A day after the Big Four firm KPMG announced that it was promoting Lynne Doughtie to chairman and CEO, Doughtie sat down with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network to discuss the growth strategy of the firm and how the firm will continue to empower women in the accounting profession.

During the interview, Doughtie told Bartiromo that the firm “will have more acquisitions on the horizon” and that data analytics and the impact of changing technology are areas that KPMG is heavily invested in and will seek out acquisition targets in those sectors. (see entire Fox Business interview below)

“We completed nine acquisitions over the last 18 months,” Doughtie noted during the discussion. Earlier this month, KPMG announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Beacon Partners, Inc., a health care consulting firm that offers strategic management and clinical and information technology consulting services to health care providers. (For more details on the deal, see KPMG to Acquire a Health Care Consulting Firm.

While on FBN, Doughtie and Bartiromo also discussed the overall landscape of what’s driving M&A deals for the Big Four firm. “Acquisitions is one way and I think the M&A market is pretty robust right now, and I think companies are looking for new ways to grow. But also we see a big emphasis on knowing your customer and how do you think of new channels to grow your business so it’s not just M&A, it’s also getting to know your customer and using new technologies to do that is very important. And also it’s how you use data and analytics to get that insight about your customer.”

KPMG Empowering Women

Once the strategic growth talks ended, Doughtie had an opportunity to shed some light on KPMG’s efforts to empower women. Doughtie, who is the first female to take on the role as chairman and CEO at the Big Four firm, explained to Bartiromo that the firm is proactive when it comes to encouraging women to overcome the obstacles in the male dominated profession of accounting. “I think we’ve done a great job at KPMG, and I think across our profession, in elevating the women in our organization,” Doughtie told Bartiromo.

“We’ve got a lot of programs that we are doing today that really try to highlight that women can do this," she said. "And diversity and inclusion. We’ve got some ad campaigns coming out in the next few months that are all around inspiring around getting the dialogue going around the advancement and empowerment of women. And it’s leading up to the KPMG Championship. So Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis are in these ads, it’s very provocative talking about breaking the glass ceiling and we couldn’t be more excited about it. But this Championship, one of the great aspects of it is that we are including a leadership summit as part of the Championship, which is all about advancing women and getting more women into the C-Suite” (see KPMG Features Golfers Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis in Ad Campaign). 

However, it’s important to note that KPMG is contending with a gender discrimination lawsuit from some of its female employees. In October 2014, Accounting Today reported that nearly 9,000 current and former female employees of KPMG were expected to receive notices to join a class-action lawsuit against the firm involving the Equal Pay Act (see KPMG Female Employees receive Notices about Gender Discrimination Suit). 

The lawsuit has been going on for years and the profession is still waiting to see how this lawsuit will turn out.

In response to the lawsuit, a KPMG spokesman emailed the following statement, “Two facts about the claims made by the plaintiff speak louder than any others: more than 85 percent of those eligible to have joined this lawsuit chose not to do so; and almost 85 percent of the small number that did join are not current KPMG employees. That is because the allegations that have been made are without merit, which KPMG confirmed after thoroughly and repeatedly reviewing the matter.”

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