Where have the last few months gone? They say that time flies when yoy’re having fun and my secondment is no exception. I have now been in Australia for seven months and am beginning to feel settled.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a career in tax means that you’re often working to a deadline. In the case of a corporate tax adviser, the end of December is a particularly busy time. Added to the pressure is a Christmas office closure in Southampton which meant it was all hands on deck to get all our work done a week before the actual month-end.
I aim to keep these entries as honest and transparent as possible and, if you’ve read any of my previous entries, you’ll notice I’m a person who thrives on being busy. A quiet day in the office is a bad day for me, but thankfully they’ve been non-existent in December.
The month kicked off with a trip up to London for the 2012 Autumn Statement which was a career highlight for me. A day later and I’m out at a clients working with the audit team to file accounts and returns by the year end. This moving around isn’t something I’m used to but getting your hands dirty and in the mix is exactly what I enjoy.
Halfway through the month there was a brief break as our office celebrated its Christmas Party which saw some 70 members of Southampton staff head out for a curry and a few drinks – a great combo which made for a great night – and a promise of more to come!
The final week in the office was understandably manic and I’ll apologise for the lack of twitter activity! Breaking up on 21 December gave me the chance to have a good chill out and finally use my annual holiday for some non-CTA study time.
As ever Christmas is a great way to clear your head and fill your belly before coming back in the new year. Whilst I still don’t feel like I’ve completely recovered from all the turkey, mulled wine and late nights, I’m looking forward optimistically to 2013.
January is results month for CTA and ATT trainees. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for two exam passes on 22 January – time to see if that hard work paid off!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish everyone a Happy New Year!
Hi, I’m Megan and you first heard from me just over a month ago when I shared my tips on how to stand out from the crowd at assessment centres, it’s been a busy month for us trainees so I thought I’d check-in to let you know what we’ve been up to.
Firstly, in the public sector assurance division we welcomed our new colleagues from the Audit Commission at the beginning of November, it was an exciting time seeing new faces around the office and racing to find a hot-desk in the morning; for me in Bristol it has also most certainly quadrupled my tea round! During the month we all attended a conference “The Best of Both Worlds” at a hotel in Birmingham to get a chance to interact with all of our new joiners and learn what we can take from each other to progress as a unified super-team. As a ‘teambuilding’ experience we were all given instruments (some people had big drums, others maracas, I was stuck with a cow bell to bash at like an infant) and were led by a man that looked remarkably similar to Stavros Flatley into producing a tuneful racket which caused a lot of laughing (and probably some headaches).
Moving on to less exciting notes, many trainees of all levels faced imminent exams, with most at the end of November or beginning of December. As I am a first year CIPFA student I had two exams (Financial Accounting and Management Accounting) to contend with, which I sat in Cardiff. After spending many hours poring over financial statements and budgets I am glad it is all over and can finally enjoy the build-up to Christmas. We will not receive our results until February so for now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and munch on a few mince pies (not to mention the mulled wine).
Now in my fourth month at Grant Thornton I am being given more responsibility and being let loose on clients more frequently than in my orientation period. It has been fun to travel and get out of the office and a great challenge to learn-by-doing whilst producing work of a high standard. As always, other trainees and managers were on hand when I needed to ask questions – of which there were many.
I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. For those who are faced with exams in the New Year good luck but I’m sure you can still fit in a few hours of crying at the John Lewis advert and picking out all the good Quality Streets before anyone else gets to them. I’m looking forward to lounging in my onesie whilst eating leftover turkey and watching a re-run of a film I’ve seen 20 times already. I’ll leave you on that thought…
As I moved into the second month of my Personal Tax secondment I began splitting my time in half between two departments. The variety helps to spice things up and December was a great month to pick out. I managed to get an invite to both the Personal Tax and Corporate Tax department Christmas lunches. To top it off, I and another 80 employees took to the Christmas party which was held over a three course meal and more wine than is necessary.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games, the end of the year is a hectic time for any company, and in terms of tax this is especially true for those with March or December year-ends. As a vast majority of my clients are March and December year ends and I was at full pace for the two weeks running up to Christmas, aiming to beat deadlines and avoid unnecessary penalties.
When 23 December came around, my final day in the office, the action of submitting the last tax return to HM Revenue & Customs was a feeling worth working for. We beat the rush.
Our office closes over the Christmas period which makes for a great chance to recover from the hectic rush. I’ve enjoyed being able to leave the laptop alone, catch up with friends and family as well as keep Mr Kipling in business. It’s been a good ten days.
I ready myself to go back to the office tomorrow morning for my final month in Personal Tax. The end of the month is yet another deadline and it’s all hands on deck to get through it. I feel refreshed and ready for the challenge, so bring it on!
January will also mark my first complete year at Grant Thornton and our office will be taking in another bunch of enthusiastic graduates and school leavers to Tax and Audit. It is farewell to 2011, a great year, but here is to 2012, a year which will hopefully be as memorable as the last.