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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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A Day in the Life: Terence O' Rourke, Managing Partner, KPMG Back  
As managing partner of KPMG, Terence O'Rourke leads a team of 76 partners and over 1,600 people providing audit, tax and advisory services to a range of clients from privately owned Irish businesses to leading multinational corporations.
6.30 Alarm off - radio on. I'm awake enough to hear an early morning radio advertisement from one of the winners at the recent KPMG Financial Services Excellence Awards. The awards have certainly struck a chord right across the financial services (FS) sector and it's great to hear the winners highlighting their achievements on air.

Coincidentally, I'm en route to one of our financial services seminar series breakfast briefings. The topic is convergence between Irish and US GAAP and my colleagues Garrett O'Neill, Una Curtis and Eimear Ryan manage to deconstruct the compexities of this issue for a receptive audience. I catch up with a few clients immediately afterwards to get their perspective on some of the points raised. I'm always gratified by the attendance at all of our briefings. The trick seems to be to make it as relevant as possible and critically, to finish on time. Easier said than done - but mission accomplished on both points I'm glad to say.

9.40 Back at base I meet with Ciara Long to go through the diary. Since becoming managing partner I don't have audit responsibility in terms of signing audit reports, but I do have some upcoming client audit committee meetings to attend. Overall, maintaining a strong client focus is part of my brief and I'm committed to keeping a finger on the pulse. Later, I grab a coffee and I bump into Colin O'Brien who leads the KPMG team in Cork. I get an update on progress not just in Cork but across Munster. Similar reports from Belfast and Galway highlight the fact that things are just as busy and we continue to win a lot of new business.

11.00 Meeting with Colm Gorman - partner and head of HR and learning and development. KPMG has recently been voted the overall employer of choice by third level students in the inaugural Irish Times/Ireland Graduate Careers Survey. We're keen to turn such positive sentiment into action and to encourage more high quality people to join the firm in the numbers we need. 'When I started' I say, 'people would jump at a chance to join a major firm'. In reality (as Colm reminds me) people still do - but both graduates and more experienced professionals now have more choice in terms of career paths. So much for sentimentality - however it's good to know we're so firmly on the radar. We go through a range of people issues - with particular focus on recruitment matters and some really great new training programmes scheduled for the autumn for both trainees and more senior people.

12.00 Next up is a de-brief with Mike Gaffney and Elaine Hickey Dwyer on our private irish business seminars. We've had excellent speakers such as Alan Crosbie and Brody Sweeey address a range of issues at a series of breakfast briefings. Given that we have our roots in the old Stokes Kennedy Crowley business and have grown with so many of our clients, the challenges facing entreprenuers are close to our hearts. The anecdotal tales mixed with valuable pragmatic advice have been enthusiastically received by those in attendance at all of the events and we discuss plans for the next series.

13.15 A lunchtime sandwich and read of the papers - including a piece on auditor liability. The Company Law Reform Group has been asked by Minister Michael Ahern to look closely at this issue - any moves to make the issue of liability proportionate in the case of corporate failure are welcome. I have a series of calls to make and take from clients and some colleagues - including a catch up with David Kennedy. David is our new head of Advisory and he's is looking at ways of further leveraging the already significant success of our corporate finance, business advisory services, transaction services and restructuring and forensic teams. We're keen to make sure the market is even more aware of our great strengths in thse areas.

15.30 A briefing meeting with Irish rugby coach Eddie O'Sullivan. Eddie is speaking at our upcoming management conference on the topic of managing high performance teams. Listening to the rigour Eddie and his team apply to their roles is fascinating stuff and I'm confident Eddie will strike a chord with our audience. My thoughts turn to the Rugby World Cup - so much expectation!

16.45 A couple of hours spent planning for some up-coming projects and a few brief meetings on a range of topics includng our recently awarded status as Ireland's first carbon neutral professional services firm. Eamonn Donaghy, who heads our tax team in Belfast has sent me some KPMG commentary in the Belfast Telegraph on global corporation tax rates and the North's position vis a vis the Republic and other EU states. We're strong supporters of efforts to convince Gordon Brown of the need to get the private sector moving in the North and the high rate of corporation tax is a particular issue worth pursuing - as Eamonn has done with gusto. Overall, it's great to see things settling down politically at Stormont - fingers crossed that the goodwill continues beyond the inaugural honeymoon period.

19.15 The last diary engagement for today. Opera Theatre Company (OTC) celebrate 21 years in existence this year. I'm off with my wife Desiree to the Jameson Distillery at Smithfield for a reception to mark the occasion. KPMG is sponsoring the OTC's Autumn tour of Handel's Orlando. OTC really catches our attention given the way in which they've made opera so accessible through their record of bringing opera to provincial centres as well as the bigger cities. Jointly funded by the Arts Councils North and South, we're looking forward to our sponsorship.

22.15 Home. Jeremy Paxman is in fine form as usual on Newsnight providing some interesting if somewhat aggressive entertainment to wrap up a long and varied day.

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