We catch up with Mike Steventon Midlands Regional Chairman and Birmingham Senior Partner at KPMG UK
Please introduce yourself
I am Mike Steventon, the Midlands regional chairman for KPMG UK. I’ve been a partner at KPMG since 1998, becoming the senior partner for the Birmingham office in 2011. I became regional chairman in 2013. I started my professional career in Birmingham after leaving university and, although my time with KPMG has seen me do secondments in the US and Germany, I can honestly say that the best place to work is the Midlands.
What does your company do?
KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax, and advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 professionals working around the world. In the UK we have 10,000 partners and staff, with 1,000 of those very talented individuals in our Birmingham office at One Snowhill.
Is Brum a good place to do business?
Without a doubt! For KPMG, Birmingham is our second largest office in the UK and the fifth largest in Europe, which just goes to show how highly we value the city as a place to do business. Birmingham is fantastic for talent availability, we’ve got some top educational institutions here which attract great people from near and far who then feed into our business community. And that business community is growing and becoming increasingly prosperous, with continued growth in inward investment. And what’s also great about our city is that firms can offer the same level of talent and service, but for lower operating costs than they’d pay in London – surely a no brainer for businesses looking for a place to invest?
What are your biggest gripes with it?
We don’t shout loudly enough about the great things we do. We’re too self-critical and self-effacing. We need to celebrate our achievements and tell the world about how fantastic Birmingham is!
How do you feel your clients see the city?
As progressive and a real growth city. They believe they get the same quality of firms here as they would in London, whether that be accountants, lawyers or banks.
Does Birmingham offer any particular advantages as a destination for business?
We’re a great central hub – our connections are second to none, whether that’s by our rail and road networks or our airport. We’re also the youngest city in Europe with the highest percentage of the population under 16. Why wouldn’t you want to do business in a city with such a high number of talented young people preparing to break through the ranks?
What should our priorities be as a city?
We should aim to be the hub of a regional economic geography, speaking with a single voice on matters of devolution and sharing a vision to become a true powerhouse within the UK.
If you had £1bn to spend on improving Brum what would you do with it?
I’d buy a better football team! All joking aside, football teams are seen as defining the vibrancy and quality of a city. Look at the effect on Manchester and the brand they’ve built, especially for the global market! I’d invest further in our infrastructure – it’s hugely important. Lastly, I’d invest in our next generation. Putting resources into training the talent of the future has got to be money well spent.