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International women of risk - Natalie Faulkner

Q&A

Q&A

Introduce yourself. Tell us your name, your practice and your country. What are you currently focused on?

I’m Natalie Faulkner, Global Head of Fraud Risk for KPMG International and a forensic partner based in KPMG Australia. I’m currently focused on innovating and evolving fraud risk management offerings by building a holistic fraud operating model, working with alliance partners to leverage technology and working with the KPMG Israeli practice to develop a new KPMG investigation network analysis tool.

Tell us why you’re excited to be part of the International Women of Risk (IWOR) community. Why are you an ambassador?

I’m excited to be part of IWOR, because as a network of professionals we need to support, coach, mentor and sponsor each other to reach our full potential.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I started my career in London in the financial services audit practice of another Big 4 organization where I qualified as a chartered accountant. Shortly after, I decided to return home to Sydney. Within a year of working in the Sydney practice, I began looking for a new challenge, and saw an internal posting for dispute analysis and investigations. I wasn’t particularly into spy novels, but who doesn’t like an action movie? I was intrigued!

I took the opportunity to move divisions and was excited by the work, which was a good mix of fraud risk management, fraud and forensic accounting investigations, disputes and expediting insurance claims. I was working with big corporates on high profile client cases across various industries.

During this time, I got married and had three children. My husband and I were both working full time. Life was a juggle and a bit of a blur. People would, and still do, ask me how I do it.

I was blessed with a female mentor during this time. She encouraged me at work to strive for promotions, and she took the time to coach me so I learned a lot from her – for this I am very grateful.

A new opportunity then came up for me to move to Perth, Australia. Perth was another adventure, working with miners who were spending billions on capital projects.

After two years my family wanted to return to Sydney. That’s when I took the leap to join KPMG, so I keep growing. I was attracted to the collaborative culture and really liked where the team was headed.

What is the best career advice you have been given?

Embrace change. Take the opportunities presented to you. Change keeps us fresh and learning makes things interesting because change is usually for the better. Also, in these times of disruption, without embracing change we risk being left behind the times, so it’s important to stay on top of what’s going on in your field, locally and globally, so you can remain relevant. Take the time to understand who the innovators are and what’s coming next.

Is work-life balance a challenge for you? What is one tactic you use to make it all come together?

Over my career, work-life balance has been a challenge. There are only 24 hours in a day. There needs to be a healthy balance between work, where mobile devices make it harder to switch off; and family where time is so precious as children grow up so quickly. And, of course, ourselves, even though it’s the thing we often forget! We have to make sure we have the time we need to re-energize, so we can keep all the balls in the air.

One thing that works for me is prioritizing leaving the office at a reasonable hour, so I can be home to have dinner with my family. If I then have more work to do, I do it after the kids are asleep. Also, looking for opportunities to sometimes work from home gives me back the commute time, and works well when I have to review documents or reports without disruptions.