People the ‘glue' of growth for KPMG

John Hansen, partner at KPMG Ireland and Julie Thompson, marketing manager pictured at the launch of the Irish News Workplace and Employment awards
Gail Bell

AS a business advisory firm, KPMG's people sit at the heart of everything it does, so it is fitting the company is a business partner to the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards, 2019.

Although a global name, the firm has a significant presence in Northern Ireland and a team of over 250 employees are based at the Belfast office, working across audit, tax and advisory services.

They are the glue which has helped the business grow a loyal and diverse client base, one which ranges from multinational organisations, dynamic entrepreneurs and established owner-managed businesses, to government departments and agencies, both in Northern Ireland and beyond.

It stands to reason, therefore, that attracting and retaining the best talent is high up the priority list for John Hansen, partner in charge of KPMG in Northern Ireland.

He has led the KPMG team through a rapid period of growth locally; one which has seen head-count and the breadth of work carried out from the Belfast office rise considerably.

“When our clients think of KPMG, they think of the people they deal with day in, day out,” said Mr Hansen.

“Our people are the reason we have experienced such growth across all areas of the business and the reason we are an employer of choice in the sector.”

Nowhere is that more apparent than at the heart of the organisation which had over 30 new graduates join the ranks during the last year.

“It is heartening to see the next generation of talent coming into the business because they are the leaders of tomorrow,” Mr Hansen added.

“Graduates are a hot commodity in the accountancy sector in Northern Ireland, but they choose to come to KPMG because they know they are joining an innovative and progressive company where they will be supported from the off.

“They will be given every opportunity to carve a career path both locally and further afield, experience all aspects of business and will be encouraged to enhance their professional development at every opportunity.”

Along with graduates, key hires have also joined at all levels of the ladder at KPMG, with the firm's reputation as a great place to work proving a strong draw, especially with its new offices in the Soloist Building at Lanyon Place.

As well as a top-class working environment, the team at KPMG also places huge importance on support both for the local community and staff wellbeing.

Proof of that can be found at the regular ‘Time to Read' sessions which staff participate in with children at Elmwood Primary School in Belfast, in conjunction with Business in the Community.

In addition, KPMG runs an annual internal competition called Project Bright, where employees work in teams to think ‘big' with a project idea that addresses a community or environmental issue.

This year's winning entry saw a team of young professionals from the firm hold a week-long event at its offices throughout Ireland to raise awareness about mental health in the workplace.

“The Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards celebrate everything we at KPMG hold dear and we are proud to be sponsors,” Mr Hansen stressed.

“The success of the Northern Ireland economy is dependent on people and it is key that we, and all other employers, support and celebrate them.”

:: The Workplace & Employment Awards ceremony takes place at Titanic Belfast on Thursday, June 13. For awards details, visit

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