Carl, Sales & Marketing, South Africa 

See how Carl's career has progressed at KPMG.

See how Carl's career has progressed at KPMG.:

When I joined KPMG in South Africa 20 years ago, I had three immediate objectives: I wanted to go in to Computer Audit, (even though I didn't quite know what it meant but I did know that is what I wanted to do), I wanted to go on an international secondment and I wanted to become a partner.

In the 20 years a whole lot more has happened, which has been massively rewarding and really exciting; it has taken commitment and it has taken some personal sacrifice on the way but nothing comes for free and it has really been a very exciting time. I started off on the Audit side of the South African firm, to qualify as a chartered accountant, working directly with clients in a total fee-earning role, being out of the office from day one with clients. Today I find myself in the office almost all day, every day, with no fee-earning responsibilities directly, but direct client responsibilities. I now look after Sales and Marketing for KPMG in South Africa.

In between all that a whole lot has happened, I have done various secondments. For instance: I have been on a long-term secondment to the U.K. firm based in London to what was referred to as Computer Audit, now Information Risk Management. That was a phenomenal life experience, my first time out of South Africa, and really exposing me to different people, different cultures, different worlds and all this with the stability and sense of security that I was still very much with KPMG.

I have also undertaken short-term secondments: I have worked in Montvale, just outside New York, I have spent two stints in Brussels and another short-term secondment to London. All of those exposed me to the different sides of myself, of what I was capable of and to meeting different people and doing different things.

I have also worked in other member firms' offices, primarily for clients (for instance in Australia or in the U.K.). A visit to Canada took me to one of the most remote places in the world — in the north of Quebec, and in mid-winter, to visit a mine there, so really exciting and very varied times.

I certainly haven't been office-bound, even now I find that I am in the office pretty much all day every day because of my role, but the world that I work in takes me out of the office through the interactions that I have with other people and the need to stay totally connected to the KPMG network. Not just in my office here but in my country and certainly in the KPMG world.


Key milestones

1987 — Passing the final qualifying examination
Passing at my first attempt meant I could complete my training contract with the confidence that I was now very nearly a Chartered Accountant. I felt like 'the sky was the limit'.

1998 — Transfer to Information Risk Management
This was one of my specific objectives and wishes upon joining KPMG. I was pleased to be able to do so at the earliest possible time in my career development.

1990-91 — Secondment to KPMG in the U.K. (Information Risk Management)
Another of my other clearly stated objectives was to go on an international secondment which was made possible through KPMG. This was my first 'away from home' experience and a huge part of my personal development.


1991-94 — Establishing National Information Risk Management in South Africa
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with the chairman of our global Computer Audit Advisory Committee to establish this department. It brought me into direct and active contact with KPMG internationally and the South African firms' leading thinkers.

1993-94 — KPMG Audit Service Manual (KASM) international training task force
I joined the KASM International Training Taskforce, working with a global team based in London, Brussels and Montvale (U.S.), later training in other parts of the world. The rich tapestry of life experiences, career development and personal friendships that grew out of this is something I will always treasure.

1996 — Admitted to the South African firm partnership
This was a hugely important milestone in my career and a moment of intense personal pride. KPMG is an outstanding organization and it felt wonderful (still does) to be recognized as a partner. I have never looked back.

1997 — Transfer to Energy & Natural Resources
Another career defining moment. Through this, I went on to lead high profile and undeniably challenging projects. The work required significant personal sacrifice but the rewards, particularly in life experience and career development, more than made up for this.

2000 — Transfer to Sales & Marketing
Over time, this role has grown in a number of different ways and is my passion. The opportunity to positively influence and so shape the perceptions and direction of the South African firm is hugely rewarding and challenging.

2005 — Launch of the KPMG's MAD Fund and swimming pool restoration project
With overwhelming support from the senior leadership, the launch of the KPMG Make A Difference (MAD) Fund and successful completion of the restoration of the swimming pool at a Children’s Home in Johannesburg was a life-changing experience for me.


Key themes

Career mobility
My career progression to date has been varied and exciting. I have moved across Audit/Computer Audit/Consulting and Advisory/Sales & Marketing. I have also moved across industries — at first with a particular focus on Financial Services, then specializing in Energy & Natural Resources, specifically mining. I've also moved across international borders. Every move brings new challenges which naturally lead to professional and career development. And each move, of course, adds to life's experiences, personal development and personal friendships.

International secondments
The international side of KPMG is very important to me, as is the solid local member firm. I was seconded to the U.K. firm in London, with further short-term secondments to Brussels and Montvale, U.S., and work experience in KPMG firms in Australia, Canada, Kenya, Singapore, Swaziland and other countries. I’ve taken up a number of opportunities along the way — typically requiring significant personal commitment and sacrifice but the benefits and especially the life experience have been amazing.

Community involvement
The most significant project I’ve undertaken with KPMG so far was to lead the restoration of the swimming pool at the Abraham Kriel Children's Home with the launch of KPMG’s Make A Difference Fund. I also led the production of our 'Giving Back' brochure and a host of related initiatives along the way. What does one gain? An enormous sense of pride in KPMG, a 'can do' attitude and a hugely positive feeling about yourself and your work. You know you are making a difference even if only in a small way. We’ve seen this emerge as an incredibly important part of our business and something that is very attractive to our people, clients and recruits.

I'm a partner at KPMG in South Africa within the Sales & Marketing Department. I support sales and proposals, marketing and communications and corporate social investment. I'm based in the Johannesburg office where no two days are the same. I find major proposals most stimulating and 'drop everything' to make them my highest priority. Daily, I meet and discuss projects with other members of my 26-strong team, our clients (i.e. the rest of the South African firm) and external specialists such as our media consultants. I usually attend a couple of international meetings a year and travel to some of the other African firms' offices.
Level: Partner
Joined: 1986 
Location: South Africa 
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