Is the man of change. Must be guided by 200,000 workers by the paradigms of the new digital universe. This is the weight that Bill Thomas (Vancouver, Canada, 1967) comes to the interview. From a little over a year is the maximum global head of audit at KPMG. A company that enters the year 26.400 million dollars ($23.400 million euros) and that moves in an uncertain world. The rise of the far-right movements, militant trade policy of Trump and a global economy that weakens outlined red lines on the meridians of the planet. But this happens in the surroundings of the company, within the artificial intelligence and the analysis of massive data should make the audit more accurate. The prologue to good numbers. “The Spanish division grows by double digit”, advances Bill Thomas. Words that are rooted in a Land increasingly more complex.
Question. He meets regularly with some of the top executives on the planet. What are your biggest concerns?
Response. I am very fortunate to be able to meet with them. In addition we produce an annual survey survey of 1,300 ceos from around the world. There are three concerns that are repeated, both the report and in my conversations: the geopolitical transformations, the changes in trade agreements and cybersecurity.
Q. In this sense, what worries you more: the protectionism of Donald Trump, or the rise of the extreme right in Italy or Brazil?
A. hold a global position, and I see every day organizations that have that same scope. I firmly believe in free trade and I think that that freedom is essential for organizations that need to work on a global stage.
Q. Expected in the medium term a landscape where the european economy is weakening faster than expected and the united States is approaching a recession? Or is it too exaggerated?
A. The economy of the Old Continent remains positive. We trust in your strength. In Spain, we are seeing even a development a little faster than in the rest of the region. So much so that here we expect double-digit growth. Are solid results in a strong economy.
P. Aging of the population, climate change, overpopulation, populism... How can deal with the companies problems are so profound that, in addition, they happen at the same time?
A. There are many countries that are facing these challenges in a different way. There is, for example, Japan and the aging of its citizens. There are brilliant people, gifted with a huge talent that is using innovation and technology to solve some of these challenges. But it is important to have the way to seek a solution is splitting them into pieces and go solving each one of them in due time.
Q. Your global strategy for KPMG it is clear: the digital transformation of the company. What does it mean? How are you going to achieve?
A. We are changing the way in which we provide our services. The strategy is to invest 1,000 million dollars [880 million euros] to enhance our methods and incorporate there technology. The analysis of data, for example, will bring not only audits more effective, but in addition will give us more information, knowledge and, at the same time, will allow us to make a higher-quality work.
Q. What is the effect of technology on the performance of the auditor?
A. We talked about before, technology will help us to perform audits of best quality. The artificial intelligence and the analysis of data will provide the auditor with further information and make it possible for that you invest more time where it is needed the critical sense and evaluation. But in any case you are going to replace the role of the professional. There are always situations in which it is necessary to the criteria human.
Q. The area of mergers and acquisitions is one of the more has grown. Do you expect a fall in business by the greater weakness of the economy?
A. We are lucky because we have a great deal of mergers and acquisitions [M&A, for its acronym in English] around the world and particularly in Spain. When the economy is active and strong, the operations of M&A are a crucial part but also when it weakens, there is a place for the restructurings and consolidations. In both cycles, we help our clients.
Q. In what areas is currently investing most of the company?
A. In three lines: audit, lawyers, and financial and business advisory. He explained that we are investing 1,000 million in improving the technology that we use in the audits to make sure that you have the highest quality. We also invest in tax advice and consulting. The target are, above all, those areas where technology is key.
Q. The regulation has intensified in all sectors of the economy. The audit is not an exception. How has it affected you?
A. it Is true. The regulation has increased worldwide in recent years. And the experience has helped to improve the quality of audits in those places in which there exists a healthy relationship between the regulator, the client and the auditor. We live with the regulation and I think that helps to improve the result of the work.
Q. The Big Four (PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG) control 98% of the index london FTSE 350. Is it justified that concentration? Can it be harmful?
A. This is an important issue. If you think on a global scale, in the expertise that we have around the world in the areas where you need a high level of specialization, whether taxation, valuations, forensic [fraud detection], or all the elements that are necessary to perform a quality audit, there are few organizations that are able to do so. In addition, we compete fiercely with us for these global accounts. And in other business areas, such as audit or consulting services to national companies, our competence goes beyond the Big Four.
Q. will The financial regulator German we have retained them to watch the Deutsche Bank is more strict in regards to their policies, money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. Are there gaps in the banks?
A. I can Not talk about any specific customer, but what I can tell you is that we are absolutely committed to helping in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Q. let's Talk, then, of women at the great councils of administration. Are you in favor of quotas? Do that there is necessarily parity between men and women? How KPMG can break the glass ceiling?
A. The best organizations are those in which the diversity and inclprovided are assumed as part of the same. In KPMG's people bring their own identity to the job. The concept of quotas is a complex topic. I believe in meritocracy. People should get their jobs by merit. And if there is a set of the population that is not well represented, we must make sure that we are doing everything possible to create a team as diverse and inclusive.
Q. How has KPMG to retain the talent, especially the younger generations, rapidly changing work?
A. This is a vital issue for us. We are one of the biggest creators of jobs for millennials from all over the world. These young people what they want is to know the purposes of the organization in which they work. That said, in order to retain our professionals, we have to talk to you about who we are, what we believe, what is our role and what is valuable to us. You go above and beyond to tell you: this is what we do and this is how we do it.
P. Brings more than 25 years at the company. How do you build a great corporate culture and how ceos change a bad?
A. In reality it all boils down to a few basic principles, be transparent, open, honest and frank when you face a problem. In terms of whether a person can change a corporate culture by itself... The truth is that no one, no matter the job you have, does nothing by itself. It is always the work of a team. I have the good fortune of working with 10,000 members amazing in all the world. Together we are responsible for reporting bad behaviors when we see them.