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Lisa Geerlings - National Manager, Attraction and Resourcing, KPMG

Lisa Geerlings
'There are endless opportunities in accounting, and it is the best grounding you can get for a career in business.'

Lisa is well placed to know what employers are looking for from their staff. Lisa is responsible for developing strategies for recruiting the best staff and developing a strong company culture that encourages people to stay with the firm. The KPMG culture of putting people first through open and honest communication is the first step in the process, she says.



What types of accounting jobs are available for people at KPMG?

We have such a wide diversity of roles it's hard to describe them all. Broadly speaking our accountants work in the area of tax, audit, risk advisory services, middle market advisory, forensic, restructuring services, and transaction services.

What are you looking for in accounting professionals?

At KPMG we're open-minded about people. Because we have such variety of work we look for diversity in our people. As far as qualifications go, business or commerce degrees majoring in accounting are definitely in the greatest demand. We also take people with other qualifications in a wide range of areas for example engineering, finance, law or property/construction but this is a less common path. I would strongly recommend people considering a career in accounting to visit the websites of potential employers and investigate the qualifications required. When KPMG is considering students for our cadet or graduate programs we look for well-rounded people. Any experience (school, part-time work, sport, or community involvement) can demonstrate that a candidate has relevant skills. For example, part-time work in retail could show that someone has the ability to work in a team or handle difficult people. When considering experienced candidates technical excellence is a given, since we take great pride in the quality of our work at KPMG. But technical excellence is only a part of what makes someone successful at KPMG so we also look for people who can work well with clients and colleagues, and who show leadership and integrity.

What should people know about the profession?

There are endless opportunities in accounting, and it is the best grounding you can get for a career in business. Whether you end up loving it and staying in a professional services firm or whether you choose at some point to go out into industry you really can't go wrong. Leaders of some of the biggest companies in Australia started as graduates at KPMG. And you don't have to be a brilliant mathematician!

What personal attributes suit accountancy work?

Good accountants have questioning/investigative minds and don't just take things at face value   they need to be able to analyse information and solve problems. They then need the integrity and strength to give clients honest advice, even if it's not an easy message to deliver. At KPMG you have to be good at dealing with people. Although we are a large firm our day-to-day work is very team-based and those teams change as you move from job to job, so things like communication, flexibility and cooperation are vital. Of course this applies equally to our clients   they are people too. A high quality of work is required, so people who take pride in their work and have good attention to detail are likely to do well.

Do you have a graduate recruitment program?

We have an extensive and constantly expanding graduate program that we promote by attending university fairs and careers' events to talk about what KPMG has to offer. We take our young accountants along to those events so that candidates can ask questions and get a feel for what working at KPMG is really like. Graduates apply online through our website which also provides lots of useful information. For example there is information about what different groups within KPMG do, tips for how to be successful at interview, and descriptions of what we are looking for in a person. Although applying for jobs is always a bit stressful, we really try to make our process as open and friendly as possible. We don't want to miss a good candidate just because they were nervous. The interview process isn't designed to trick people; our interviewers are trained to focus on helping you show what you're capable of achieving.

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