Bursary Guide: KPMG

KPMG offers a limited number of comprehensive bursaries to prospective students wishing to pursue a career in chartered accountancy.


KPMG is a multinational company based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands that provides professional services in the areas of auditing, assurance, financial/legal/tax advice, actuarial services, and management consulting/advisory services. One of the world’s largest companies of its kind, KPMG stands as one of the so-called ‘Big Four’ auditing firms, together with Deloitte, EY, and PwC.

The company’s name is an acronym standing for the initials of each of the companies and/or their chairmen that were originally merged to create the current company: ‘K’ for Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co., ‘P’ for William Barclay Peat & Co., ‘M’ for Marwick, Mitchell & Co., and ‘G’ for Dr. Reinhard Goerdeler, who was chairman of Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft and later became the chairman of KPMG.

Being formed through the amalgamation of many different companies over the years, KPMG’s history is complex. The company’s origins can be traced back to the year 1891, when the first of the above firms, William Barclay Peat & Co., was established in London. Around the same time, Thomson McLintlock set up an office in Glasgow. Marwick Mitchell and Co. followed in 1897 in New York City. Also in New York, the American Audit Co., later renamed to FW LaFrentz & Co., was established in 1899. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Main & Co. was founded in 1913, while in Amsterdam, Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co. was established in 1917.


accountant desk


1925 saw the first merger of two of the above companies when William Barclay Peat & Co. joined with Marwick Mitchell & Co. to form Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (later simply Peat Marwick). In 1963 Main & Co. merged with FW LaFrentz & Co., and later with Thomson McLintlock, forming McLintlock Main LaFrentz International. In 1979, McLintlock Main LaFrentz, Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co., and Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft merged to form KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler). Finally, in 1987, KMG merged with Peat Marwick to form the KPMG of today.


Bursary program overview


KPMG’s bursary program is one of the most exclusive in South Africa, with only two bursaries being awarded each year. This makes the program a significantly intense and competitive one, while also being highly rewarding as a result. Both bursaries are aimed at prospective students who wish to enter into tertiary education with the end goal of becoming a SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) certified chartered accountant.

The Pure Merit Bursary is the most highly sought after of the two, and is awarded based on academic results alone, while the Merit Bursary with Financial Needs is awarded according to a combination of academic promise and demonstrated financial need. Both bursaries depend on academic ability as their main criteria for acceptance into the program.



Candidates may only apply for one of the above bursaries, and should therefore carefully consider which category they fall into. Only those requiring full student funding, and who would be unable to complete their studies without additional financial assistance, should apply for the Merit Bursary with Financial Needs.

KPMG bursaries are available to candidates who intend to study a full-time SAICA recognised degree at an accredited tertiary institution, while completing the degree in the minimum number of years. Minimum cademic averages of 65% for financial accounting (60% for third year and 50% for CTA) and a total average of 65% for the four major subjects – auditing, tax, financial accounting and management accounting – must also be maintained (60% for third year and 55% for CTA).

The terms of KPMG bursaries are similar to many others. Successful candidates are expected to maintain a high standard of academic achievement throughout their period of study, or risk having their bursary revoked. Bursary recipients will also be required to serve a three-year training contract at with KPMG upon successful completion of their studies. This allows for further training and employment opportunities, with many bursary recipients going on to become permanent KPMG employees.


Qualifications covered


KPMG bursaries are made available to candidates wishing to study a select few degrees relating to the financial field. These include BCom Accounting, Commerce, BBScience CA Stream, BCom Accounting Science, and BCom Internal Audit (Honours) qualifications.

Under certain conditions, other qualifications that have some application to the financial world may also be considered, but these core degrees form the basis of KPMG’s bursary program.




As one of the country’s most sought-after bursaries, KPMG offers many generous benefits as part of its bursary package. First and foremost, all tuition fees are covered in full and paid directly to the academic institution in question, together with any applicable registration fees and other administrative costs that may arise as part of the study process. The bursary also covers the cost of books, stationery, and any necessary equipment that the student may require in the completion of his or her degree.

Accommodation at a residency or hostel of the tertiary institution in question is also subsidised, along with regular meals as provided by the institution. Further to these basic costs, a stipend for day-to-day living expenses is also provided as a monthly allowance fee.

Together, these financial contributions enable successful candidates to complete their degrees without worrying about monetary constraints, and highlight the extent of the financial assistance provided by such a bursary.


Application process


The application process for KPMG bursaries is simple, and is mostly done online through the company’s own website. Application forms can be downloaded from the bursary portal once annual applications open. An alternative route for those without adequate internet access is to obtain an application form from a KPMG office and send in a completed application to the KPMG head office by post.

All necessary supporting documents should accompany the application form as stated on the form itself, including certified copies of the applicant’s ID document as well as matric certificates and any existing university transcripts. The closing date for applications is usually the end of September. Applicants are encouraged to send their applications well in advance.

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