Apart from providing business advice to some of the State’s leading organisations as Partner at KPMG, Peter de Cure has leveraged his business skills to help children in need in his position as SA Chairman of Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Can you tell us about your career and how it led to Partner at KPMG?
After completing university, I worked for several years at a small chartered accounting firm in Adelaide. The opportunities seemed a bit limited so I accepted a position in the tax division at KPMG - one of the world’s leading accounting firms with a worldwide network spanning more than 140 countries and employing over 135,000 people.

Some 23 years later I am still enjoying the challenges and opportunities available at KPMG. During this time, I have been lucky enough to work with some of South Australia’s leading businesses. Their success and growth created opportunity for me to join the KPMG Partnership in 1996.

Briefly, what does your role involve?
My role is very client focussed. I am responsible for generating new business and service delivery to a portfolio of local and national clients. A large part of my daily role also involves working closely with my colleagues at KPMG. We have a dedicated team of outstanding professionals who deliver quality service to our clients.

What is the key issue confronting businesses in South Australia that you’re advising on?
Firstly, I have found that many companies are experiencing difficulties in accessing finance, whether it is bank funding or their own capital raising due to various market factors. Secondly, businesses are expected to keep up with the ever increasing complexities of the modern world, including changes to government legislation, taxation changes and compliance regimes.

These are becoming more frequent and progressively harder to understand.
Thirdly, too many businesses lack strategies which adequately incorporate succession planning. Planning is so important for the growth and future success of a business.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
The long-term relationships I have established with our clients, KPMG staff and Partners and other professionals that I have worked with. I have worked with many of my current clients since I started at KPMG 23 years ago.

It is wonderful to be able to assist South Australian business leaders to realise their business goals, implement change and see them experience success as their journey progresses.

I also really enjoy helping my colleagues at KPMG to develop their own careers and seeing them achieve their individual professional goals.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?
One of the highlights is steering some of my clients, who were once private companies, to become publically listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. It is an exciting time to work on their public floats and to be involved in teams achieving great outcomes.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a keen fisherman, so I love getting down to our family beach house at Kangaroo Island. It is also a great place to spend time relaxing with my family.

You are also involved in charity work – what does that involve?
I am the SA Chairman of Variety, the Children’s Charity.

I am involved with developing, implementing and governing the strategy that the organisation requires to move forward and be successful as a charity. I also get to have a great time by participating in lots of events, such as the popular annual Variety Bash which raised $1.662 million net for Variety SA last year.

Why did you take on this additional board position?
I have been extremely fortunate in my own family life and career, so I jumped at the opportunity to leverage my business skills and make a contribution to an organisation I truly admire.

What are the challenges facing the not-for-profit sector?
New charities are constantly being formed, and as a result there is a duplication of effort within the not-for-profit sector and the public has become confused as to which organisation to donate their money. The not-for-profit sector is also currently experiencing volunteer and donor fatigue as people’s everyday lives become more hectic and their budgets tighten.

The 2011 Federal Budget recently announced that a new independent regulator statutory agency will be established by July 2012. This is a positive step, which will hopefully ‘clean up’ some organisations and help those who are doing a good job to engage with the right people who want to donate their time and money.

What advice would you give anyone looking to join a board of a not-for-profit organisation?
Make sure the not-for-profit organisation you are interested in joining supports a cause you are passionate about, and that you want to help make a difference. People need to be prepared for the personal commitment that is required with being on a board of a charitable organisation, as it takes a significant amount of time and requires diligence and focus.

A position certainly should not be considered simply as an entry-level or lowmaintenance option for becoming a director, or be about creating a profile. It carries the same set of responsibilities as being involved in a large company. Just because you’re volunteering your time doesn’t mean you can’t be sued if things go pear shaped.

If you do it for the right reasons and take the responsibility seriously, you will experience the many rewards that come with the position. This includes the thrill of utilising personal commercial skills in achieving key goals for a particular charity and great community outcomes.

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