A digital-first future

  • Bill Thomas, Leadership |

When I began my career some 30 years ago in Vancouver, the way we worked was very different. Young audit trainees visited customer sites to count things by hand, recorded results with a pen and paper and “files” were exactly that – papers kept in individually numbered folders that were, when the engagements were finished, stored off-site in cardboard archive boxes.  

Email and desktop computers were the exception not the norm, written memoranda were exchanged between interested parties by mail, and only a select few executives had mobile phones which certainly weren’t small enough to fit into a pocket.

Fast forward to 2020 – files that used to be stored in warehouses are now stored in the cloud and the business landscape is almost unrecognizable, compared to the one in the ‘90’s. The pace of progress has been remarkable, even unprecedented.

Some things don’t change, however, and the idea of stewardship at KPMG is the same today as it was then. As leaders we have a responsibility to plan, design and implement strategies to use our collective investments in the best way possible and ensure the continued success and relevance of our business. We strive to follow a strategy that not only focuses on clients, but that also empowers our people to learn and build prosperous and fulfilling careers with an organization that we hope will be around for the next 150 years.

With this in mind, KPMG is embarking upon a five-year collective investment, expecting to spend US$5 billion on technology, people and innovation. This investment will accelerate the digital transformation of KPMG member firms, and will enable highly-skilled KPMG professionals to deliver the latest advancements across Audit, Tax and Advisory to clients.

As part of this investment, KPMG will use Microsoft Azure and Azure AI as the backbone of a common, global cloud-based platform to strengthen our range of digital offerings in a more consistent, continuous and global way.  

KPMG and Microsoft share a common commitment to support and empower business transformation and we inspire each other to innovate and be the best that we can be for our clients. This was only made clearer when Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and I discussed the strength, depth and breadth of our alliance.

Our alliance with Microsoft has become a critical component in helping our member firms deliver industry-leading solutions and services to clients. Together, we will continue to leverage the best of both organizations to empower our people and our clients to succeed in a digital-first future.