04 September 2009 | Rebecca Ellinor
Procurement teams at KPMG businesses in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium have merged to form KPMG Europe.
And next month the internal purchasing departments of the audit, tax and advisory firm's practices in the Netherlands, Turkey and a number of Russian Federation countries are also expected to join.
Speaking to SM, head of procurement Mark Powderham said the move was part of a company-wide plan to make KPMG the largest fully-integrated accountancy firm in Europe. Purchasing is one of several back-office functions, including IT and HR, to be integrated as part of the transformation.
Procurement was seen as a key enabler of the merger, with executives eyeing up potential savings on the firm's total ?750 million (£655 million) third-party spend.
The transformation has increased the procurement savings target from ?10 million (£8.7 million) in 2007/08 to ?20 million (£17.5 million) in 2008/09.
Powderham said that while the synergies have led to headcount reductions in some functions, procurement has experienced more investment as a result of the move.
"Procurement has been seen entirely differently," he said. "This has been an area of real under-investment in the past so we've sought to invest in the professionalism of other countries that don't have it."
Powderham wrote a strategic sourcing manual to standardise procurement work across the company.
The document contains templates to help buyers at all stages of the purchasing process.
The company is also putting in place a common SAP system, a telecom contract and a data centre to cover Europe. The full interview with Powderham will be published in SM on 5 November.