Since joining multinational professional services network KPMG in 1983, Tasmanian-born Paul Green has worked across a range of disciplines, from audit to corporate recovery to management consultancy.
Paul’s pragmatic approach to problem solving, broad career experience and genuine interest in people makes him a great resource for family businesses and family offices looking to further establish themselves within the Asia-Pacific region.
In an interview with Campden FB, the Tasmanian chairman of KPMG Australia discusses the key issues families are facing, focussing on ESG issues and the advice he would give to his younger self.
Where in the world are you right now?
Hobart, in the beautiful state of Tasmania in Australia.
Where would be where would you rather be right now?
On a golf course in Scotland or on a beach in Queensland, Australia.
What are your key focuses within KMPG Australia at present?
I am the chief operating officer (COO) of the Enterprise Division in Australia, serving midmarket and private companies and family business. My aim is to get the business off to a good start for fiscal year 2023. Our current focus is around restructuring the enterprise business to set up for next phase of growth.
In Asia-Pacific (ASPAC), having launched a new strategy for private enterprise last year, our focus is on its execution. Private enterprise is a key focus for several of our practices in ASPAC, a number are early on in their journey and the strategy is to support the development of those emerging countries and looking at better mechanisms of collateral sharing across the region.
We’re also working closely with our colleagues on deploying global private enterprise strategy, products and collateral across the region. There’s a lot happening in the private enterprise space, it’s certainly an exciting time and we are getting some good momentum.
“Our relationships with families and the enterprises they own and manage has been part of our service since the inception of the firm.”
Family offices in Australia are more recently established compared to Europe, Asia and the United States. What do you offer to help effectively establish family offices and family enterprises?
Our relationships with families and the enterprises they own and manage has been part of our service since the inception of the firm. It is really the recognition of the role of a family office which has become more generally appreciated.
KPMG Australia has a clear strategy around serving the private market and family business and family office. In support of that we’ve established the Enterprise Division, a separate division of the firm that focuses specifically on that part of the market.
The division has approximately 1,500 employees and turnover of around $350m AUD, a substantial part of the firm.
The differentiating factor is that it provides a full-service offering service to those clients. We provide cradle-to-grave services to our private and family business clients and to the family office marketplace.
We can help navigate the complexities of establishing, operating, growing and preserving the family business and legacy. We provide the traditional professional services of tax, accounting and audit, but also offer specialist advisory services including family business structuring, services around transition between generations of families and services around environmental, social and governance (ESG) and cyber, both of which are quite topical now and we are helping family offices to navigate this.
What are the key issues that you find families are facing and how do you go about helping them?
Right now there is clearly more volatility in the marketplace that is affecting all of our clients… The emergence of increased inflation, the recent change of government in Australia and international issues facing all clients around the world. We’re providing more strategic advice to clients and supporting businesses through these challenging times.
One of the emerging issues for businesses more generally, and particularly for family business, is the ESG environment and the desire for businesses to more holistically consider how they operate and impact the environment and society.
KPMG Australia has developed a diagnostic assessment specifically for family business and private clients for them to think about ESG, the issues where they are doing well and the issues where they have opportunity to do better.
The assessment is being rolled out in Australia, it will then be rolled across the region and in the end globally.
It’s a topical area that we are focused on supporting private and family business clients. It provides a great opportunity to both improve the way they look at their impact and lowering their impact on society more generally.
In the cyber space, managing the emerging risks to data and family reputation is an area that we are building capability in and seeing increased demand from our private and family clients.
“The choice of people employed to lead and manage the family office need to align with family values and personalities of the family.”
What advice would you give to family members make the first steps in establishing a family office but don’t know where to start?
Have a view of the desired end state, there are layers of complexity that you can build into the family office model and what the family is seeking to build. Understand the family’s expectations and be clear on the direction you and the family are seeking to take. Ask yourself, why should we have a family office and what role do we want the family office to play?
Once you have clarity, there are a range of dimensions needed to establish to manage the family office. Part of that is about technology, systems and processes that need to be established to manage the family office. We can assist organisations with that.
The choice of people employed to lead and manage the family office – they need to be skilled and capable in the domains they’re responsible for. Families should not shortchange themselves on the quality of the people they choose to lead their family office. Those people need to align with family values and personalities of the family.
What does a good working day look like for you?
An early start, in terms of working effectiveness. I’m very effective early in the day and less so as the day goes on.
I’m the sort of person that likes to get into the detail, having some elements of the day that I can focus on getting into the nuts and bolts of a problem or task that is facing us. I enjoy engaging face to face, through Covid that has been challenging.
At the back end of the day, I like to exercise and then be back to my desk in the evening tidy up any administrative things.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think the biggest challenge we all face is having the confidence to step out of our comfort zone as we develop though our careers and in life generally. My advice would be prepared to do that more regularly.