Manager, Impact Unit, KPMG International Development Advisory Services, Africa
KPMG East Africa
When Harleen tells people where she works, their first comment is invariably, “So you’re an accountant!” This couldn’t be further from the truth – in her words, “I took one accounting class at university and have always been much more interested in stories than numbers”
When KPMG hired Harleen, the firm was in the midst of a rapid expansion of its development advisory business in Africa. At the time, the International Development Advisory Services (IDAS) department in Nairobi was in the process of broadening its offering to donor entities and philanthropic bodies from financial management roles to advice on how to design, implement and evaluate development aid programmes. With business on the up, IDAS needed unit to help consolidate the knowledge that was being rapidly generated from these exciting jobs and use it to win new work. This is where she started – in market intelligence and knowledge management for the development business.
“From there, KPMG has moved from strength to strength in this field, taking me with it”, she says. Harleen now splits her time between delivering aid evaluation services to some of the most exciting and cutting edge clients in the portfolio, and working in a specialised unit designed to improve IDAS’ evaluation toolkit so that the firm remains at the top of its game in this field. “As an economist, this is the stuff of dreams – how to make economies work best for the people they serve.” And in her down time, you will find Harleen an experimental cook. “I love to develop and test new recipes – who knows, there may be a book in the offing one of these days!”