Who is KPMG?

KPMG LLP, is part of the UK’s ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms and operates from 21 offices across the UK – with approximately 16,000 partners and staff. It was established through various mergers from different accounting firms. 

Its origins date back to the 1870s when a young William Barclay Peat, began working as a clerk at a firm that would eventually take his name. In 1910, his firm merged with Thomson McLintock and Co – which was founded by Thomson McLintock in Glasgow.

Meanwhile in 1917, Piet Klynveld opened a small accountancy firm, Klynveld Kraayenhof and Co. in Amsterdam. In time, this eventually grew to be one of the biggest accountancy firms in the region. 

Later, Dr Reinhard Goerdeler joined the firm Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft in 1953. In 1975, DTG merged with Piet Klynveld’s firm to become Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG). 

Eventually, these two brands merged to form KMG Thomson McLintock. By 1986, KMG Thomson McLintock had merged into PMM. The new firm in the UK was known for a short time as KPMG Peat Marwick and later just KPMG. 

In the 1990’s the group began taking on clients for major auditing and advisory roles – such as the Stonehenge visitor centre, the Tate Modern and the Wales Millennium Centre.

Today the group is chaired by Bina Metha, with Tim Jones holding the role of COO. 

What do they do? 

KPMG offers four main services to its clients. Namely, audit, tax, consulting and deal advisory. In addition it offers a range of ‘Spotlight Services’ which are as follows: 

  • Private Enterprise: Aimed at businesses establishing or scaling a new venture, planning an investment or exit. 
  • KPMG Law: Which offers solutions for legal challenges that businesses may face. Such as structuring, reorganisation and change. 
  • Restructuring: A leading multidisciplinary practice of approximately 500 professionals in the UK, here KPMG offer support to companies, lenders, equity holders and a wide range of other stakeholders in overcoming the issues associated with financial stress, distress or simple under-performance.
  • KPMG Alliances: Established to help businesses navigate modern issues such as  regulations, political uncertainty and digital disruption. The offering is designed with a select group of technology providers to help clients address today’s top issues and deploy the solutions that will help deliver sustainable transformational change.

Recent financials

In 2020, KPMG saw its revenues fall by 4% from £2.4bn to £2.3bn, driven in part by the sale of its pensions business, which was completed in March 2020.  Excluding the disposal of the business, like-for-like revenue fell by only 2%. 

As a result of the global pandemic, the group’s underlying profit was down by 6% year on year, from £307m to £288m.  In 2020, KPMG saw net sales for its consulting practice and deal advisory practice both fall by 2% to £574m and £400m respectively. The firm’s tax and legal team saw a decrease in net sales of 6% to £373m, however its audit practice saw a 3% year-on-year growth in net sales to £606m. 

In the news 

In February 2021, KPMG found itself at the centre of mass media attention after it was discovered that its UK chair Bill Michael, told staff to “stop moaning” during a virtual meeting regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Michael, who headed the company since 2017, was ultimately forced to resign and apologised for his words. In April 2021, after a partnership vote, the firm announced that it would appoint Jon Holt as his replacement with immediate effect. Holt was formerly head of audit at the firm and will serve as chief executive until the end of September 2025.

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