Life in Audit: An Intern’s Perspective

Hi all. I was motivated to write this blog so that I can provide a true and accurate reflection of what Grant Thornton is like as a firm, all from the fresh eyes of a current intern. I have just graduated from University and know far too well the confusion of the graduate market and the plethora of information that each company tries to throw at you. I think many of these recruitment marketing campaigns that other companies run are merely lip service and do not reflect the true nature of the company. I hope that by reading my blog you can gain a real reflection on what life is like at Grant Thornton and the great opportunities that you are given to you as an intern. In each blog I write I will also finish with one tip for anyone thinking of applying, so keep on reading!

Firstly, a little bit of background information. I’m Adam, I graduated last week from Durham University studying History and Spanish and have been an intern in the London Euston office for three and a half weeks now. I was very lucky to spend the first portion of my internship on an away job at a sports retailer. I spent my first three weeks working at the HQ which was a great chance to live the life of an auditor. This client is one of Grant Thornton’s biggest clients and the sheer size of the warehouse was overwhelming. The chance to gain access to the financial data of one of the most well-known UK companies was my personal highlight of my time there. It was a gripping time to be at the client due to all of the coverage of the firm in the press and it was a special experience seeing the CEO arrive in his helicopter every day, holding meetings in the room next door to us and also gaining insights from the Grant Thornton partners about him and his highly successful business strategy.

I want to use this blog as a way to debunk some of the myths about auditing and about accountancy in general. Accountancy? Mundane? Like many myths it has been created from baseless foundations and has been perpetuated endlessly within Western society with little discussion over its validity. I was working in a team of 20 and every single person was very outgoing and had interesting hobbies. Every evening we would go out to dinner in a big group and I was able to get to know the whole team really well. Aside from the dinners, another great perk of the job was the accommodation. We stayed at a brilliant four-star hotel with a gym, spa and luxury beds. Most evenings were spent in the bar watching all of the football at the European Championships and it was a perfect way to unwind and chat to the whole team in a more relaxed setting.

One of the great aspects of my Grant Thornton internship has been the amount of contact time with the clients I have enjoyed. I was trusted from day one to discuss issues with the financial controllers of the different entities and I found this a really rewarding experience. The quality of my experience at the sports retail client was augmented further by all the help I got from my team. I asked many questions and every single time I got a lengthy and useful response. Every member of the team, from the managers to the first year associates were always willing to help me out.

One thing that has struck me is the constantly changing nature of life as an auditor. I really enjoy variety in my life and the idea of constantly being in different places really appeals to me. I was based in Chesterfield in a great hotel for three weeks during the Sports Direct job and now am based in the London Euston office for the week. However I have not been stuck at my desk for the week; during this time I have been fortunate enough to attend a meeting with the CFO of a global media company and also spend a day working in the Business Growth Services Division in Finsbury Square.

For my final three weeks I will be based in lots of different locations which I am really looking forward to. I am lucky enough to be attending the Audit and Tax Away Day at the Olympic Velodrome next week and following on from this I have the National Intern Day at the Finsbury Square offices which will be a great way to hear more about the firm’s goals. After that, I have two days at Bradenham College, the residential manor that Grant Thornton owns, which will be spent getting to know my intern cohort and will be full of quizzes and good food. And, in amongst all of these events, I will be based in the offices of a big property investment company by Oxford Circus, helping out with the audit engagement. It is going to be a brilliant last few weeks and I will be writing about all of it in my next blog!

Tip of the Week:

My piece of advice is to really do some research into Grant Thornton and understand the very unique business structure that Grant Thornton is trying to introduce. The Shared Enterprise model is revolutionary when it comes to financial services firms and is a way to increase bottom-up renewal within the firm. You guys, the newcomers, are the biggest victors in this change as it means the associates get a genuine say on major business decisions.

Get excited about the way Grant Thornton goes about their work and read about the way other firms have successfully managed to implement the Shared Enterprise model. Go check out John Lewis’ voting system. Look up Arup’s fantastic work environment. Read up on the US company, Zappo’s, and their dalliance with Shared Enterprise. All of these companies have introduced Shared Enterprise models in some form and will give you a real insight into the type of company that Grant Thornton wants to become. Anyone can write about how X company has a ‘welcoming’ work culture. Do not copy and paste from your other applications; Grant Thornton is different, so get researching!

If you have any specific queries about Grant Thornton or auditing, send me a message! Adam.JA.Telling@uk.gt.com

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