Partner's portal


Leo Sarmento
3 min readDec 20, 2021
A new portal to replace an old tradition

Big Four: that's a the nickname used to refer collectively to the four largest professional services networks in the world, consisting of the global accounting networks Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC and KPMG (according to wikepedia). The Big Four each offer audit, assurance, taxation, management consulting, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services to their clients. A significant majority of the audits of public companies, as well as many audits of private companies, are conducted by these four networks.

Definitely not a workplace for the faint of heart. But for those who persevere and dedicate their life and become a partner of one of these companies, there's a huge trade-off: profits participation in multi million dollars accounts and a fantastic retirement plan. It's understandable that once you become a partner you wish to keep real close tabs on your numbers and equity in the company.

The challenge

Until 2019, before the covid-19 pandemic strikes, there was a tradition at KPMG. On the last day of the fiscal year, the chairman would give his keynote to a room filled with all 200 partners, anxious to what would come next. Soon afterwards a maroon envelope would be hand delivered to each one of the attendees. In that envelope would be a half dozen of sheets of paper summarising their stake in the company.

During the pandemic, this kind of event could no longer happen and in 2020 those documents had to be emailed to each partner in PDF format causing serious privacy and security issues. Anyone could leak them and there was no way to track or identify the source of leak. They needed a safe, private and efficient space to share information with partners only in a personalised and traceable way, fit for 200 partners and one very selected and discrete admin.

The process

The initial 9 weeks of a full double diamond design process with research and discovery, insights and definition, ideation and development, and prototyping and delivery had to be compressed to 2 and half weeks of some IDI's (in depth interviews) and co-creation. These things happens. A lot.

Their product owner and internal developers had already sketched some screens for the portal's system. So that was our starting point. And all the information we needed was concentrated on the future system's admin; the partner's special HR representative. Before this new portal, that was the person responsible for compiling, processing and generating all the partners documents using many different internal systems and spreadsheets. And also clear up any doubts partners would have.

After some IDI's and co-creation sessions, we've sketched a prototype and validated with a couple of partners.

The solution

The initial starting point served as a requirements source. The Ui from previous system we've developed, served as base to our design system. And the constant collaboration with the HR representative guided us to the final Partners portal.

The portal would work for the admin and not the other way around. Instead of having to create and upload a certain type of document each and every year, the system would remind the admin that it's time to give that certain document some attention. It would allow to create a workflow for the creation , review and distribution as some documents needed to go through the chairman or a committee before being sent to partners.

It would serve as a repository for all partner's statutory documentation from that date forward. And would be a 100% secure and private: only the HR representative and partners would have access to the space. Reason why all had to be very intuitive and self explanatory. All documents would be personalised with a watermark identifying the user consulting it so any leaking source could be immediately identified.

Check it out below:



Leo Sarmento

15+ years trying to understand people as an UX Specialist. Let me tell you some stories about my work…