KPMG Australia appoints first-ever head of metaverse future

KPMG has appointed software engineer and tech entrepreneur Alyse Sue as its new head of metaverse future, with the goal of creating a multimillion-dollar business based on metaverse technology and cryptocurrency over the next two years.

Sue rejoined the Big Four firm after working as a senior consultant on the KPMG Innovate team between 2012 and 2015 before focusing on her own startup projects. Sue co-founded Transhumanism Australia and cryptocurrency Transhuman Coin, which are both dedicated to funding research and development of technologies that enhance human biology, and Genomix, a data machine-learning startup that identifies genetic variations associated with long life spans.

Previously head of Web3 for software development and innovation consultancy firm Palo IT, Sue will now report to James Mabott, a partner at KPMG Futures.

“My role at KPMG is to use metaverse technology to create new business models for the firm,” said Sue. “I am primarily interested in blockchain metaverses such as crypto, Horizons 2 and 3 mix realities. We would like to encourage more businesses to move toward this model, and we believe that the way we work will change considerably by 2030, because metaverse adoption is driven by B2B.”

According to the KPMG website, Metaverse Future is about reflecting a continuously evolving world by developing new business models and adapting to changes in technology. The firm believes that by 2030, synthetic data generated from simulated realities could allow robots to problem-solve and replace humans for high-risk tasks. However, Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which develops virtual and augmented reality technologies set to support the metaverse, reported a cumulative operating loss of $9.1 billion since Q3 2021.

While KPMG’s main source of revenues relies on consulting or advisory-based services, Sue explains that an increasing number of banks and fashion companies are currently experimenting with crypto and NFTs, and that the company aims to attract this new category of clients by investing in new technologies. Sue says the metaverse would be the product of quantum computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. While some of those models are not well-developed yet, KPMG expects them to play a significant role on the tech stage by 2030.

“We could bring advances to AI and quantum, and use simulations in different environments and scenarios,” Sue said. “Those simulations could help us determine what is the best business strategy, driven by blockchain technology.”

The four fields of research Sue is most interested in are payments, standards, security and tokenization, which refers to physical assets being represented on a digital blockchain. She says that Metaverse Future is about finding new areas of growth and exploring new technologies such as cryptocurrency, NFTs, decentralized autonomous organizations, as well as VR and AR.

However, Chainanalysis data revealed the average price of NFT sales has dropped by 92% since May, and KPMG may need to consider these complications for its future investments. Currently, Metaverse Future counts 90 team members whose work focuses on AI and quantum computing, in addition to the metaverse. The firm also launched KPMG Originsa blockchain-based track-and-trace service that helps businesses navigate increasingly complex supply chains with an independent data-sharing platform.

“The metaverse is not a passing fashion and companies are all looking at how they can engage customers in new ways,” Sue said. “The numbers are increasing, and some people are already spending more money on their avatar than on their actual wardrobes. It is an exciting space to be in, and if you’re part of it, you’ve already become part of the future .”

Sue says that KPMG regularly organizes one-on-one meetings with its clients to understand their problems and come up with a product that will meet their needs. As a result, Metaverse Future is currently working on ways to protect its users’ privacy and guarantee a swift transition from Web 2.0, which is the current version of the internet, to a third version of the World Wide Web.

According to Sue, Metaverse Future is ultimately all about clients and explaining to them how metaverse technology is going to look in the next few years. Sue says that people want to know how new technologies are going to change the landscape of business, and KPMG believes its new initiatives may revolutionize employee, client and third-party interactions.

“The best way to learn for companies to explore these new technologies is to dive in and play around with NFTs,” declared Sue. “They should read about the theory, run experiments and wonder how they can help customers better solve their problems.”

KPMG is not the only CPA firm to make a few moves toward the metaverse. In December 2021, PwC Hong Kong purchased a LAND site in the popular Sandbox metaverse, a blockchain-based gaming platform. In JanuaryPrager Metis also became the first CPA firm to open up a metaverse headquarters as part of a joint venture with metaverse studio Banquet LLC.