Global accounting and professional services giant KPMG will invest $5 billion over the next five years to enhance its capabilities in the digital transformation of professional services.
As part of the initiative, the Netherlands-headquartered firm has signed a five-year agreement with Microsoft to accelerate its capabilities using cloud and AI (artificial intelligence), said a statement.
Under the terms of the deal, KPMG will deploy Microsoft technologies, including its Azure cloud platform. The deal also does not specify which technologies will be used by KPMG, while there is an indication that it will be dependent on KPMG's consumers as well.
While the statement does not make clear what would be Microsoft's share in licence fees over the next five years, a large part of the KPMG investment would be deployed for systems integration work done by multiple IT service players such as Accenture, TCS, IBM or Infosys apart from several SaaS players. Also, some of the work could be carried out by KPMG's global in-house centres across the world.
According to the companies, the new innovations built on these technologies will help their customers achieve greater accuracy and decision-making capabilities while reducing cost as well as increasing productivity. The agreement also entails significant investments in technology, people and innovation.
KPMG said that it is utilising Microsoft Azure and its AI capabilities as the backbone to strengthen its range of digital offerings with new innovations in cloud-based audit capabilities, tax solutions and risk management. It added that its customers in sectors, including those in highly regulated industries will benefit from globally consistent and continuous service delivery, and greater speed of deployment even while adhering to industry-leading compliance and security standards.
“With this partnership, we are accelerating digital transformation across industries by bringing the latest advances in cloud, AI and security to highly regulated workloads in tax, audit and advisory,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.
According to the companies, the alliance can quickly build applications on-demand, automating manual processes, and continuously analysing information to minimise the risk of errors and increase the ability to make smart decisions.
“Our alliance is a critical component in delivering industry-leading solutions and services to clients. Our significant multiyear investment continues to empower our people to work more efficiently and collaboratively while maximising the power of a workforce that blends people and technology,” said Bill Thomas, global chairman, KPMG International.
Through a jointly funded incubator, KPMG and Microsoft are working to co-develop a robust portfolio of solutions and managed services in the areas of cloud business transformation, intelligent business applications and smart workplace solutions, the statement said.
KPMG, with the launch of its smart audit platform KPMG Clara in 2017, became the first of the Big Four to take its audit workflow to the cloud, it said. Based on Microsoft Azure, Clara is an automated, agile, intelligent and scalable platform that allows KPMG professionals to bring powerful data and analytics capabilities into one interface while allowing clients to interact on a real-time basis with the audit process, the statement added.