One of the Associate Directors within the Tax team in Birmingham, shares their thoughts on the Grant Thornton or Big 4 dilemma…
As the title race is now all but over and England’s cricketers have finished their winter tours, the countdown to the first golfing major of the year, The Masters, has begun. One topic has been the source of most of the debate in our house: Rory McIlroy, and his change of clubs. For those who aren’t into their sport, the world’s (now former) number one golfer has dispensed with the Titleist clubs that have been in his bag throughout his rise to the top and signed a very lucrative contract with sporting giant Nike, with mixed results. During the discussion a word very popular in forum questions kept coming up: Money!
When applying for a role as a trainee for a professional services firm, I’m sure many will apply for more than just the one firm in the hope that they will secure a position with at least one. The obvious comparison that is often made about Grant Thornton and other firms is usually up against the Big Four. However, with graduate and school leaver positions available at mid-tier firms, maybe this is a comparison which is often overlooked.
When I first decided that I wanted to work within professional services, I trawled the internet for all the national firms which offered the opportunity to start on a pre-determined graduate support role with a training contract. Having worked in a small firm of accountants in my hometown during my placement year from University, it had become clear to me that I wanted to work for a large, national firm, with international scope. The next step was deciding which one I wanted to work for.
As a Grant Thornton trainee at a careers event, the one question that I can guarantee I will be asked is ‘why Grant Thornton over a Big 4 firm’?. I was asking myself exactly the same question when I was at uni and thinking about my career. Choosing the firm that I started my career with was a big decision and one which I needed to carefully consider.
I remember when I was making my decision that the Big Four firms had so many perceived benefits. They offer early specialisation, a large graduate intake (often 800 to 1,000 trainees) and they were highly recognised by my peers due to the amount of time they spent on my campus. These benefits were difficult to ignore when other friends from university were starting to land jobs with members of the Big 4.