Lorna Nimmons, Partner, Audit, KPMG LLP
Education and Career History
Lorna was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She attended the University of Edinburgh where she obtained an LLB (Hons) degree in Law and Accountancy. Lorna started her career with KPMG in the Edinburgh office in 1994. After obtaining her CA qualification, she had an opportunity through KPMG’s global mobility program to transfer to the Vancouver office in 1997. She became an audit partner in 2006. Lorna’s industry focus since moving to Vancouver has been real estate and hospitality. Lorna was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Vancouver CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) in 2005.
Lorna is an audit partner with KPMG Vancouver with over 20 years of experience. For 18 of these years, she has been providing assurance and business advisory services to private and public companies in the real estate and hospitality sectors.
Lorna works with a wide variety of clients, including commercial and residential property developers, REITs, asset and property managers, hotel and senior care operators.
Lorna is currently on a reduced work arrangement which she started upon returning from her first maternity leave. She effectively looks after 80% of the client responsibilities that a regular audit partner would have. The flexibility to have a lesser role at this stage in her career and life has allowed Lorna to balance her priorities with a young family really well and she is very appreciative that KPMG provide this support to her and many of our women who are progressing towards partnership.
Lorna has 2 daughters aged 5 and 7 and lives in West Vancouver with her husband, Alastair who is also a CA. Having grown up on the family farm in Scotland, Lorna loves the outdoors and being active in general. The whole family enjoys spending time together in Whistler as they are avid skiers and mountain bikers and have recently taken up kayaking and paddle-boarding. Lorna also loves to “practice” her golf and enjoys travelling (for vacation, not work!) and cooking.
Q What skillsets are important to professionals in public accounting?
Two of the most important skills in public accounting include building relationships and using your knowledge to add value to your clients.
We are expected to bring technical and analytical expertise of accounting and auditing skills to our clients to assist with their business needs, whether it be financial reporting, transactional related, tax service or otherwise. However, equally important to this knowledge component is being a good listener, being patient and diligent and building trust and ultimately a strong relationship.
By developing those relationships we become their trusted advisor. We understand their needs and use our knowledge to provide them with valuable information and excellent service that exceeds their expectations every time.
Q How has the real estate industry in Vancouver changed since you started?
The Vancouver real estate market place has changed significantly in the last 20+ years, including changes in the design and structure of developments being undertaken to meet consumer demand as well as the issues around appropriate density, affordability, accessibility and environmental impact.
This is particularly noticeable in the increase in mixed use developments, developments around transit and the village concept.
In order to best serve our clients we as business advisors must keep on top of and have a good understanding of the changes in the industry. We must help CFOs and their finance teams interpret and apply the accounting guidance and accepted best practices to their current business model, including joint venture entities, phased developments and complex financing models.
Q What advice would you give to young professionals entering the field as well as mid-level professionals trying to reach next level?
Work ethic, ownership and reliability are keys to developing and earning the trust and confidence of those around you in any industry or role. I believe that if you develop a reputation for delivering quality and being reliable and responsible, you will be successful and create many opportunities whatever you do.
I would recommend that you continuously challenge yourself - look for ways to broaden your understanding and knowledge to develop you as a professional; this could be through participating in industry organizations, taking on new or challenging roles or finding a mentor that will help with new opportunities.
It is also key to know when to ask for help, or guidance when you are outside of your comfort zone (although crucial for development to be out of your comfort zone every now and then!)
Q Tell me about your involvement with CREW. How has CREW Vancouver evolved and what was it like in its founding year?
The founding year of CREW Vancouver was busy and chaotic but fun at the same time. It was literally all hands on deck to get the chapter set up and registered as part of CREW Network, attract some sponsors and get organized for our first event. We were all excited and energized to bring this organization to our city.
Over the last 10 years CREW Vancouver has evolved significantly. Its membership continues to grow and its reputation and profile in the real estate community is increasing. This is the result of some strong leadership on the Board but also through “new blood” coming through every year to bring new perspectives to the organization as well as relevant events allowing for timely discussion of current issues and trends.
Q How has your experience and involvement with CREW helped in your personal and career growth?
My experiences with CREW have helped me broaden my understanding of current issues within the real estate industry, both locally and globally. This knowledge I have gained through my involvement on the Board, connecting with CREW membership, attending CREW Network events and informal networking opportunities,
The stories and experiences shared between the people I have met through CREW have created lasting friendships and valuable business connections that I can reach out to at any time. Also, through my participation on the founding Board of CREW Vancouver, I was fortunate to connect with an individual who has been a mentor to me since this time. Her advice and guidance has been very influential over the years
Q Where would you like to see this organization go in another 10 years’ time?
I would like to see CREW Vancouver continue to be seen as a relevant, credible, leading organization in commercial real estate in Vancouver and to strengthen their membership with ongoing commitment to the quality of events and education.
I truly believe that there is a need for this organization in the Vancouver marketplace to attract more young women into the real estate industry and provide opportunities for experienced individuals and young professionals alike, to meet and share knowledge.