Why London?

I grew up near Chester and spent my university years in Bristol. I’d always been intrigued by the idea of living in London but wasn’t sure if I could put up with the fast paced lifestyle and terrible tube journeys. Getting a place on the six-week summer internship at Grant Thornton gave me a chance to try out London living and see if it was for me. I had a fantastic six weeks and it was decided – I was moving to London!

Of the Spilling the Beans team, I am the only one based in London. Although there are disadvantages as well as advantages, I wouldn’t have it any other way. However I think that I, along with many other people, might have some misconceptions about what working life is like in other cities. I was intrigued to find out about life in the regional offices of Grant Thornton, the rest of the team certainly seem happy enough! So I decided to write a blog about London and ask someone else in the team to write a blog about life in the regions. Nick decided to accept the challenge…

Easily the worst part of living in London is the daily commute into work. The stifling, packed tube does not set you up well for the day’s work and if you get the train then the advantage of fresh air and mobile phone signal tends to be coupled with the disadvantage of erratically timed trains which turn up if you’re lucky. It’s a Londoners favourite complaint and many people’s reason for not wanting to live in the capital. Having said that, I don’t know of any other city with such a fantastic transport infrastructure which (when it’s working) makes it really easy to get around.

London is considered by many to be the cultural centre of the UK. With West End theatres on your doorstep, some of the UK’s best museums, fantastic restaurants and bars and plenty of gig venues you are never short of something to do.

Cost of living is obviously much higher in London than in other parts of the UK. In fact my rent is almost double what I was paying in Bristol (although admittedly the house has slightly less of a student feel i.e. no peeling wallpaper and dry rot!). However, salaries in London are inflated to compensate and I find that I can live comfortably as long as I don’t eat out too often!

Grant Thornton is well known as a firm which gives its trainees responsibility early on in their careers. The clients are large enough to be interesting but the firm is small enough that even in the London offices we get responsibility and contact with clients from day one. London is one of the financial centres of the world and working for a financial services firm based here gives you access to some of the most interesting and exciting clients.

As the London offices (there are two, one in Euston and one in Finsbury Square) are the biggest of Grant Thornton’s offices in the UK they take on a large number of trainees each year. This means that you join the firm with a large group of people in a similar situation to you. There is a really good social network amongst the trainees and I found that this made the transition from university to work much easier.

Although I love living and working in London, I’ve heard many good things about Grant Thornton’s regional offices so I’m looking forward to reading Nick’s blog and seeing how life in Southampton compares…

(You can find Nick’s blog at http://traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk/2012/02/21/why-i-didnt-choose-london/ and may also wish to look at http://traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk/2012/02/23/london-vs-the-regions-the-final-word/, http://traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk/2013/09/11/home-or-away-the-big-decision/ and http://traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk/2013/05/13/location-location-location/)

4 thoughts on “Why London?

  1. avatarak371

    Hi Lucy,

    I had a telephone interview for Corporate Finance and was asked what the London office specifically does. I had researched the role in general but could not give an answer specifically about London. I have tried to research this since my interview my cannot really find anything about the specific functions at London, and was wondering if you can shed some light on this for me.

    Many thanks for your help.

  2. avatarskw

    Hi Lucy,

    I am applying to the Private Client Tax grad scheme in London. I was wondering if you could shed some light on the type of clients you have and what it is like working in your department?

    Thanks so much.

  3. avatarLucy Post author

    Hi skw

    Sorry for the delayed reply – I only just spotted your comment here. It’s usually better to ask questions on the forum as we check that regularly.

    Our Private Client team in London has now become the Entrepreneur & Private Client team and has around 50 people in it. The clients tend to be high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. We also deal with partnerships (such as law firms and private equity firms) and the partners in them.

    The team as a whole deals with both personal taxes (income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax) and corporate tax although personally I focus on personal tax. This does mean though that we get a real variety of work and our clients are often very interesting people with interesting tax affairs. We do a small amount of compliance work (completing tax returns) but we focus on advisory work – this involves , amongst other things, meeting with clients, preparing reports and presentations and researching tax legislation and case law.

    The number of graduates we take on each year varies. This year we had two. Some graduates take ATT followed by CTA and some do ACA.

    Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions!

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