Year ahead Q&A: Simon Collins, UK chairman, KPMG

What will define your firm’s strategy in 2015, and how will this be implemented?

Our strategy for 2015 has a laser-like focus on the issues that most concern the boards of our clients. Our investment decisions follow. Providing greater insight drives many of our investments, be this through improving the qualitative risk analysis of our audits or developing first class analytics to help our clients generate growth.


What service lines will be most critical to your firm’s growth during the next year and how will you capitalise on this?

Our strategy doesn’t single out particular services but seeks to provide the best brains to solve industry issues, whether this thinking comes from our audit, advisory or tax practices. Our clients don’t come to us with problems that can be easily solved with a service-defined solution. Audit work benefits enormously, for example, from input from wider industry experts across our business.


What challenges will the wider accountancy profession face over the coming year?

One of the biggest issues facing our profession is the continued quest for trust. This will only be addressed by more interaction with investors so we can achieve increased relevance and provide greater assurance to the capital markets.


How will the business environment change in 2015, and what impact on the mix services clients will require?

Conventionally, at this point in the cycle, we would expect stronger growth and a return to a healthy M&A market, which would be matched by a backing off from more ‘defensive’ services such as restructuring and risk mitigation. However, we are seeing an unusual and fragmented recovery, meaning the 2015 business outlook is difficult to predict. So we need to be more agile.

What policies should the next government undertake to improve the environment for UK corporates?

There are four items on my wish list! First, supporting the export market is critical to supporting sustainable long-term growth in the UK. Our clients also tell us that infrastructure is a major business concern and yet we seem to be struggling to push through the decisions which will support necessary investment.

Additionally, it is important that we strike the right balance in our approach to regulation: creating the right framework to manage risk on the one hand but avoiding unnecessary burden which can stifle growth on the other. Lastly, measures which support staff mobility and business’ ability to attract talent are crucial to UK business success.

This is the first of a series of seven managing partner interviews about the year ahead. The full set of Q&A’s can be read in the Accountancy Age App, out on 16 December

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