KPMG enters outsourcing industry

KPMG Jamaica partners with US member firm to move into near-shore services

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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JAMAICA'S strategic location in relation to the United States has given rise to another business opportunity, this time between audit and accounting firm KPMG Jamaica and member firm, KPMG US.

Yesterday, KPMG Jamaica unveiled a state-of-the-art shared services facility at 59 Harbour Street, downtown Kingston which it will use to deliver market development, finance and accounting and human resource services to KPMG LLP in the United States.

The arrangement, as described by Managing Partner for KPMG Jamaica R Tarun Handa has allowed the company to further diversify its business model from audit, tax, and advisory services to knowledge process outsourcing, a spin-off from the growing business process outsourcing industry.

In fact, other US-based KPMG member firms have since expressed interest in partnering with KPMG Jamaica to provide more near-shore services.

“After repeat attempts to market Jamaica as a near-shore support destination for audit services, we made a presentation before a senior KPMG US team in mid-2015,” Handa told stakeholders during the launch of the KPMG Jamaica Extended Support Services (K-JESS) yesterday.

“Interestingly, Joe Arena saw the opportunity that we hadn't seen so far – that Jamaica has the potential for being an ideal location for relatively small groups outsourcing knowledge process support services for the US firm in realtime and close physical proximity,” the managing partner continued.

Now, KPMG Jamaica not only plans on ramping up the number of services it provides, but is also looking, to grow staff count for the knowledge process outsourcing segment of its business from the current 100 employees to 250 by July 2019. Thereafter, KPMG Jamaica will pump funds into a new facility in Montego Bay to meet the projected staff count for KPMG JESS of 425 by 2022.

According to Handa, the new business line will take KPMG's aggregate footprint in Jamaica to more than 800 people by 2022 offering audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing services to Jamaica, the Caribbean and North America.

Prior to the launch of the shared service facility on Harbour Street, KPMG US and Jamaica worked on serving cross-border clients such as Citibank, General Electric, Liberty Global among other North American companies.

In exploring the idea to outsource some its services within the group, KPMG Jamaica started a pilot project, Project Jupiter, in May 2016 with 25 people offering payroll, account management, market research and some HR support services at 4 Duke Street in downtown Kingston.

“It was when we launched JESS for our expansion plans that it became very clear to me that this partnership would have significant benefits beyond what I had envisioned from the outset,” firm controller for KPMG LLP Joseph Arena reasoned.

“…however, I found a unique cultural fit between both firms. I felt as if I were working with individuals who were part of the US firm, who shared common beliefs, values and objectives, not just in business, but in everyday life,” he continued.

KPMG Jamaica is a member firm of KPMG International and together with its predecessor partnerships, has been present in Jamaica for more than 100 years. KPMG Jamaica has two full service offices in Kingston and Montego Bay and employs over 475 professionals.

Globally, KPMG operates in 154 countries and territories serving businesses, governments, public sector agencies and not-for-profits through audit and assurance practices and the capital markets. Collectively, the global employs more than 200,000 people.

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