South Africa

Walter Palk 

Walter Palk is a Director in the IT Advisory practice of KPMG in South Africa. He has been primarily responsible for delivering IT Risk and Advisory services to clients in a range of industries, focusing specifically on Project Risk Management, ERP system implementations, regulatory risk management and IT Governance.
What attracted you to KPMG?

 

What attracted me most, and there were many things, is that the Firm had a very strong brand. Also, from the professionalism that I experienced through the interview process, I knew that by joining KPMG, I would be looked after. I didn’t have the same sense from the other interviews I’d had. I’m thankful that I chose KPMG.

 

Have you moved around much within KPMG?

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to go on two long-term secondments - one of which was to the UK, where I spent two years working in the Financial Services practice. That opportunity also enabled me to travel to 35 countries in 24 months! I also lived in Canada, working at KPMG’s Vancouver offices.

 

To sum up my movement, I’ve had probably four to five different careers within the last 15 years. Four to five different careers in one company – not many people can say they’ve had that!

 

What is the KPMG culture like?

 

The KPMG culture demands excellence, professionalism and personal growth. It demands that we are interested in our clients, but also that we are interesting people!

 

We also have a fairly young and diverse work force, therefore work/life harmony is critical to our future as a business.

 

Your advice on joining KPMG?

 

I won’t give the clichéd advice, I’ll give the ‘hard truth’. Surviving and thriving in a professional services firm where you’re expected to grow, learn and push yourself – defining new goals every six to 12 months – requires an incredible degree of personal resilience and arguably, talent. Not everyone is cut out to thrive in a professional service firm and not everyone is defined as talent.

 

So for new joiners that have already been identified and recruited by KPMG, understand what you’re getting yourself into, know that if you don’t have that personal resilience, after two or three years you might feel the pressure mounting, and that exiting at that point for a different career may well be the right decision. However, given sufficient resilience and talent, there is literally no limit to the career opportunities and advancement.

 

Experience Summary:

 

1994-95: Joined KPMG as an Audit Trainee.
1995-97: Transferred into IT Advisory (formerly Computer Audit Department). Progressed to Assistant Manager of Computer Audit.
1997-99: Transferred to KPMG in the United Kingdom. Progressed to Manager in Information Risk Management.
2000-03: Relocated to KPMG in Canada. Progressed to Senior Manager in Risk and Advisory services.
2004: Appointed Director in the IT Advisory practice at KPMG in South Africa, with a role as the EMA service leader for IT Project Advisory and the national service leader for South Africa.
2007: Took on the additional role of HR Partner for IT Advisory.