The Australian arm of Big Four accounting firm KPMG could soon be holding executive meetings and closing multi-million dollar deals with clients in the metaverse, with the firm now exploring how the revolutionary technology can transform its business model.
In a recent interview, KPMG’s James Mabbott, partner in charge at KPMG Futures, said the firm sees real potential in the technology creating new and more efficient ways for businesses and consumers to interact with each other:
“I think the really interesting applications are going to be in the business to business context [...] And I think that I actually think that's where the money is going to be [even] more so than the consumer driven participation.”
Mabbott also stated that virtual interactions on metaverse platforms could not only revolutionize client engagement and service delivery but potentially also open up additional revenue streams for the firm.
“What we’re looking to do is explore the opportunity to create new business models and new assets with technology that fundamentally transforms the way we deliver our services,” he told Cointelegraph.
Building out a metaverse team
The company has just created a brand new role within Australia’s KPMG Futures team, called head of metaverse futures, which has just appointed Web3 executive Alyse Sue to the position, according to a recent statement sent to Cointelegraph.
KPMG Australia noted that Sue previously worked as a senior consultant on the KPMG Innovate team between 2012-2015 before venturing off into the cryptocurrency space — where she co-founded several startups, including Transhuman Coin, a decentralized finance (DeFi) project which invests in and supports emerging technologies.
Sue then worked at international software development and consulting firm Palo IT as the head of Web3 before returning back to KPMG.
The new role comes along with a lofty ambition from KPMG to build multimillion-dollar business opportunities for the firm by 2025. To achieve this feat, Mabbott stated that KPMG has been looking into building its own metaverse for the company’s internal business operations and business-to-business services.
Mabbott also noted that Sue will receive support from some of the 90 members that comprise KPMG’s Futures unit — which includes a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing in addition to the metaverse.
KPMG has also established KPMG Origins, a blockchain-based track-and-trace platform used to assist trading partners in codifying trust when carrying out cross-border business activities. Mabbott added that about 30 staff are currently working on the supply chain-focused platform.
Metaverse active users not a concern
However, the firm is also exploring potential opportunities on public metaverse platforms to see what opportunities are out there and what they might represent for clients, Mabbott said.
The KPMG Partner added that he wasn’t too concerned with the recent fall in user activity and reported poor user experiences in some of the largest metaverses in the industry today:
“When you look at some of these spaces, patronage and participation at the moment is not particularly high. But this is when all the really interesting experimentations are happening and the development of those new business models and ways of creating value is falling out.”
“Off the back of that, I think there will be an explosion actually in terms of uptake and use and applicability of these technologies as well,” he added.
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Mabbott also noted that while a number of video communications platforms — namely Google Meets, Microsoft Teams and Zoom — increased significantly in user activity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, users cannot fully immerse themselves in that environment like how they can in the Metaverse:
“The bit they don’t solve for is the emotional component. [With the Metaverse], your senses are hijacked, and you feel like you’re in that environment. That's what’s missing from our current Zoom and [Microsoft] Team's interactions.”
“It’s that sense of being in the room and being able to read [other people’s] body language and feel like you're there. That’s that next step that I think these technologies will bring,” Mabbott added.
This isn’t KPMG’s first move in the metaverse, either. In June 2022, the accounting firm also invested $30 million into Web3 employee training for its United States and Canada-based teams that focused on education, collaboration and training across different events and workshops.
The metaverse is expected to be worth $5 trillion by 2030, according to a June 2022 report from international consulting firm McKinsey. While investment bank Citi went one step further in estimating the total addressable market for the metaverse economy to reach as high as $13 trillion over the same timeframe.