IN AN effort to stave off the inevitable talent shortage, KPMG is now looking to recruit law and other non-accounting graduates into an expanding number of its practices.
While law graduates have always been welcome at the accounting firm’s tax practice, it has embarked on a new program that will see it accept applications from any credit average or above graduate for auditing and middle market advisory areas.
This is a first for the firm, which will encourage students to undergo a commerce bridging course during their first 18 months as a graduate when they start at the firm.
KPMG graduate recruitment manager Claire Strik told Lawyers Weekly that the pressure has come as the numbers of local accounting graduates have not increased significantly in the past few years. “As our business has grown significantly, and our competitors are recruiting more graduates each year, like we are, we felt that we needed to broaden the option that we had for recruiting really strong graduates.”
The firm is looking for the best graduates it can find, from no particular universities and with no particular degrees, said Strik. Top students will have first access to the number of placements available. “In all of our programs we look for at least a credit average and above. The chartered accounting (CA) program is quite difficult to complete. We need the confidence that the students will have the skills to complete the course.”
The new program is a graduate certificate course. It allows students to become eligible to complete the CA program to become a chartered accountant. They do six modules, taking 18 months to complete, which enables them to then complete the chartered accountant program, which is another five modules, also taking about 18 months.
Graduates will be required to work full-time as well as do the courses, both of which run after hours and have an online learning components.
While the firm has not yet actively recruited from within universities, Strik said there had been considerable interest internally.
“[There are] people working in our areas who would like to study the foundation course, allowing them to become a chartered accountant. We haven’t been out on campus recruiting heavily for the non-accounting students, so I guess we’ll wait and see in March.
“We will be recruiting for 2008 graduates to come in to the areas of audit and middle market advisory, and we will be opening up about 10 per cent of our positions to those non-accounting graduates,” she said.