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When wading through my summer internship applications, one key element I sought for before committing to applying came in the form of a simple question…where do I see this industry in 30 years’ time? After all, why would anyone settle into a career that’s inevitably going to reach a dead end in the near future?
Tax definitely raised concerns for myself, as it may do for many of you. Throughout the last two decades, technological advancements have been exponential; with alarm bells ringing in the heads of tax consultants worldwide, based around one sole issue – Automation. However, upon starting my 6 week internship in the Entrepreneurial and Private Client Tax department at Grant Thornton, I almost instantaneously realized that in fact, automation isn’t a concern at all. If anything, it’s just a catalyst for new opportunities. I thought I’d write a quick article as to why my views have changed, and hopefully encourage a lot of cautious individuals out there that a career in Tax at Grant Thornton is one that’s far from short lived…
The Tax landscape is changing. Countries’ global interdependence is continuing to grow by the day, with the reliance on updated tax legislation and advice rapidly accumulating.
Quite clearly, it hasn’t gone un-noticed that computers are much better equipped to handle the computation side of things. So where does that leave the Industry? Broadly speaking, Tax can be split into two branches, tax compliance and tax advisory. Compliance is essentially the process of reporting past transactions, whereas tax advisory involves planning for the future. Both are key to the functioning of the industry, but the latter is one thing computers just can’t handle.
Even upon receiving my Invitation to visit Grant Thornton for an Experience day, I was shocked as to how many different avenues of tax there were. From VAT, to Corporate Tax, to Real Estate Tax, there’s such a diverse array of teams, expressing just how complicated the current system is – and highlighting the need for effective tax advisors. In my opinion, the industry is shifting towards an Advisory dominated background, making it a very exciting time to be delving deeper and getting involved.
Back in 1989, Margret Thatcher introduced a Poll Tax in Scotland, England and Wales. This is a fixed tax on everyone in society. Despite being told the tax could result in people sleeping rough, she proceeded to implement it. Soon after, she lost her job. This is such a critical example as to how a uniformed individual can create political instability and economic depression, all through not receiving accurate tax advice. Grant Thornton does some great work in advising the central government on their tax policies, and through continuing to do so, are keeping the economy afloat.
The tax industry isn’t sinking, it’s evolving. The need for effective tax advisors is more crucial now than ever before, and with Brexit on the horizon, and with huge tax reforms recently in the U.S, who knows what’s to come next.
I’ve loved my short period of time here at Grant Thornton, and I’m glad I didn’t let the naïve perceptions of society stop me from putting myself out there and applying for that internship position. Keep an open mind, and you’ll be surprised of what you can achieve at the firm in such a short space of time. After all, as quoted by the great Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes”.
By Harry Baker – Summer Intern
I am now over halfway through my internship at Grant Thornton and have also previously worked at a small regional accountancy firm. Some of you may have had previous work experience or a part-time job at a smaller accountancy firm and may want to know how this is different to working at Grant Thornton, so I have made this list below of my 5 main differences:
Grant Thornton provides services for large, fast growing clients. I have attended meetings and completed work for large international businesses. During your internship, you will get to see first-hand the complex challenges that large businesses face and how there are more potential hazards for international businesses.
This means you get to work with lots of people from a diverse range of backgrounds and benefit from a vast breadth of experience. Although I found the size of the office and team a bit intimidating at first, everyone is genuinely really friendly and welcoming and always happy to help with anything.
More opportunity to specialise
At Grant Thornton, I joined the Indirect Tax team which is a specialist service that I would never have been able to do at a smaller firm. I am finding this area of tax to be extremely interesting and to be a lot more intrinsic to business transactions than I had first thought. Grant Thornton as a whole offers a wide variety of services so you may be able to learn more about an area you weren’t that familiar with previously!
Lots of new joiners
When I joined Grant Thornton so did over 100 other intern and placement students. This is great as you can meet lots of people in the same position as you and share your experiences. You will get the chance to network with everyone at events such as the National Intern Conference and at various enjoyable social activities.
When you join (if not before) you will probably hear a lot about this, and understandably so. You’ll spend a couple of days over in the beautiful manor in High Wycombe. With insightful workshops, great food and very nice accommodation, your visit to Bradenham Manor will be an enjoyable one and it is definitely another perk of working at Grant Thornton!
Working at a smaller accountancy firm is a great way of gaining an overview of the industry as a whole, but I have experienced more and gained more skills at Grant Thornton. I am having an amazing time here as I believe you all will when you join!
Written by Laura Jackson – Tax Intern
Hi I’m Sam and I’m an audit intern in the Manchester Office. I’m now four weeks into my internship and I am really enjoying it so far. The intern conference at the start of the internship inspired me to get the best out of my experience as we had many great presentations from partners and most notably the CEO Sacha Romanovitch who was very impressive talking about the vibrant economy and Grant Thornton’s culture.
In this blog I wanted to give an idea of what it’s like being out at a client site on audit. Having also spent some time in the office which is a relaxed environment that is easy to work in, for me what has been great is being out at client sites as well. It has been a great experience working as part of a team. Work is very enjoyable when everyone is sat around a table working on the same project and it’s good to be able to hear what parts of the audit people are working on so you can build up a picture of the audit as a whole. Being on a couple of audits for a full week each has meant I have had the opportunity to understand how a business can be made up of many different holding companies within the group and how a company develops a product, sells it, and delivers on the sale for example. This has been really fascinating and a great learning experience for me as I study history at university and had little knowledge of business before I started.
The chance to be able to speak to the client is also a great opportunity to understand the business and has really improved my personal confidence from being able to negotiate an unfamiliar situation. Each team that I have been on has had a different atmosphere and I’ve learned the importance of adapting your personality and the way you communicate to suit the team that you are in. In a large lively team you might have to be more extroverted and contribute more to fit into the team whereas in a team with some quite naturally quiet people you might need to be slightly quieter yourself and encourage others to engage in conversation. Working in teams has made me realise how you need to adapt to suit the situation and most of all I’ve found it’s enjoyable to work with lots of different people and get to know them on a personal level.
Adapting your personal style was something we talked about during a couple of days at Bradenham during our presentation workshop which was also eye opening as we learnt that when speaking it’s your body language and tonality that matter the most with the actual words that come out of your mouth being of very little importance. This surprised me and the internship is helping me develop my personal skills a lot which is not something I necessarily expected at the start. So I would say the thing that I have enjoyed the most and I have learnt the most doing on my internship is working in teams at a client because you really learn to communicate well with colleagues and are immersed in the client’s business meaning that you learn very rapidly.
By Sam W Cressey – Audit Intern