Our people: Sharon Katz-Pearlman | KPMG | GLOBAL

Sharon Katz-Pearlman

Sharon Katz-Pearlman

Meet Sharon - tax advisor, mother and former ballet dancer.

Meet Sharon - tax advisor, mother and former ballet dancer.

Sharon Katz-Pearlman

Global Head, Tax Dispute Resolution & Controversy Network

Tax advisor, mother and former ballet dancer

“I’m not the typical person you’d expect to work at a global accounting and advisory organization like KPMG. I’ve never taken an accounting class in my life and I definitely don’t do math.

When I started, KPMG was trying a new approach. They wanted to increase their offering to clients by providing services typically provided by law firms. KPMG saw an opportunity to bring someone like me – a person who had IRS or tax law experience – to represent clients in examination, appeals and mediation. It started as an experiment, but it’s grown into so much more.

Before joining KPMG, I was a trial attorney at the top of my field. I loved my job, but I was also starting a family and I needed greater flexibility in my schedule. When I interviewed with KPMG, I was honest – I told them I had children and was planning on having more. I probably said everything I could to scare an employer off, but KPMG saw my potential and gave me a chance. I started at three days a week, working more hours as my children got older. But having a flexible schedule never took away from my career – it enabled my professional growth. 

After five years, I made partner and I’m now in charge of KPMG in the US’s Tax Dispute Resolution Network, helping clients resolve tax disputes and avoid future challenges. I was also asked to establish and lead KPMG’s global Tax Dispute Resolution & Controversy network, which over 100 member firms are now a part of. Over the course of my career, I’ve been able to add my knowledge and skillset to the KPMG equation. When I started, it was unusual for companies like KPMG to incorporate such a highly specialized practice. I’m proud of what I’ve helped to build.

Before becoming a lawyer, I had trained as a ballet dancer for many years, intending to join a ballet company. I danced six days a week and four hours each day after school, working hard to perfect my craft and pursue my passion. I think developing that level of dedication early on has helped me accomplish a lot, in both my professional and personal life. It’s always been important for me to be a good businesswoman and a good mom. KPMG gave me the opportunity to be both.

One of my daughters is joining KPMG as an intern this summer, and I told her the same thing I share with all new people: You’re going to work hard wherever you go, but the breadth of what we do is extraordinary and the opportunities here are endless. Grab them.” 

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