KPMG Peat Marwick: The Shadow Partner (Case Study) Sample Assignment

Posted on January 3, 2022 by Cheapest Assignment

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Review of the case study:

The case study illustrates the probabilities of including a shadow partner in KPMG which is an independent accounting audit firm. The Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler is accounted among the world’s prominent auditing firms such as Deloitte, PwC, and EY. The organization’s requirements for a shadow partner have been observed in the case of scenarios such as overtaking a bid placed by Worldwide Enterprises on one of the clients of KPMG, Amalgamated Pulp & Paper (AP&P) (Clarke & Gaile, 1997).  


The shadow partner is intended as a technological advancement required for the creation of a flexible information-sharing platform for accounting professionals of KPMG all over the world. However, it is essential to reflect critically on major aspects of the case study such as the advantages and disadvantages of shadow partners, the role of partnerships, and the approach followed for the development of the shadow-partner initiative. Critical reflection has to be accompanied by a plausible rationale in order to validate the arguments derived from the case study (Eccles & Gladstone, 1995). 

Advantages and disadvantages of shadow partner project:

Shadow partner projects can be considered technological improvements for access to business intelligence. Generally, accounting audit organizations have to adopt comprehensive business intelligence applications which can render viable industry and client data and history (Daft, 2012). Therefore a shadow partner project for KPMG would be accountable for advantages such as, 

  • Streamlining the governance of business information 
  • Precise utilization of technology and expertise in the firm 
  • Access to value-added services for clients
  • The flexibility of communication and coordination among different partners of KPMG and in the internal environment of the organization 
  • The direction of information management systems towards clients rather than products and improvement of productivity by integration of support tools for management such as tools for project management and time management.

However, KPMG must also consider the disadvantages of a shadow partner project in order to revise its funding decisions (Kanter, 1999). The profound disadvantage of the shadow partner project can be noted in the cost associated with the development of the shadow partner in accordance with the specifications of the company and the distinct factors of volume and variability of client information. Since the shadow partner is assumed as a deviation from enterprise-wide business intelligence frameworks, it has to be complemented with training programs for helping employees to understand the application of the shadow partner in strategic business applications (O’Leary, 2014).  

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Furthermore, the proposal of the shadow partner project is also subject to resistance from senior management on the basis of cultural friction which can also be accountable for the stagnancy of the project in later stages of development

Voting for the proposal for shadow partner project funding:

If I had been a member of the US Operating Committee in February 1991, my vote would have been for the development of the shadow partner project. My rationale for explaining my affirmative vote for funding the shadow partner project would be inclined towards the information management benefits and support tools for management integrated into the system. The primary concerns of partners are directed towards immediate returns and flexibility of utilization of the shadow partner according to the changing dynamics of the accounting industry.  

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The formidable explanation for funding a shadow partner project would be a measure in advance for catering for the diversity of information related to clients and the domain of the accounting industry (Zeff, 2003). The performance of auditors can be enhanced through the provision of opportunities to multitask and access information flexibly. The only supporting requirement from partners in this scenario would be to ensure alignment of the technology with people and operations. Redesign of IT framework involves an investment of costs which could be obstacles for partners to adopt the shadow partner project. However, the consideration of long-term advantages of the project such as streamlined governance of business intelligence i.e. flexible information management is profoundly required in times of rapid changes in global economic environments

Critique of the approach followed for the KPMG shadow partner project: 

The approach followed for the establishment of a shadow partner for KPMG comprised references to the design of a comprehensive representation of organizational expertise. The unstructured database approach method is observed prominently for the design of the shadow partner. However, the adoption of an unstructured approach could be potentially responsible for setbacks such as the inability of senior accounting personnel and management executives to operate the application (Daft, 2012). On the contrary, preferences for a structured approach to the database design could be responsible for the categorization of data. Therefore, the employees could be able to access the specific directories and paths which are required for their professional commitments. Despite the flexibility for information, time, and task management which can be observed in the case of the suggested approach in the case study, KPMG must also consider its applicability according to the existing competence levels of its employees. Support in the form of training programs can also be adopted as viable measures for catering for the insufficiencies of the unstructured database approach followed for designing the shadow partner project for KPMG. 

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Clarke, S. E., & Gaile, G. L. (1997). Local politics in a global era: Thinking locally, acting globally. The annals of the American academy of political and social science, 551(1), 28-43. 

Daft, R. (2012). Organization theory and design. Nelson Education. 

Eccles, R.G., & Gladstone, J. (1995). KPMG Peat Marwick: The shadow partner. Watertown, MA: Harvard Business Publishing.  

Kanter, J. (1999). Knowledge management, practically speaking. Information Systems Management, 16, 7-9.

O’Leary, D. E. (2014). KPMG Knowledge Management and the Next Phase-Using Social Media. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting

Zeff, S. A. (2003). How the US accounting profession got where it is today: Part II. Accounting Horizons, 17(4), 267-286.

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