Belgium

KPMG Alumni Interview 

KPMG alumnus Didier Vercruysse (formerly KPMG Bedrijfsrevisoren) shares recollections of former colleagues and work and talks about how working at KPMG has helped him in his professional career.

 

“KPMG was the perfect basis for my further career in financing”

 

Didier Vercruysse

 

 

Where did you start your professional career?


“I started at KPMG in the Brussels office on September 15, 1985, right after finishing my University studies - TEW at the UFSIA faculty of the Antwerp University. KPMG (PMM or Peat Marwick Mitchell at that time) had offered me a job the previous December while I was still in my last year."

 

“We kicked off with a 2-week training schedule in Durbuy.  The training sessions were demanding, professional, very detailed but also fun and, overall, very interesting. I enjoyed the spirit and friendship we shared. The teacher was an audit manager with a degree in history. He explained all topics in a very personal way which was great. Frankly, at the time I didn’t have a clue what auditing was about but I was already familiar with accounting and financial management of companies. It was the perfect basis for my further career in financing.”

 

 “We were also given two days of computer training. We each got an Apple MacIntosh and were instructed on how to use the mouse, how to save files, etc. The Mac was the coolest and most advanced item you could have imagined. Remember, it was September 1985! Most people at that moment thought that Apple was a fruit. That Mac didn’t have an internal memory so you had to play around with two internal floppy disk drives to load, unload and save your programs. KPMG had the guts and vision to choose for Apple, to invest time and money and teach us how to use it; despite statistics and experience showing that 80% of us would leave the firm before the end of the fifth year. It was an example of the spirit that we all experienced when we started working at KPMG!”

 

Why did you decide to take on other opportunities?


“After three seasons I got an interesting offer and decided to leave. Now, 25 years later, I think I should have stayed a little longer. I could have benefited more from the vast knowledge and experience KPMG has to offer. I have a strong financial mindset. If I had had more auditing experience, I think it would have given me an extra edge.”

 

“I think I should have stayed a little longer.

 I could have benefited more

from the vast knowledge and experience

KPMG has to offer.”

 

What are your recollections of work and people in KPMG?


“We worked very hard but didn’t mind that really. The atmosphere was fantastic and we all got along great. I for example recall the monthly Friday happy hours with the Brussels team. Good times! The work was varied, rewarding and took me places. Next to regular audit assignments – note that there were only two departments: audit and tax - I was involved in acquisition audits or other special assignments, such as teaching jobs in the bank sector. All in all I was very proud to be part of the KPMG team!”

 

“When Theo Erauw asked me to join him in starting up the Antwerp office, I didn’t hesitate a second. We were only four but had different customers all over Flanders! We had contact with a lot of people in all KPMG offices around the world as some of our assignments were internationally-oriented. Many people had that ‘little extra’: professional, driven by their job, thorough, good but also personal, fun, friendly and open towards all people in the KPMG organization.

 

How has working at KPMG influenced you in your professional career?


“In many ways. I have started my career in finance and I am still in finance, being a Corporate Finance executive in my own company. In my job and professional atmosphere, I try to balance the professional-driven knowledge and experience of assignments with a human touch and friendly atmosphere. I try to be demanding but also correct and personal. I found the audit experience at KPMG full of entrepreneurship on each assignment in evaluating risks and customer contact. I have always cherished that entrepreneurship in my further career and highly value this aspect on different levels.”

 

Do you stay in touch with ex-KPMG colleagues? Do these people still work for KPMG?


“I try to go to as many KPMG Alumni meetings as possible. Whenever I meet with somebody who still works at KPMG, we can talk forever about former colleagues and jobs. It’s fun to think back about that period. KPMG was the beginning of my professional career and thought me new skills and gave me knowledge. I also appreciate the demanding performance, entrepreneurship on the assignments and quality of work with colleagues. You never forget such an experience, especially such a positive one.


 

Didier Vercruysse:

 

Formerly: KPMG Bedrijfsrevisoren (Peat Marwick Mitchell back in 1985)
Today:  Corporate Finance executive - Icafin