Making Work More Human - A Q&A with ex-KPMG Partners 11/6

Let’s us know what one thing you would change tomorrow that would significantly improve your job life?

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Be full remote with the ability to travel and work from wherever I want.

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Amen

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I have been work for 10 years and 5 years in consulting. One thing that always struck me that we overpromise to client and under staff to increase margin and as a result we Senior Consultant end up working 15 hours a day for non stop 6 months and on top of that the SM won’t let you charge more than 45 hours. Please make sure we have the correct staffing model and everyone gets to enjoy their lives. Yes when need be we all have to be responsible but not 6 months straight. We all need to leave at a decent time at the latest by 6pm. Some SM and MDs have the tendency to work long hours and they expect the same from you. I left D to start my own company, very happy and I always connect with my team and make sure we address their issues.

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Boy would I work for you lol

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Salary

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I’m a partner at my firm and try to do my part on this theme - So much of the work we do is a waste of our time and of our client’s money. Backup analysis that doesn’t matter; slides that nobody reads, etc. When I was a mid-level consultant, there was nothing that frustrated me more than the partners who insisted on 100 slide decks, completed at 2 AM, when 10 slides would have been sufficient to help the client make the right decision. So much focus on the inputs and volume of work, rather than on the results we are enabling. And so much of that work is done because that’s how we’ve always done it and the client “expects it.” How silly. We could charge less; earn more, and provide a better client experience if we really designed our engagements to fit their needs, rather than stuffing the way we know how to do things into whatever the situation is.

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In the abstract, plenty of partners will agree that we shouldn’t waste time doing pointless analysis and making massive slide decks. But I have found that for a group of people who put in a lot of hours, many consultants (at all levels) are quite lazy when it comes to certain kinds of cognitively taxing activities. It’s easy as a leader to replicate whatever was done before and maybe tweak on the margins. It takes more thinking and more courage to do it differently; to focus the analysis where it matters; to make fewer slides. It takes trust with your clients that they won’t look bad when they don’t have the massive body of work to show their bosses. Etc. From a financial standpoint, if the outcome is the same, I can often charge the same amount too even if fewer hours of work are done. Or I can split the difference and charge less while realizing higher margins. Win win. My book of business is below median at my firm by revenue and above median at my firm by margin. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Fully automated expensing. Or at least exception based.

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Lots of folks here saying remote work: having done it long term, it definitely helps, but at the end of the day, you should still be working during that time, so the only difference really is in commute/travel time. Being remote all the time can also be very demotivating for some people, as they feel disconnected from the team. One thing I would certainly like to see is more flexibility around hours worked/part time work. If I could work 3/4 of my hours for 3/4 of my current pay, I absolutely would, and I bet you I’d be more productive for those hours than otherwise.

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I don’t think it’s just about saving commute time. For me at least, it’s about being able to live wherever I want when I want

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Predictable hours and more predictable work. Afternoon meetings so I can spend the morning focusing. Better manager who gives more context instead of just throwing things at me or giving only minimal info.

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Being fully remote. I would take a 5% pay cut for that

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What firm?

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Salary and flexibility with hours / location within reason

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I would change my degree 🤣

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Having exceptional tech! Our laptops are our bread and butter, they are new and shiny but they are very bad at processing data. What I wouldn’t give to have a laptop that didn’t crash on a daily basis when multiple excel files are open.

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Reduce screen time

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Remote work, 100%

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this is from Maggie Brereton

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Am now in industry, but in consulting it would have been much more active use of zoom calls, quip, box etc to minimise time on client site that wasn’t really value add. I do think teams work well collaborating in a shared space, and personally I go stir crazy with more than 1 day a week at home. So I think fully remote is not ideal. Having a central office which teams are in 60-80% of the time would be ideal. Then they can also have 1 day at home, and if needed for eg a big working session, 1 day at client site.

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We give our team members the option anywhere from fully onsite to fully remote with most choosing something in between. I am with you and would go nuts without the personal i teraction and "coffee chats".

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Full remote work flexibility, part time flexibility

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Challenging work with client that listens

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Client that listens? To convince a client with you research is what we get paid for. In consulting one of the biggest problem I see is the “people”. Client, internal leadership, engagement leadership, your direct managers, vendors - once you overcome all that and make everyone happy that mean you have overcome the struggle which never happens. You will be victim of politic, drama etc. now coming to your first point, we are in a business of selling, and if we see a problem that client is facing and we have an opportunity to fix we will pitch and will the work. Let’s say the client has data problem hence reporting is incorrect. We go in and start fixing the issue - are you saying it’s not a challenging work, may be not for you because you are a director but to an analyst who joined or to a consultant who can gain a lot of experience in the data domain is challenging for them. Bottom line the business model doesn’t allow to pick and choose. If we have the skills and resources we would go and do it and not pass it.

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Better salary and a clear career path with specific skills that are expected at each level from all employees.

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I really like the answers to this question, keep them coming!

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