a bend in the road
With nearly 40 years in public accounting, 27 of which have been as a partner at KPMG, Milford McGuirt’s experience is wide-ranging. He has worked with a spectrum of industries, with clients in manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and higher education. “One of the advantages of my career has been exposure to talented professionals who have challenged me to optimize my performance and develop a strong career pathway,” says McGuirt, B.B.A.’78.
The breadth and depth of McGuirt’s experience positioned him to take on a number of leadership roles within KPMG. Most recently, he became the managing partner for KPMG’s Atlanta office and mid-south business unit in January 2015.
McGuirt reflects on changes in his industry, as he looks around the next bend in the road.
“Companies and the public accounting profession have been affected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The PCAOB subjects auditors of U.S. public companies to external and independent oversight. Previously, the profession was self-regulated. What does that mean for our industry and our clients? It requires heightened focus on overall audit quality and greater scrutiny of our clients’ internal controls and management processes. As for the future, the new President and his administration have committed to reducing regulations for business, which many believe could be positive for economic growth. We are evaluating proposals as they come forward and are working to determine the prospective effects on our clients—be they tax reform, healthcare or financial services regulations.”
Data and relationships
“The exponential increase in data of all kinds has significantly affected our business. The availability of so much data, coupled with increasing demand for structured analysis of data, spurs our clients to request more and more of our assistance. We help them figure out how best to respond to market demands for information, services and products. This data must be analyzed in conjunction with a deep understanding of the agendas and business issues of our clients. In today’s hyper-competitive climate, that understanding is critical to delivering the right solutions and exceeding client expectations. It’s the client experience that ultimately drives our business.”
“Growth is a must for our firm and our priority markets. To that end, we have a spectrum of strategic growth initiatives that parallel macro-trends affecting our clients and targets in the marketplace. For example, we see technology converging with certain industries like healthcare, consumer, retail and financial services, which creates a transformational environment for business models and technology platforms.”
“As a global professional services firm, one of the biggest changes we will face is how technology is radically changing business models and driving consumer behavior and expectations. Cognitive technologies, such as digital labor and robotic process automation, are emerging and could become game changers for our business. Consequently, we’ve developed alliances with key companies, leveraging our capabilities to accomplish two main objectives. First, we need to enhance and expand the services we provide clients. Second, we need to improve select internal processes.”
“In light of technology revolutions, changes in regulatory climates and other challenges, talent management has never been more important. KPMG is in the people business, so talent is fundamental to our success. To remain vibrant, we must ensure that our clients enjoy a superior experience—a different experience—when they work with KPMG. Key to that is hiring the best and brightest and helping them develop and enhance their skill sets over the course of their careers. We are also very intentional about inclusion and diversity as well as developing a rich pipeline of talent for high-quality leadership succession within the firm.”