Mr Philip Lee

Head of People, Performance & Culture

KPMG Singapore

 What are three adjectives you would use to describe your company culture?

KPMG is vibrant, dynamic and professional.

We have a friendly and informal culture where everyone goes on a first name basis. The source for our success is a strong team spirit where everyone takes a hands-on approach and strives toward making KPMG an even better place to work at.

We are one big vibrant family. Professionally, KPMG is a place where our people can shape their own place and future in the organisation. Everyone takes a hands-on approach and contributes positively in their own way.

What is the one biggest candidate misconceptions about your industry?

 One of the biggest misconceptions is that we are only an accountancy firm which recruits people for primarily compliance work and who deal with numbers everyday. We are a multi-disciplinary professional services firm providing audit, tax and advisory services. Our advisory arm comprises services such as Transactions & Restructuring to Performance & Technology and Risk & Compliance.

What this means is that our people need to be knowledgeable professionals who are prepared to meet our clients on a regular basis, help them solve problems, seize business opportunities while providing them fresh insights into their business, their market and their industry.

What is the one blunder you see whe candidates apply for a job in your company?

 We have seen applications which are directed to the HR department at KPMG, but carry the name of a competitor firm. This shows a lack of attention to detail. As professionals, attention to details is crucial.

What’s more, this suggests that the candidate is sending the same standard letter to every firm, rather than showing genuine interest in the organisation.

Is relevant experience really necessary when applying for a job at KPMG?

 We hire at all levels and for a wide range of disciplines. Relevant experience is a definite advantage for experienced hires and for specialist positions. For fresh graduates, particularly those starting out in audit and tax, we have a very strong Learning and Development (L&D) programme. Our L&D training is comprehensive as we not only train graduates in the technical skills but also groom and equip them with the skills needed for leadership positions.

 What are some traits that make an employee stand out from the rest?

Employees who stand out generally have good listening skills, have the ability to integrate different viewpoints and are able to present their case convincingly. These individuals generally stand out from their peers as they are better able to communicate with clients. In the long run, these traits also enable them to be better leaders.

Beyond skill sets, an employee’s value system counts too. KPMG’s core values guide our staff to become better professionals. Above all else, the key value which we cherish the most is integrity.

What one skill employees need to develop for the future?

As we operate in an increasingly globalised environment, the ability to adapt and operate across time zones and culture is becoming more important. I believe employees will need to embrace a more international mindset, develop the art of cultural sensitivity and build on good language skills.

As an international network of professional services firms, we have to be nimble professionals who can operate effectively while providing value to the clients we serve anywhere in the world.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I have personally received is to always persevere, and reach for my dreams no matter how difficult they may appear to be.

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