It’s been a long, long time since I last wrote a blog, and although really I have no excuse it has been a whirlwind six months. I’ve just spent some of my lunch reading a blog written by Perry Burton, our head of London Audit, where he pointed out that in life you either get excuses or results, and that even though some excuses may be good, they are never as good as results.
What I’m about to do is write a somewhat reflective blog all about my excuses for not writing one, with the outcome being a resulting blog! Make sense? No? I’ll continue anyway…
The last time I wrote was back in November before I sat what would be the last of my ‘Fundamental’ level ACCA papers. At this time I was busy revising, familiarising myself with one of Ipswich’s newest clients by performing interim procedures, receiving letters from solicitors and banks and juggling all the other tasks that come with buying your first home, and only on moving day did I actually get around to doing any packing.
Exams over and all moved out, I then had almost three weeks off for Christmas recharging my batteries and learning how not to burn the house down, how not to give myself and my boyfriend food poisoning and all the other things that come with moving out for the first time.
Fun chill-out time over and I bounced into January onto my first audit of the year down in London at Smithfields meat market working on one of the traders in the market. Happily, I’ve now done my fair share of stock takes for this client so I didn’t have the joy of counting carcasses and indeed the closest I came to any meat was when discussing the value of a cow with one of the butchers at the end of their morning of trade before they’d changed out of their bloody uniform. Who said audit wasn’t glamorous?
That audit was soon over and then came the first big challenge of the year. With our new client, who I mentioned earlier, came the enormous task of completing a tricky first year audit to an extremely tight deadline of 31 March. Working as part of a growing, dynamic business like Grant Thornton means that not only do we get the chance to build relationships with long term clients, but our talented partners are also constantly winning a string of new clients who present with them both opportunities and challenges.
The opportunities are vast; firstly, you have no prior year file from which to work, so it pushes you to make use of your skills and initiative and make the most of what you have already learnt. Secondly, there’s the opportunity to build new relationships and really make sure that we have a satisfied client. Often, when winning a new client there will be things that they were unhappy about with their previous auditor, and as such it’s a great opportunity to grab some easy wins, by simply demonstrating the behaviours that they felt were lacking in their previous auditor. The biggest opportunity with a new client, particularly on a job like this, is that the enormous challenge brings with it the chance for you to hugely develop yourself, and in that sense, these clients can be the most rewarding.
As I say though, this audit was a challenge. On our Spilling the Beans team, we don’t shy away from telling you that, at times, it is tough here. To ensure that we could bring this audit in on time, it involved the team and I not only burning the midnight oil, but also putting in hours on the weekends. As a team though (that team being for the most part three first year graduates, one second year school leaver, myself and a fellow graduate (both of three years) an executive, senior manager and partner) we made it, and we could not have got through it without the support of each other. What I’ve found here at Grant Thornton, is that no matter what your level, background, whether you came straight from college or after university, everyone pulls together and supports one another, and there is certainly no individual thinking, rather we all share in success.
One of the challenges, I feel, of being a school leaver is that you grow in your role just as quickly as a graduate, and so being in my fourth year here I am tasked with just as large a job as the graduates sat beside me. However, those graduates have already qualified whereas I have just started my professional stage exams (which feel like a huge leap from the already difficult fundamental papers I mentioned earlier) and am therefore at the most difficult point in my exam timeline as well as juggling the demands of being the ‘in-charge’ on significant jobs. Whilst this can be tough at times, I feel it can make the job even more rewarding, as any small success feels compounded when you consider what else you are juggling. This forms part of the sense of achievement that I find comes from being a school leaver, as tackling the same exams as the graduates but often at a time when we’re also taking on more challenging work really builds up confidence and pride in our roles.
Anyway, emotional jibberish over, and April brought with it more college as well as another audit with a tight turnaround. This was the fourth year I’d worked on this particular audit, and my second year as the audit ‘in-charge’ so I was treading on more familiar territory, and able to draw upon good relationships I’d already built to ensure that the audit was a success. With this audit signed off by the beginning of May I was left able to focus on my three looming exams, which were all wrapped up by the 10 June.
Out of the abyss, as my friends fondly refer to the dark mysterious place I retreat to during revision madness, and I had the highly anticipated Ipswich Summer Party to look forward to, this year taking place on ‘The Lady Orwell’ (I have to admit it was far less glamorous than it sounds but team Ipswich would agree with me when I say we had fun nonetheless!). Fully recovered from exam celebrations I now have a quiet week in the office before I fly off for a week in Ibiza and Gibraltar, catching up on a tan and a social life.
So… Have I written a blog in the past six months? No, but I’d argue there have been some great results nonetheless; One new house, two more exams in the bag (with three results anxiously awaited on the 1 August), three audits signed off with me being lucky enough to play a key role in each, one new social media coachee (here at Grant Thornton those at the top are being encouraged to embrace social media, and who better to help them do that than us social media savvy associates – so the theory goes), one blog (finally), and one happy auditor looking forward to a fantastic summer ahead.