This week’s guest blog is written by Georgina, who is an associate in Audit from the Milton Keynes office who recently joined us in August 2014. Not long ago, she attended a close-out meeting with a client alongside the rest of the audit team to conclude all the findings that she’d discovered whilst out on the audit. Georgina tells us more…
The success story of associates taking the lead and showcasing their talents to clients; Where do I begin?
It all started at a lovely client in St. Ives. Tempted by their dessert fridge and helping with food tasting – audit work was also completed within the given time. The panic sank in on Friday – the last day of the audit where the managers and partner of the client were out on site – the mad rush to complete the work on time and have the file looking spic and span for review.
Then, half an hour before the scheduled meeting with the FD, finance team, along with the partner, senior manager and assistant manager from Grant Thornton, and of course, the associates who worked on the job…that’s when the bombshell landed – “Why don’t you all present your findings from the sections you worked on to the client? We can sit back and watch – this will be a great opportunity for you!”
As you can imagine, being an A1 only working for Grant Thornton for around 6 months and I have to now stand up and do a presentation of my work, and try and tackle any questions thrown at me. If that wasn’t enough, we had found an audit finding which perhaps would have come as a shock to the client – working primarily on the wages section of the file, a confidential and sensitive subject as it is! Coming from a person who has never been great with confidence and presenting to large crowds, or in this case, some very important people – I was extremely nervous!!
The in-charge co-ordinated the meeting – in the 10 minutes we had to plan – delegating tasks left right and centre trying to pull this off. Every team member pulled together and presented their findings confidently, answering some very direct questions from the FD himself.
And if you hadn’t already guessed, it was a huge success!
The partner and manager were full of praise! Not only did we work as a team, from a personal point of view I had managed to consolidate my knowledge of my audit work, and demonstrate this. Though I thought my eyes were a little shifty, it was very comforting to hear that the FD would not have been able to tell I was the most junior member of the team having worked for Grant Thornton for the shortest amount of time.
This blog has been written to encourage more and more audit teams, internally, to have mini close out meetings with clients on the last day on site. It not only updates the client on where the team are at, but also strengthens client relationships and confidence that the teams know what they are doing. It builds confidence and highlights that a true team effort is needed when doing audits, and everyone is readily available to help each other on their sections if needed.
This was an incredible experience to be able to have as an A1, and I will push for these in other teams with other clients. Going forward, having presented my findings I know I can handle direct questions about the testing I have completed because I know exactly what I am doing and why I am doing it. It will benefit me hugely in my development within audit as I progress and continue to learn.