This article is part of the Bright Leaders of Calgary series, which features prominent corporate leaders and their insights on the local business community and vision for the future.
Decision makers and visionaries choose to do game-changing work in Calgary. Home to a growing list of over 100 head offices – the second highest concentration in Canada – organizations see the possibilities to grow in a globally and digitally connected city.
KPMG, one of the world's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax and advisory services to many of the public and private business, not-for profit and public sector organizations in Canada. With KPMG in Canada’s newly appointed Calgary Regional Managing Partner, Michael McKerracher, KPMG sees opportunities to solve global business challenges from its Calgary office.
We caught up with Michael to hear why Calgary is a top location for businesses, a priority outlined in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy.
What’s your vision for your new role as Calgary Regional Managing Partner, and what opportunities do you see emerging for KPMG in the city?
With member firms around the world, KPMG sees Calgary as a key market with over 900 employees in our office and plans to expand.
Across all industries, converging themes including digital transformation and technology adoption, a customer-centric mindset and greater desire to achieve sustainable operations continue to emerge. We are seeing organizations assess their strategic priorities and focus on the rise in generative artificial intelligence (AI), talent management and high stakeholder expectations to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. To respond to these emerging needs, KPMG supports organizations in these areas with additional advisory services including cybersecurity, risk management, deal advisory and business transformation.
Calgary also has an expanding technology sector that is boosting the city's industrial diversity, with tech firms active in sectors as varied as finance, agriculture and biotech.
We see Calgary emerging as a technology hub and are proud to support the ecosystem. We’ve been a supporter of Platform Calgary since day one – as an active Pillar Team member and sponsor – and house our KPMG Ignition Centre in the Platform Innovation Centre. Ignition Calgary is an innovation centre where we leverage the tools, technologies and knowledge within KPMG to help startups arrive at innovative solutions that move their organizations into the future in a meaningful way.
What are the advantages of Calgary’s business environment?
Calgary is big enough to be a global player and yet you can walk down the street or in the Plus 15 walkways and run into several people you know every day.
I’ve had the opportunity to work in international business hubs including New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Prague, London and throughout Australia. In my opinion, Calgary is one of the most entrepreneurial, livable, and connected cities with a young and highly educated workforce.
We have strong migratory inflows and an expanding economy that creates advantages for talent and the business community in the city. It’s a great place to work and a great place to live – it has a thriving business environment and a natural playground. Others think so too, as Calgary continues to rank among the top 10 most livable cities in the world.
What are your insights and observations of Calgary’s talent pool, and how is it changing?
KPMG has worked closely with post-secondary institutions for years and hires students for internships, co-op programs and full-time positions each year. Across all industries, including professional services, Calgary’s talent pool is highly skilled and diversifying as the market demands different expertise and solutions in the new economy.
Students are more interested in data and technology than before, and participate in ongoing upskilling in these areas. They want a workplace that values inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E) and has an increased focus on wellness and mental health. This has a direct impact on their employment decisions.
At KPMG, we believe that by embracing our individuality and unique perspectives, we can deliver unprecedented insights that create value for our people, clients and communities across Canada. And by doing so, we are all empowered to learn, grow and do work that matters. We are very committed to ID&E, social impact and wellness.
How is KPMG embracing new technology in the age of digital transformation?
Internally, we are incorporating new technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate our processes and transform the way we interact with our own data. This creates more time for our team to spend on data analysis, identifying and mitigating risks, and ultimately serving our clients better.
We also do this via alliances ― KPMG and Microsoft have a global relationship to reshape professional services across several business-critical areas including workforce modernization and use of AI solutions for clients and industry. We are making a multibillion-dollar commitment in Microsoft cloud and AI services over the next five years. We expect the expanded alliance to enhance KPMG client engagements and supercharge the employee experience.
What about Calgary gives you a reason for optimism?
I believe Calgary is a city positioned to lead solutions to business challenges in Alberta, throughout Canada and around the world.
I see Calgary remaining a global leader in sustainable energy solutions and emerging as a world-renowned tech hub. Calgary has a young and highly educated workforce, which is why our emergence as a tech and innovation hub is the next logical step. With our abundance of young leaders, the city has a unique culture of appreciation for having a fulfilling career and enjoying a great lifestyle.
Our culture of collaboration and connectivity has taken us a long way and will continue to position Calgary as a major global player. I want everyone in the world to know all this city has to offer.
The Team Calgary corporate partnership program engages our community’s visionary thought leaders to influence Calgary’s economic growth and create long-term prosperity and opportunities for all Calgarians.
Together, we advance the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy, as the path to make Calgary the place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to help solve global challenges.