A KPMG career offers you experience and training from an organization that has exhibited over 100 years of strong growth – and is averaging 10% YoY growth in the last decade and has revenues topping $30B. Even though it is one of the Big 4, KPMG is the underdog of the group, with a lower profile than its counterparts.
A career at KPMG could brand you as an “accountant”, so if it is consulting opportunities you’re after, it is essential that the role you choose at KPMG is part of its Advisory function, never with Tax or Audit. Even with the branding risk, KPMG is a well-respected brand and you will have good exit opportunities upon departure from the firm.
KPMG holds strong to its values with a respected culture that focuses on integrity and respect for its employees. With over 80 offices and over 80,000 employees in the United States alone, there are many opportunities for you to consider at KPMG.
Life At KPMG
KPMG Advisory is focused on technology and improving operations, which means you’ll be heavily focused on cost reduction for your clients. KPMG encourages the use of technology to ensure work is done faster and leaner – beware though; you’ll still have to fill your billable hours! Since your KPMG career will be mostly comprised of cost reduction and efficiency focused work, you will – as a part of KPMG Advisory – be the “business tweakers” of the consultant world.
If you want to have a great lifestyle and focus on public sector work, focus on KPMG Federal Advisory for your consultant role. The beauty of federal clients is that if you have to be on the client site, the hours are generally 9-5 (when the office is open). As a consultant, it doesn’t get any better than that. Beware, however – the pay at federal practices is notoriously lower.
As a consultant with a desire to progress in your career, be sure to focus on client-facing roles only. You don’t want to work for Business Support Services or Innovations and Technology. These are internal areas at KPMG. These should be of interest to you if you want to be an analyst focused on big data and don’t want to travel.
You can expect a better work-life balance at KPMG than at the other Big 4 but do expect to work hard and for long hours during certain seasons. The firm is known overall for having a more mellow culture than other massive consulting firms.
KPMG Career Path
The career path at KPMG is very clear and is as follows:
- Senior Consultant
- Senior Manager
- Partner/Associate Partner
Expect to work for two to three years as an analyst, consultant, and senior consultant, and then four to five years as a Manager/Senior Manager prior to reaching the Partner level.
As you consider your KPMG career, keep in mind that even though KPMG is a part of the Big 4, KPMG has not made an investment in a branded strategy group like Strategy& (PwC) or Parthenon (EY). Even so, you can gain good experience while working at a local office with lots of flexibility across that geography, or you can pursue an opportunity to work internationally.
KPMG Culture, Benefits, and Reviews
As you would expect, the bigger the consulting firm, the greater the hierarchical structure, and KPMG does not disappoint here. A clear structure is needed for a large firm such as KPMG, but this does mean your voice may not be as heard as loudly as it may be at a boutique firm. This structure is needed so that the culture doesn’t turn into a Wild West experience for all involved. KPMG is maintaining a global empire, so structure equals survival.
You can expect exceptional benefits at KPMG, many of which are standard across large consulting firms:
- Health and Dental Insurance
- Vision Insurance
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
- Disability Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Health Spending Account (HSA)
- Supplemental Life Insurance
However, search KPMG on Glassdoor and you’ll find that only 69% of employees would recommend KPMG to a friend. This is lower than the other Big 4 and major firms (e.g., 94% for Bain employees). Still, employees do appreciate the paid time off (four weeks to start) in addition to holidays. Whether or not you will get to use this time is another issue.
KPMG Job Openings (how do you start?)
Finding a job on the KPMG website can be challenging as the job opportunities are buried. To navigate to a job opportunity, click here.
KPMG does offer a Global Referral program. The program is buried on the bottom of its Career page but is absolutely worth checking out.
By our estimate, you increase your chances of success by 80%+ if you can get just 1 KPMG employee referral. In addition, you won’t beat your head against a wall trying to figure out which of the 10,000 roles you might actually get a call back for.
Tips For Applying Online
When you apply online, you need to:
- Know your desired KPMG location. You can provide your first and second location choices, but your first is likely all that will be reviewed. Make sure your first choice is where want to go.
- Apply to KPMG Advisory. Be certain that you apply to the Advisory function (e.g., not audit or tax or internal roles). This would severely limit your exit opportunities. Why? You would be pigeonholed within those functions and not seen as someone who could handle a strategic consulting role.
- Include level of role. Ensure you include the level of role you are looking for when you apply. Our advice: never trade down in position or salary. You can go lateral or go up in position. If you have no idea what the relationship is between a KPMG salary and role and your current salary and role, review salaries here.
- Leave current salary blank if possible. Again, never trade down – your new salary should be close to your current pay + one year.
Keep in mind that you can find hundreds of positions right now with KPMG, and there are even more opportunities if you want to work globally. We recommend you use KPMG’s keyword search (e.g., keyword “Manager”) and filter for your location of choice. Just remember, you want “Advisory Jobs” as seen in the below snapshot from KPMG’s website:
Note to those applying directly out of university: KPMG hires over 4,000 entry level analysts and over 3,500 interns each year. KPMG has a separate college page so check that out as well.
The firm offers a pathfinder quiz to see which KPMG job would be the best fit for you. This is worth taking – just remember to apply for Advisory.
KPMG Job – Worth Pursuing
A KPMG career is a good option for the experience, training and compensation provided. It may be lagging the Big 4 pack as far as consulting goes, but it still carries some serious brand recognition and exit opportunities that correlate.
You will need to network with current KPMG employees for referrals ahead of applying to KPMG. Once hired, continue networking with key employees above your level to ensure you are working on the right projects that get you the visibility needed to move up at KPMG. This is a large firm, and the right connections and projects will help you to stand out from the rest.