WMN of The Big 4 – Part 1: KPMG

The finance sector has been a field of work that has seemingly been dominated by men for as long as we can remember. However, in recent years the number of women entering the field has significantly increased and we’re now seeing almost equal numbers of men and women taking up a career in finance.
05 July 2023

Photo: KPMG Luxembourg

As good as this may seem, women are still underrepresented in C-level roles, are given fewer leadership positions and within private & equity firms, women account for less than 10% of senior roles. With the growing discussion surrounding gender disparity & the importance of women’s empowerment, we sat with some key female figures working in Luxembourg’s the Big 4, to discuss their roles, their inspiration and what it truly means to be a woman in finance.

Françoise Renard

As an Audit Partner at KPMG Luxembourg with over 25 years of experience, Françoise was the Head of KPMG Luxembourg’s Social Committee until January 2022, when she took over as Head of Corporate Citizenship and Chairwoman of the KPMG Foundation.


What does being a woman in finance mean to you?

In terms of technical ability, I don’t believe there is a difference between men and women. The work we do is based on our knowledge and expertise, being a team player and having good client relationships. However, there are challenges to being a woman in an industry that is predominantly male in leadership positions. I’ve learned that being yourself and being authentic is important in your role. You must recognize the strengths you have, both professionally and personally, and not be afraid to stay trapped in one mindset. For example, people say that being empathetic isn’t a good trait, especially in my field. I soon realised that this trait is crucial to maintaining and building relationships, not only with your  clients, but especially your teams and colleagues.

What inspired you to work in finance & how did you get into the industry?

I grew up loving numbers and solving problems. My father was a chartered accountant in Belgium, and I learned a lot about audit and finance from him. Since the age of 16, I knew that I wanted to get into this profession.

What is it like being a woman in a male dominated field?

I think there have been improvements since I started in the industry over 28 years ago. I remember sometimes being the only woman in board meetings. I am happy to see more women in leadership positions, globally and here in Luxembourg.

Is there a woman in your industry that you look to for inspiration?

I’m lucky to have worked with many incredible women throughout my career. When I became a manager and senior manager at KPMG, I worked closely with one partner – Corinne Nicolet – who taught me a lot not only about auditing, but also soft skills like assertiveness. I admire her for being the high-level expert in auditing in the insurance sector. This experience has helped me become the leader I am today.