KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms (distinguished by size, range of services and global reach) is a Swiss cooperative, a sort of umbrella for a network of independent firms operating in 144 countries. People who think they're smart have plenty of company at the firm. Newcomers receive plenty of training. Still, critics have blamed a smarty-pants culture for the firm's troubles over dubious tax-shelter promotions in the U.S. that resulted in the recent conviction of two KPMG executives.
As at many firms, long hours are worn as a badge of honor and colleagues consider late-night emails cool and applause-worthy. Despite this, the firm has made a concerted effort to make itself more family-friendly.
The company's U.S. reputation is for a greater emphasis on appearance than at other accounting firms, particularly when it comes to physical fitness and dress. Despite Gen Y recruiting efforts that include social networking and YouTube, hiring managers at this buttoned-down firm frown on such unprofessional email embellishments as hearts, smileys and other emoticons.
KPMG hires in the neighborhood of 2,000 campus recruits for full-time and intern positions in its audit, tax and advisory practices. More than 90% of its full-time hires in 2009 were interns. Nearly 90% of its hires in 2008 were business and economics majors.
When it comes to hiring experienced employees, most activity is in restructuring, M&A and corporate finance, health care, insurance, banking, investing, international tax and federal government work.
Because of the company's heavy workload, KPMG does a lot to attract and retain talent. Check out the firm's Web site, which beckons to twenty-somethings with multimedia presentations of career paths of up to six employees, as well as videos and podcasts.