The next Six Nations game is not until the 26th February but we have good news: to make the wait easier and keep up the spirit, we decided to recreate our own Grant Thornton Six Nations tournament.
Up until March 19th we will run a series of Q&A blogs with some willing volunteers from a variety of Grant Thornton UK offices, ranging from Cardiff, Glasgow, and London Finsbury.
To allow you to compare and contrast trainee experience across the UK, the Spilling the Beans team has asked the 4 trainees identical questions. The replies we got have been fascinating …every office has its own little quirks, rituals and ways of working, yet what seems to be the common theme is our culture and our values. See for yourself what we mean!
Just in time for the Wales vs. France game next week, we start with the Cardiff office and Hannah.
Hannah, are you a rugby fan and do you have a favourite rugby player?
I went to watch the Wales vs. Scotland match last weekend, which I really enjoyed. The Six Nations are always a good day out, and even better when there is such a friendly atmosphere between the Welsh and Scottish, bring on the next game against France!
Let’s start with the simple questions first…tell us about you and why you chose the Cardiff office?
I studied at Swansea University, completing both an BSc Mathematics and Management Science and MSc Mathematics and Computing for Finance, before graduating in 2014.
In my final year of university I decided to apply for Grant Thornton, Cardiff to work within the audit team. This was due to me carrying out a week’s work experience one summer and really enjoying the vibe within Grant Thornton. After passing the interview I started in August 2014 within the Public Sector Audit team. The application process was really straightforward: I applied to Grant Thornton in the January, had both my telephone interview and assessment day within a few days of each other in the April, and got offered the job the day after the assessment day.
Shortly after starting the graduate role, I went to Kaplan college in Cardiff to start my ACA training. I attend college with other trainees within my year from commercial audit and advisory, along with trainees from other local firms which makes it enjoyable and sociable.
Could you describe your office, what makes it special?
Grant Thornton Cardiff is a smaller office with around 70 staff, which makes it very personable and friendly. It allows you to get to know everyone in the office, and at events such as the Christmas party, gets everyone together!
The PSA team in Cardiff consists of around nine of us, but we work closely with the Bristol office on similar clients, and they have a much bigger team.
I also feel that Grant Thornton encourages a good work life balance, whilst also offering great opportunities. We have an office social committee and try to arrange events throughout the year to get everyone together, as most of the audit teams are usually working off site. This can be anything from a night of bowling, to go-karting to our annual Christmas party!
What are the career opportunities on offer post-qualification?
Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant opens many doors, be that remaining in practice and working your way up the ladder within the department, gaining new experiences from changing departments within the firm, or going into industry to work in a financial role.
As Grant Thornton is one of the larger accountancy practices, it offers a wide range of different services, and opportunities to get involved with.
Being a trainee in your service area
What is a ‘typical day’ for a trainee and are there any other exciting opportunities you can get involved in?
A typical day usually consist of a few of our team working from a client site to perform our audit work. We have three clients in Wales – public sector audits are usually for longer periods than commercial audits, where we can have 2/3 weeks of interim audit, followed by 4/5 weeks final accounts audit.
Recently I started a secondment in Advisory, which has allowed me to gain experience in both Corporate Finance and Recovery & Reorganisation. Even though it is completely different to PSA, I am really enjoying seeing a totally different side, and enhancing both my network and skills.
Grant Thornton are very encouraging, and as well as gaining secondment experience, I have been involved with Business Development, the ICAEW student society and corporate fundraising activities.
Grant Thornton as a whole
Do you collaborate with other GT offices (UK and abroad)? If you could do a secondment, which GT office would you choose and why? Would it be any of the Six Nations?
PSA Cardiff and Bristol, including the hub offices (Exeter, Truro, Tewksbury etc) act under ‘Severnside’ and therefore work closely together.
I am currently on secondment to a different department, but within the same office, so I am looking into setting up a short term secondment in Australia for 2017. I really enjoy getting involved with other offices, and at our training centre, Bradenham Manor, I have had the chance to meet people from across Scotland, England, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.
Grant Thornton also organises an annual football tournament, which is open to everyone to attend, and is hosted by the winning team of the previous year. So this year it looks like we may be off to Glasgow for the weekend!! This is a really good weekend to see people from across the UK that you have previously met on introduction and training days, whilst also meeting new people.