How did you get started in your career and what drew you to KPMG?
I joined KPMG as a Graduate Trainee after leaving university with a First Class Degree in 2000. During my first three years at KPMG, I studied for my Chartered Accountancy qualification, which I obtained in August 2003. I am now an Assistant Tax Manager with a portfolio of corporate clients for whom we provide tax compliance and advisory services.
I had always had an interest in accountancy, which was strengthened after speaking to Careers Advisors at university. From reading KPMG literature and other sources of information, the whole ethos of the Firm really seemed to stand out and the employees I met were very positive about their experiences. The Firm also showed a strong willingness to work with me in relation to issues associated with my disability.
How do you manage your disability at work?
Throughout my time at KPMG I have had full-time Support Workers to assist me in the office with administrative tasks and some personal care that I require during the day. This is funded by the Government’s Access to Work scheme. KPMG provides my Support Workers with a desk in the office so that they can remain close by for whenever I need them throughout the day. KPMG has also purchased a few small pieces of equipment for me (e.g. a Bluetooth earpiece that I can wear during the day in the office and enables me to make and receive telephone calls independently via my laptop).
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
I can honestly say that KPMG has consistently provided me with all the support I have needed in relation to my disability. I believe that this support has been built on a principle of effective two-way communication between my managers and me, such that there have rarely been any misunderstandings on either side. One of the best examples of the Firm’s support and flexibility was the help that I received during the process of transferring between the Southampton and Cambridge offices, even though I was not in a position to give them any indication of timescales for my move.
More recently, the KPMG Cambridge office has relocated to new premises and our Facilities team has been in regular contact with me to ensure that I have everything that I need. This has included advance tours of the new premises to familiarise myself with everywhere and acting on my feedback with regard to any potential issues identified.
How would you describe the culture at KPMG?
KPMG established an internal Disability Network for employees in 2005, and I strongly believe that the impact of the Network has been to embed the themes of accessibility and inclusivity into the operations of the Firm at all levels. Previously these themes may have been seen as ‘nice-to haves’, whereas they are now viewed as being vital components of what we do here on a day-to-day basis.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
My advice for others:
Don’t have any preconceptions regarding a particular organisation or a particular job. Roles can often be adapted where necessary and potential hurdles overcome with methods that you may not even be aware of (e.g. latest advances in technology).
Be open and honest with your employer about your disability, but remain positive and focus on everything that you can do, as opposed to areas that you may find more difficult.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for practical help where necessary. Recognising that you need some assistance to be able to work more effectively should be viewed as a strength, rather than as a weakness.