Real Taxing – Marco’s Guest Blog

Hi, my name is Marco and I started working in the Real Estate Tax team at Grant Thornton on 1 September, having never previously done any accountancy internships, nor studied it at university. Having studied History of Art, I was rather nervous about starting at Grant Thornton as it would see me pick up a calculator for the first time since Maths A Level. Alongside two other graduates who started at the same time as me, I am studying towards the ACA qualification during my training contracts. Some of my initial fears were allayed at the plush introductory event for all new graduates and school leavers nationwide, held in a Hammersmith hotel the week before I started in the office. Talent 14 was designed to truly make you feel a valued member of the firm from day one, and consisted of a motivational after dinner speech from a polar explorer, as well as a whole day of teambuilding exercises and talks from longstanding members of the firm – including Scott Barnes, the CEO of Grant Thornton UK. If anyone had underestimated their achievement of securing a job at Grant Thornton, the speakers instilled a pride and honour for working for Grant Thornton, and made us all extremely eager to start in the office.

From the outset, everyone at Grant Thornton has been extremely friendly and welcoming, appreciating your willingness to learn, and helping you along the way. The hours do take some getting used to, having had four hours of timetabled tuition at university, and I do miss living the student dream in Bristol, but moving back home, and earning some money obviously has its benefits, and I can still visit some weekends to cure my withdrawal symptoms!

My work has entailed tasks such as drafting contracts and letters of engagement, as well as acceptance of assignment forms. I have also had to liaise with HMRC, and worked on a couple of projects collating information for and designing PowerPoint documents and flyers. Within Real Estate Tax we are taking on a vast amount of new work currently, meaning I am never at a loose end, and it’s always all systems go from the minute I walk into the office until I walk out the door in the evening. I still manage to have a good social life outside of the office – and just value the weekends much more than I ever have! In London tax there are twenty new graduates, and we have already been for after work drinks a few times, also meeting in the office canteen, and experiencing the culinary delights of Euston at lunchtimes.

Last week I was fortunate enough to go to our national training centre at Bradenham, which was a great experience, although extremely intense. Breaking Records – the introductory bookkeeping workshop teaches you almost all there is to know about accounts in the space of four days, with a daunting sounding ‘test’ to culminate on the Friday. The tuition was superb, and everyone clubbed together to help each other understand some difficult concepts – and the weather held too so we could play sports on the immaculate lawn at lunch, and at the end of the day.

It was around this time last year that I submitted all my applications for jobs that offered a training contract to study towards the ACA qualification, and was fortunate enough to be offered the position with Grant Thornton just before Christmas 2013. From the position of having gained a 2.1 now, I can say that I even somewhat negated my degree during the first term of Third Year in favour of job applications. Whilst a prospective applicant shouldn’t underestimate the preparatory work for all stages of the application process, Grant Thornton make it as painless as possible. Rejections from firms can be tough to take, my advice would be to take each stage as it comes, and win those little battles – as a job can seem unobtainable at the point of writing your name on that application form – I know I did so with little confidence.

I can’t believe four weeks have flown by, and I feel like the transition has been more seamless than I ever could have anticipated, testament to the friendliness of my team, and the London Euston Office as a whole.

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