KPMG swoops on Arrilla in ground-breaking deal

Catherine Hunter and Shelley Reys, the first Indigenous partner of KPMG Australia.

Accounting giant KPMG Australia has acquired specialist Indigenous consultancy, Arrilla, for an undisclosed price.

It has also taken a 49 percent stake in Arrilla’s digital Indigenous cultural competency training venture, and committed to reinvesting some profits from the joint venture into initiatives such as an Indigenous business incubator.

The deal announced this week will see Arrilla principal Shelley Reys become the first Indigenous partner of KPMG Australia.

Arrilla is an Indigenous consulting firm which works with government, private enterprise and community groups.

“We believe Indigenous economic empowerment must be built through entrepreneurial activity and employment – and that’s exactly what you’re seeing from KPMG today,” KPMG Australia chairman Peter Nash said. “This expansion is driven by a social purpose, and very deliberately conceived to bring together Indigenous expertise with KPMG specialists to provide tangible outcomes focused on economic development.”

KPMG Australia chief executive officer Gary Wingrove said the new Indigenous advisory practice, KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services, would be co-led by the firm’s head of corporate citizenship, Catherine Hunter, together with Arrilla principal Reys.

Ms Reys would continue to lead the training joint venture company.

“I’m proud to welcome Shelley as the first Indigenous partner of KPMG Australia,” Mr Wingrove said.

He said a strong Indigenous team for the venture would be announced soon.

Ms Reys has worked in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander field for 22 years. She was the inaugural co-chair of Reconciliation Australia, was awarded the Order of Australia for her work in the Indigenous arena and previously named one of the Australian Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’.

“As a champion of reconciliation for over two decades, I’ve been passionate about changing the life chances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests together,” she said. “Through my cultural competency work I’ve helped the corporate sector gain some of the knowledge, skills and confidence to play its part.

“The Indigenous business incubator that we plan to establish is a key point of difference in the market and an important aspect for me.

“Even in a commercial environment, it’s important to contribute to the community in which you work, and KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services will do so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses.  I could have only wished for something like this to have been available to me 22 years ago.

“As an Indigenous woman and business owner, one might say that by partnering with KPMG I have become a true reflection of these principles. This unique relationship with KPMG offers a platform from which to deliver something that I’m passionate about – the creation of a culturally competent Australia.”

Wendy Caccetta

 

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