Ramona Dzinkowski is a freelance business journalist

As newly appointed director in charge of root cause analysis for KPMG’s ethics and compliance, risk and control evaluation and remediation department, Monica Young FCCA aims to apply her compliance consulting experience to help the firm build and maintain a best-in-class internal compliance programme.

Young started out in audit in Romania, but quickly moved into forensic services, with a focus on bribery and corruption investigations.

‘I was always digging into things when something didn’t look right’

‘Early on I was told I have a forensic mindset,’ she says. ‘I was always finding the mistakes and digging into things when something didn’t look right. I was very sceptical of explanations. Then a lot of my projects involved helping companies prevent bribery and corruption – building their internal controls, policies, procedures, training and detection systems.’

Compliance is very connected to investigative anti-fraud work, she explains. ‘You have to be a forensic investigator at the core to really understand how to help clients mitigate those risks.’

But Young wasn’t always driven to be a forensic accountant, and at one time had ambitions to become a judge. ‘I always had a passion for the law,’ she says, ‘which is why I pursued higher education in that area as well.’

‘Forensic accountancy suited the way I think’

Perfect mix

Forensic accountancy seemed an ideal mix for her of economics, accounting and law, she says. ‘I found that this combination suited the way I think. That made me happy and gave me a real sense of purpose in my work.’

Young credits her mother with encouraging her to study economics at university as a follow up to her high school studies, which in Romania, unlike in Western school systems, had a set accounting curriculum. ‘I’ve been doing accounting since the ninth grade,’ she explains, ‘so accounting was a significant part of my core education.’

After all this education, why then continue on with an ACCA Qualification? ACCA is well known in Romania, says Young, and very well respected in the economics and accounting professions; a lot of her peers went on to do the ACCA qualification. Also, because it’s not tied to a specific country, it would provide opportunities for international work. ‘Having that accreditation made it very attractive to me,’ she says.

The global nature of the qualification has always supported her career, she explains. For example, during her nine years in the US, Young has become known as the professional with the international accreditation. At one point, she was seconded to a KPMG client as its global compliance head for anti-bribery and corruption.

‘Because I had the ACCA qualification and overseas experience, I was the go-to person for everything that was IFRS-related or investigations involving financial statement fraud in non-US countries,’ she says. ‘The certification helped me tremendously.’

‘It’s important to be bold in your career. I packed two suitcases and just moved’


Director in charge of root cause analysis – Ethics & Compliance – Risk and Control Evaluation and Remediation Department in USA (from 2023); director of forensic risk services in USA (2018–23); manager of forensic, risk and compliance advisory in USA (2014–18); assistant manager in forensic services advisory in Romania (2011–14)

E&Y Romania
Consultant in fraud investigations and dispute services (2010); financial audit associate (2008–10)

Banca Comercială Română
Corporate assistance administrator (2008)

Ambition’s path

Young earned her forensic stripes with EY in Romania, but to advance her career, moved to KPMG Romania in 2011 and to KPMG in the US, based in Chicago, in 2014. It’s important to be bold in your career, she says. ‘I packed two suitcases and just moved. Even though I didn’t have any family or friends in the US, it was the right thing to do for my career.’

Today, this is one of the key recommendations she makes for young professionals looking to advance their careers: be bold and be brave. For women looking to advance in the Big Four, she has five suggestions:

  • Put in the effort, whether with work, continuous education or networking.
  • Try to create a brand for yourself, including a reputation for doing high-quality work or for being an expert in areas that are niche.
  • Seek mentors and sponsors, and also support other women with their career growth.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want: be bold.
  • Never compromise on quality and integrity.

After nine years in the US, Young is certainly no longer alone. She’s married to a US citizen and has a two-year-old daughter. While her roots will always be in Romania, the US is now her place. ‘I’ve made a lot of friends here and of course have my American family,’ she says.