James Marwick Biography

James Marwick – The Scottish accountant


James Marwick was the son of Sir James David Marwick, who was the Orcadian. James Marwick was a hard-working man and he was qualified to be the chartered accountant when he was young. He began his accounting work in Glasgow and later he travelled to Australia for the bank examination of some Scottish investors.

What they are famous for

An important fact about James Marwick is that he was one of the founders of the KPMG firm. In 1894, he travelled to the USA and he was impressed by the numerous business opportunities there. As a result, he decided to stay there and tried to look for a reliable partner for him to cooperate and expand the accounting business.

The schoolmate of James Marwick, Roger Mitchell, joined him and tried to find business opportunities in the New York City. They tried to form the business practice of accounting and it was labeled as the perfect partnership for ‘front office and back office cooperation’.

After several years of time, they expanded the business to other countries. There was the London office of their business. This established the solid foundation for the firm to achieve further successes in the later time.

How they affected the world today

James Marwick was an important man in the Scottish accounting industry. He was one of the earliest chartered accountants there and he was one of the pioneers in exploring overseas business opportunities in the accounting field. He stayed in the US and explored the opportunities there and he did not give up in finding a reliable partner to cooperate and build good success of the business.

Although James Marwick did not actually witness the formation and naming of KPMG firm, the accounting office that he established was the fundamental part of KPMG global in the world nowadays. The KPMG firm was built by the client network established by James Marwick and it was him and Mitchell who helped to find the other partner of the firm, the ‘P’ of KPMG. Without their efforts in finding the reliable partners, the firm could never achieve success in the later time and evolved to the KPMG firm internationally.

Because James Marwick established the London office apart from headquarter in the US, there were a lot of important achievements that he has made. For example, he had to travel around 15,000 miles per year in order to supervise the work of the both offices. With no computer technology at that time, it was actually not easy to maintain the contact between two offices and the travel made by James Marwick and his partner was necessary. But this type of communication helped the firm to be stable. Otherwise, the firm could hardly achieve a good internal control and business supervision.

To conclude, James Marwick was the one who insisted the quality of accounting work. Even though he had to travel for a long distance, he did not give up in doing so. Therefore, the firm’s success is attributable to his efforts.

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