#Six Nations Series: Scotland. Working in the Glasgow office (insights from a football fan)

Six Nations

Why did you choose the Glasgow office?

Rather uninterestingly the main reason is that I live in Glasgow and I also went to the University of Glasgow. Initially I thought that’s what it boils down to for most people but when I think about my colleagues that’s not always the case. Someone who started as a graduate with me comes from Nottingham and just wanted a change, so there are all sorts of reasons you might choose Glasgow. A lot of it, I reckon, is down to the city itself being an exciting place to live with a vibrant atmosphere, rich history and plenty to do. Our office is right at the heart of it on Queen Street at the corner of George Square. Overall our office is made up of people from all over the UK (our managing partner is from Manchester); as well as secondees from as far afield as Texas. So on second thought, I guess there is a big draw to working in the Glasgow office.

Could you describe your office? What makes it special?

As I mentioned, we are right in the city centre on the top floor of the brand new building at 110 Queen Street. We moved in just before Christmas and I have enjoyed bragging about it since then. The office offers a pretty impressive panoramic view of the city (I can see my flat from my desk) and is a 30 second walk from Queen Street train station which is extremely handy for travelling to and from our Edinburgh office, as well as travelling to clients. It is all open-plan, which is great for getting to know everyone and is very modern with sound-proofed couch areas for catch-ups with your manager and studying. The best thing about the office is probably the client area. It gives a great first impression of our firm. We use it as a venue for our big training days and social events as well. Last Friday was a Gin tasting night and we welcomed the incoming 2016 trainees with a pub quiz the week before.

Aside from being shiny and new, the best thing about our office from my point of view has to be the people in it. You’ll hear a lot of Grant Thornton people giving the same reason and I , being the cynical type, am usually the one to roll my eyes. I physically grimaced when I wrote it – but there is no getting around the fact. Since my internship last Summer the guys have really made me part of the team. Although I applied to audit for the exposure to different client businesses – and I do spend about half my time working all over the place – I do relish my office days.

In July this year about 500 Grant Thornton people from around the UK will descend on Glasgow for the annual 5 aside football tournament. As the defending champs, we have hosting duties and preparations are well under way for what should be a brilliant weekend.

We also benefit from having a great selection of clients to work with, ranging from Whisky distilleries to smaller owner owned-businesses with growth aspirations all the way up to listed companies which is a big draw for me.

What are the career  opportunities on offer post-qualification? 

After qualifying, every door is open. Since joining I have seen the newly qualified members of the team switch to a different department, get promoted quickly to manager level and some have moved into industry to prestigious firms. I expect the same options will be available to me when I qualify.

What is a ‘typical day’ for a trainee and are there any other exciting opportunities you can get involved in?

It’s tricky to pin down a typical day because typically I will be doing something different from one week to the next. That said, as an audit first year in my office I am given a lot of responsibility generally. In Scotland our main client bases are in Food and Drink and Property and Construction and I’ve been lucky enough to work on the audits of both. I have a particular interest in Property and Construction due to their being dynamic and vital businesses and I just had to let the managers to know for them to make sure I was assigned to those clients.

I guess the most typical sort of day would start with me driving to a client premises with the audit team where I would be assigned certain sections of the audit to work on. Six months in, I have worked on most areas of the file, from planning the audit right through to signing the audit report. As part of my work I would analyse the client’s financial information and identify areas where I need to do further work to gain assurance over the figures. Then making use of the training that I’ve received since joining, I would perform audit tests and spend time speaking to the client to respond to the risk that the accounts do not present a true and fair view of reality. All of this would be facilitated by a lot of coffee and snacking.

However, this week I have been office based preparing accounts for a large group company and a couple of weeks ago I was on a plane to Shetland to visit a Salmon farm. Not something I would have imagined myself doing but it goes to show the variety that I’m able to get.

I get involved with as many different things as possible to add variety to my role and increase my opportunities. The main thing I’ve done is probably joining the Spilling the Beans team and it’s a decision that I’m delighted to have made. To be a part of a national team that contributes to Grant Thornton’s image and is on the front lines of recruitment and providing insight on what we do is a huge thrill and honour. I have been able to take a leading role in recruitment for the Scottish offices after having been a Campus Community Manager at the University of Glasgow in my 4th year there. I have hosted an insight evening in my office, taught a first year class at the University and gotten to meet hundreds of people just by getting involved in that. Also, by happenstance I managed to find myself in a high profile public sector audit where I learned the ropes of a different service line for about 2 months.

The next exciting thing I’m going to get involved in through work is a team skydive at St Andrews that I’m doing with some of the guys in the office on the 19th March to raise money for our office charity – The Scottish Association of Mental Health.  I’ll be writing a separate blog about my work in the marketing department and working with Scotland’s top 100 limited companies – look out for that one.

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?

I actually had a funny experience as part of my internship where I was emailing a partner in Cincinnati back and forth about a client – only the back and forth was only once a day because of the time difference. At that time I still worked part-time in Tesco where I only worked with the people who were on the same shift as me so it was a big change to suddenly be dealing with a senior person thousands of miles away as part of my job. There are a few opportunities to work on a client in the United States but I haven’t managed to haggle my way on to that one just yet.

I do fancy potentially seconding abroad when I qualify but I doubt it would be to any of the Six Nations. I’d be looking to go where the Sun is. Maybe Australia…yeah I could do that.

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