Dell supports veterans through a number of programs, including Employee Resource Groups at both the national and local levels. Find out more at https://jobs.dell.com/military. Matthew Koskinen, associate test engineer at Dell EMC and a Marine Corps Sergeant, is especially thankful for military experiences that taught him the ability to pivot—quickly.“In 2008 when I was activating to deploy, our deployment was having us to go to Afghanistan,” Koskinen said.He and his fellow Marines were preparing for mountains and Afghani culture when they found out about a month before their deployment date they were going to Iraq instead.“I began studying Arabic, but once we got in country, we found out that we were going to southern Kurdistan, an area of Iraq where they didn’t speak Arabic primarily,” he said.The rapid change in deployment schedule was a good illustration of the types of problems Koskinen faced in the military that have translated especially well into the technology sector.“Everything is changing. Today we could be working on one project, the next new technology comes out and we’re going to focus on that. So, the military really helped me prepare for that challenge,” he said.Military to civilian transitionMolly Mae Potter, who was named Ms Veteran America 2016, works as a business operations manager at Dell.“When I left the military in 2013, it wasn’t exactly a celebration. I got injured in Afghanistan in 2010 and I really struggled with a traumatic brain injury and some post-traumatic stress,” Potter said. “I had gone through treatment with the military and had a really hard time trying to figure out what I was going to do post military career.”When she started looking for a job in 2013, the only position she was able to find was working in a running shoe store earning $10 per hour. Struggling to pay her bills, she resorted to renting her house and relying on friends and family to keep her afloat.“I was essentially living in my car with my dog until I got a call from Dell in April 2014 and I started work here that May,” Potter said. “When I started, it was an immediate fit. I had an amazing advisor who understood that I was going to go through a little bit of a rough patch transitioning from the military into a corporate, civilian environment.”Her boss took his time helping Potter understand expectations for the role and was flexible as she took time to resolve her health issues.“My first year here, I actually had a service dog that came to work with me quite a bit, and Dell just treated it as a norm,” Potter said.The welcoming environment was just the tip of the iceberg for Potter feeling at home. Her military skill set translated beautifully. She’s happily moved into four different positions within her two years.“In the military you are trained and ingrained to figure it out without getting stressed out,” she said. “When I look at the future of my career here at Dell, I see a wide open door,” Potter said.Softening the edgesAlejandro Rivas, an Army Veteran who works in the Global Talent Management Team in HR, agreed the military has played a hand in his successful 19-year career at Dell. He’s thankful for the mentors who helped him transition and soften his approach.“I’ve had a number of amazing leaders who have coached me or given me, as I call it, tough love. And I needed it,” Rivas said.He went on to share how his military style didn’t quite translate to Dell’s culture at first.“I would literally go into a conference room with a bunch of directors and other senior leaders and give them direction like a military person would,” Rivas laughs about it now. “I’d put my hand on my hip and say, ‘I need you to go to this, do you copy? And if we’ve got it, draw fire.’”Recognizing his approach didn’t resonate with a lot of people, a member of his leadership team told him he needed to learn soft skills. Rivas genuinely didn’t know what that meant.“The tip to learn soft skills tapped into who I am as a person,” Rivas said. “It helped me develop networks and relationships with people long term; it helped me transition from ex-military to professional, but without forgetting where I came from, which was a good thing because it is part of my DNA just the same.”Soft skills aside, Rivas feels coming to Dell became a natural next step after his military career. He has enjoyed the fact that Dell has been open and flexible about moving within the company and growing his career.“I love being here. Since the military, this is the next big job that I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has welcomed proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority calling for a radical reform of the UK market for audit services.In a report published on Thursday, the competition watchdog said the so-called Big Four firms should be forced to spin off their audit work from their separate consultancy businesses.The competition watchdog also wants to open up the market to new entrants and improve competition by requiring the main audit players to work with smaller rivals to product joint audit reports.Acting LAPFF chair Paul Doughty, who also chairs the £8.6bn (€10bn) Merseyside Pension Fund, said: “We welcome the recommendations of the CMA. LAPFF has been impressed by the thoroughness and independence of the CMA’s work in the face of tremendous lobbying by the accounting industry. “Where we see resistance to the proposals from the accounting industry to the recommendations of the CMA we deduce that is because they fear they will be effective.”“More than a quarter of big company audits are considered sub-standard by the regulator. This cannot be allowed to continue.”Andrew Tyrie, chair of the CMACMA chairman Andrew Tyrie said: “People’s livelihoods, savings and pensions all depend on the auditors’ job being done to a high standard.“But too many fall short – more than a quarter of big company audits are considered sub-standard by the regulator. This cannot be allowed to continue.The CMA launched its inquiry into the UK audit market in October last year after months of public and political disquiet over the failure of companies such as outsourcing conglomerate Carillion and retailer BHS.It also followed wide-ranging criticism of the UK’s audit watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), whose opponents said it was too close to the firms that it audits. The FRC is to be replaced a new body, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), after its effectiveness was heavily criticised in an independent review in late December. Critics of the current state of the UK audit market say it is dominated by the Big Four – Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – and that there is a lack of competition and new entrants.Key role for audit committeesThe CMA inquiry is what is known as a market study and can lead to a number of outcomes to improve competition in a sector, such as recommendations to government, enforcement action or even a full-blown market investigation.Among its other proposals, the CMA wants the new ARGA to play a more aggressive role in holding audit committees to account.This could include ensuring that committees report their decisions as they hire and supervise auditors, as well as the regulator issuing public reprimands to companies whose committees fail to scrutinise their auditors sufficiently.The CMA has also said it could take more drastic action after five years if the reforms fail to deliver improvements.In response, an FRC spokesperson said it welcomed the proposals, in particular “the recognition of the key role of audit committees and the proposed role for regulation in ensuring they deliver on this.”Missed opportunities seen Reaction to the report among other stakeholders was mixed, however.Sharon Bowles, a former chair of the European Parliament’s economics affairs committee, told IPE: “I would have preferred a full operational separation of the firms’ audit and consultancy businesses because culture is at the heart of the kind of change that is needed.”Bowles also told IPE that she regretted the lobbying campaign against similar proposals in the past.“The great sadness is that we could have been here five years ago if the UK ‘establishment’ had not put its efforts behind diluting similar proposals from the EU,” she said.Another long-standing audit critic, finance academic Prem Sikka, said the CMA’s proposals were a missed opportunity.He said: “[A]nother opportunity to reform the serially dysfunctional auditing industry has been wasted. It is the third attempt in recent years by the CMA, and its predecessors, to reform the industry.“The previous attempts in 2006 and 2013 neither secured competition, choice, improvement in audit quality nor value for money and the latest opportunity has again been wasted as the CMA has continued to appease the big accounting firms with minimalist reforms and neglect the concerns of stakeholders.”The UK government has said it will respond to the CMA report within the next 90 days.