The global body for professional accountants

United Kingdom


Name: Michael Walby

Michael Walby

Job title: Director of professional qualification

Sector/business area: Public practice

Organisation details: KPMG is one of the world's leading professional services organisations - a global network of member firms operating in 146 countries. In the UK, the firm offers audit, tax and advisory services to thousands of clients, from some of the largest multinationals and best-known brands to public bodies and private individuals.

'We're committed to offering our clients an exceptional experience and we know we can only achieve this if we recruit and retain the best people across the globe,' says Michael Walby, director of qualification at KPMG. 'We employ 10,000 people at KPMG in the UK and they are our heart and soul. There's no single type of person that succeeds at KPMG, but we do look for people with something special to offer. Overall, we're looking for people who combine good technical skills, problem-solving abilities and commercial focus. We're also interested in people with a lot of integrity - good team workers who can build effective relationships, learn from experience and bring out the best in others.'

So how do ACCA trainees and members help KPMG achieve its goals? 'Our underlying aim is to help our clients exploit new opportunities, improve performance, manage risk and enhance value for both shareholders and stakeholders alike,' explains Walby. 'We therefore need our people to be technically competent and in our audit function particularly, have a recognised, highly regarded professional qualification so that they are credible. We believe that our ACCA trainees gain this technical competence in large part through their professional qualification studies and that our ACCA members are able to keep technically up to date via ACCA's continuing professional development (CPD) programme.'

KPMG in the UK is part of a worldwide network of independent member firms and their clients are also operating in increasingly globalised markets. 'That means we can offer the potential to develop a career with an international perspective. The global reach of the ACCA Qualification and its portability between our member countries is therefore attractive to us,' says Walby.

KPMG recognises that their future depends on nurturing great individual talent and providing an environment where people can flourish personally and professionally. Michael Walby describes their approach, 'Firstly, we develop our ACCA people by offering a well-integrated training programme, enabling our ACCA trainees to put the technical knowledge that they gain in the classroom into practice. Secondly, we develop our people by enabling them to monitor their progress and obtain regular feedback with our global network's performance management system which has been accredited by ACCA. We are proud of this accreditation as we believe it is a ringing endorsement of the strength of our people management system.'

'We are confident that the ACCA exam syllabus stretches our trainees and equips them with an excellent grounding in business and accounting in order to service our clients. Once qualified, we like the fact that our ACCA members can comply with CPD requirements via work-based learning activities such as mentoring and coaching so that they don't have to spend valuable time away from the office on classroom-based courses.'

But KPMG know that it's not just about exams and CPD. 'We are also impressed that ACCA holds professional ethics at the core of its qualification and insists that its members act with integrity in all of its dealings. Such ideals are central to our corporate values and we expect all of our people to act in this way in all of our professional dealings,' confirms Walby.