, information technology and business processes, focusing on risk and control. Prior to this role, Paquette also led the Bay Area Service Organization Control practice, providing attestation services to the market’s many software-as-a-service companies, and served as a Tech Assurance specialist for some of the firm’s largest audit accounts. In addition, she previously served as the KPMG Michigan managing partner, where she was responsible for creating a great place to work and increasing KPMG integration and visibility in the market. 


In addition to Paquette, the Tech Assurance practice will be led by Regional Tech Assurance Leaders Matt Johnson (East) and Robb Soles (West) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Controls Leader Eric Bloesch.


Advancing KPMG's effort to deliver an exceptional audit experience with deep tech assurance capabilities

KPMG U.S.’ smart audit platform, KPMG Clara, is its foundation and starting point. Over the past two years, KPMG has upskilled more than 4,000 auditors on new data extraction, transformation and analytic capabilities. Technology assurance capabilities are being further developed with more than 1,500 audit professionals benefiting from cross-training on IT audit skills as part of KPMG’s Next Gen Auditor program, which integrates technology into core competencies.


The Tech Assurance practice encompasses 950+ partners and professionals focused on IT audit, SOC attestations and real-time system assessments. The practice also continues to invest in cyber, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies, blockchain, cloud and ERP control capabilities.


"We are reimagining how we think about technology assurance innovation within the context of audit transformation," Paquette said. "Integrating tech assurance capabilities across our practice into how we work with clients and how we invest in the future will deliver an exceptional audit experience for our people and our clients."


These efforts to unlock new capabilities within the audit practice is complemented by the rapid growth of KPMG's Center for Audit Solutions, an innovative shared service and Center of Excellence organization. In the last fiscal year, the Service Organization Control (SOC) 1 review team supported more than 1,000+ SOC 1 reviews.


"In concert with expanded capabilities, enhanced data & analytics and integrated tech assurance, we believe our overall delivery model is structured to drive a more responsive and tailored experience for our clients," Paquette added.


Staying ahead of the curve

"The pace of change creates challenges for management and audit committees. Through this multidimensional effort, we are positioned to bridge gaps, deliver actionable insights and enhance audit quality," Paquette said.


The Tech Assurance practice is focused on multiple areas across industries.

  1. Cyber: KPMG's 2021 survey of executives from more than 50 leading health systems found that CFOs and audit and compliance committee chairs highly prioritize cybersecurity, while other priorities diverge. Across industries, cybersecurity is a risk that company leadership must learn to grapple with as technology adoption continues to accelerate.
  2. ESG: According to a KPMG global survey of 5,200 companies, 80% of companies — 96% of the world's largest 250 companies and 90% of North American companies — report on sustainability as of December 2020. ESG is part of the strategy for top companies and a norm for companies across sectors.
  3. Blockchain: In the technology industry, nearly half of the business leaders surveyed by KPMG believe that blockchain will likely change the way they do business. For businesses, understanding ever-evolving blockchain technologies may be the key to unlocking supply chain improvements and accelerating digital transformation.
  4. Cloud: KPMG's third annual Cloud Threat Report in 2020 showed that nearly 90% of respondents expect all their workloads to be autonomously updated within three years. With the ongoing expansion of cloud adoption and more traditional software vendors migrating to the cloud, companies must understand the risks and financial reporting implications to have well-informed conversations with investors and other stakeholders.
  5. Enterprise resource planning: Less than half of organizations that responded to a KPMG survey leverage automated controls for their ERP controls. This, along with the growing popularity of companies using cloud-based ERP systems to integrate end-to-end global processes, highlights the importance of improved awareness and solutions in risk mitigation for ERP applications.
  6. Digital acceleration: The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook found that nearly half of the CEOs surveyed say the pandemic sharply accelerated progress in creating a seamless digital customer experience.

About KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent professional services firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. The KPMG global organization operates in 146 countries and territories and has close to 227,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG member firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

KPMG LLP is widely recognized for being a great place to work and build a career. Our people share a sense of purpose in the work we do and a strong commitment to community service, inclusion and diversity and eradicating childhood illiteracy. Learn more at www.kpmg.com/us.

Contact

Elizabeth Lynch
KPMG LLP
elizabethlynch@kpmg.com
1 201 505 6316

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