As us Audit interns in Euston started our internship three weeks before those in other offices we thought we would each give a quick insight into what we’ve learnt so far and helpful tips for those who have just started the program or for those thinking of applying in the future.
Make sure that you try and meet as many people as possible when you are on your internship. The more people you meet, the better an idea you get of the firm as a whole working entity and the better you can understand how people around you work. Your experience will also be a lot better if you can ask different people who will give you different methods and viewpoints all of which are really helpful when you are just starting out. Grant Thornton is a friendly company so make sure you are not alone and introduce yourself to others!
Be prepared to be hands on:
Don’t come into the internships thinking that you will just be shadowing another member of the team. The way you learn in audit is from experience and completing tasks so be prepared to dive straight in. In the first week of my internship I had an induction on Monday and on the Tuesday I was sent straight onto a client’s site. I spent the first part of the day working with my team but then spent 3 hours in the afternoon working 1on1 with the client completing a sample. This was very daunting at first but you just have to ensure you have a good understanding of what information you are required to get from the client and your team are always on hand if you need any help.
I am currently 3 weeks into my internship and learnt so much more than I ever thought I would in my entire internship. You are given real responsibility which is something that you won’t get with other companies.
Make the most of your team:
Everybody within your team has been in your position either as an intern, school leaver or graduate. They understand how daunting the process can be and they are there to help you learn the most out of this experience. Be sure to ask questions from anybody in the team, the most recent graduates through to your in-charge will be more than willing to help you and develop your understanding of any areas of the audit. There is no such thing as a bad question!
Make a real effort with your team, ask loads of questions and take on as much responsibility as possible and you will learn more than you ever expected. Your team are there to support you and the people at Grant Thornton are what makes it such a friendly and successful company.
Don’t be intimidated when talking to clients:
This point is often easier said than done, as I know I was nervous the first couple of times I had to speak to a client on my own. However, it is a great learning opportunity, not only because you will find out what kind of information auditors need from clients but it can make you a lot more confident in terms of your own ability. My main piece of advice is to ask someone on your team as many questions as necessary before you speak to the client. That way you can prepare yourself for some of the questions that the client may ask you and can approach them confidently. There is no harm in saying when you do not know the answer to one of their questions and it’s much better than guessing an answer! In that situation I write down their question and offer to ask someone else on my team and get back to them, which shows you are willing to help.
Gain an insight into other divisions:
Be proactive and take the opportunity to learn about other services Grant Thornton provides. For example, if you are working in Audit, you can arrange for a coffee meeting or a work shadowing session with someone from the Advisory and/or Tax department. This is an excellent way to enhance your outlook on professional services, and improves your awareness on the variety of opportunities that are available.
Work shadowing sessions or coffee meetings will only happen if you make a real effort- get in touch with your managers, as well as HR, to put you in touch with the relevant people, and show genuine interest to learn about their work. People at Grant Thornton are always willing to support your development, and so will be happy to meet with you. As a result of such meetings, you may find that your skills set is better suited for a different team, or you may find a division which is more interesting and matches your career ambitions better. How your career maps out depends on your willingness to take on challenges and opportunities, so make the most of your time at Grant Thornton!
Being an intern is fun too!
The people at Grant Thornton are great at organising events throughout the internship and it is essential to take full advantage of this.
Our first event was a pre-joiners event, where we met other interns, graduates and school leavers, alongside GT staff. We got into teams and participated in a marshmallow spaghetti challenge, in which we competed to build the highest structure – my team won! This was a great opportunity to bond with the GT staff and network with peers.
Another major social event was the intern celebratory event, when all the interns from the different offices were down in London. The firm booked a bar for us to meet and mingle in, giving us a chance to hear from other interns from across the country and talk about our experiences in an informal setting.
It is just as crucial to try and participate in non-intern specific events. Things like lunch with your team, office end of month drinks, etc. provide an opportunity to ask them about anything you may not have had the chance to. One of the most surprising things about working in London Audit, for me, was finding out how young most of the team are and how much we had in common. Doing things outside work with them helped to make the job feel like hanging out (and working hard) with friends.