Fri | Jan 21, 2022

KPMG outsourcing unit doubles workforce, adds second location

Published:Sunday | December 5, 2021 | 12:09 AM

KPMG Jamaica has doubled its outsourcing workforce from 250 to 500 in a year, and is still in the process of hiring more people, having co-invested in expanded facilities. The rapid expansion of subsidiary business KPMG Jamaica Extended Support...

KPMG Jamaica has doubled its outsourcing workforce from 250 to 500 in a year, and is still in the process of hiring more people, having co-invested in expanded facilities.

The rapid expansion of subsidiary business KPMG Jamaica Extended Support Services Limited, or KJESS, has seen the addition of a second office in August, under lease, which cost around US$5 million to retrofit and equip.

“On December 6, KJESS will welcome its 500th employee, a sterling achievement considering that in September 2020 it had a roster of 250 active employees,” said KJESS Executive Director Krisman Spence.

“By September 2022, we expect to have at least 650 staff,” he said, adding that the outsourcing workforce should reach 1,000 by the next three to four years.

KPMG Jamaica, a top audit and accounting firm operating in Jamaica for a century, specialises in large audit, tax and advisory services. Outsourcing services was added to its portfolio in 2016, and serves one client – the American branch of KPMG LLP, through an exclusive arrangement. The idea for an outsourcing business unit came from KPMG Jamaica Managing Partner R. Tarun Handa, who is also a senior partner at KPMG in Caricom.

Since the pandemic, KJESS staff have been allowed to work remotely, facilitated by ‘hotdesking’ software it acquired, which allows seamless, offsite connection to the office.

“This innovation will essentially double the production capacity of the current two sites to soon support well over 800 employees,” Spence said.

During the outsourcing unit’s formative years, the KJESS team operated from an incubator within the KPMG Jamaica facility on Duke Street, downtown Kingston. KJESS then expanded to a permanent facility at 59-59½ Harbour Street, Kingston in November 2018, to seat a maximum staff of 184.

The total investment in the first centre, which KJESS occupies under lease, was about US$4 million, spent between KPMG and the owner of the property. In August, the second office opened at 9 Duke Street, with a seating capacity of 232 employees. That property, which is owned by the Issa family, is also occupied under lease.

Spence said the investment in the second centre – around US$4 million to US$5 million – was also shared between the landlord and KPMG.

KJESS currently handles services that include finance and accounting, procurement, human resources, risk management, marketing, learning and development, and proposal development.

Its staff “operates in a team extension model, working side by side with team members in the US and other parts of the globe to deliver high-quality, cost-effective solutions for KPMG in the US firm,” Spence said.

Outsourcing services in Jamaica is among the sectors that grew under the pandemic, as businesses overseas cut in-house cost and outsourced more services. The sector accounted for 44,000 jobs up to June, up from 38,400 a year earlier; and generates US$780 million from 87 operators.

business@gleanerjm.com