Tag Archives: Clients

Alex’s Corporate Finance Blog – Part 2

In my previous blog I gave you a brief background to our Corporate Finance team, as well as touching on some of my experiences within Lead Advisory and Public Company Advisory.  As recruitment season is well and truly upon us, I will share some of my experiences hunting for a placement, what I think made me successful and how I have been making the most of the opportunity.

The first point worth mentioning is that your university will probably be pushing for you to apply to as many placements as possible. Whilst this scatter gun approach has some benefits, I would offer a word of caution. In my experience there is often an inverse relationship between quantity and quality of applications.  Applying for fifty placements sounds impressive… Read this post

Being an in-charge at Grant Thornton

“The price of greatness is responsibility” – Winston Churchill

Having now been at Grant Thornton for over a year and a half, one of my objectives this year was to in-charge a small audit before Christmas. So a few weeks ago I had my first in-charge job – objective…Tick!

So OK, being an in-charge is not quite on Winston Churchill’s levels of ‘responsibility’… Read this post

My Story so Far… Life as a January Intake

When I was applying to Grant Thornton, back in September 2010, the January entry route was never my first option. Just like many other final year students, I would have liked to secure a job and start in September straight after graduation.

When it came to accepting my offer, Grant Thornton advised me that there is an option to start in January if I wished. After some consideration, I took up that offer and I have never regretted not starting in September with the rest of the graduates and school leavers…

Read this post

Molly’s Accelerate Diary – August 2013

This month has been a really great one. It’s been hot, there have been barbeques, birthdays, bank holidays (although sadly the last one of the year until Christmas Day – scary!). The month began with me receiving my final AAT result and I am now over the moon to tell you that I am AAT qualified leaving me ready to take my next big step into the world of ACCA. Read this post

Nick’s Diary – March 2013

Ever since I received my exam timetable this January, I’ve been concerned that March would be a draining month. As a trainee studying CTA, the firm sets internal progress ‘link’ exams in order to allow us to practice exam technique and keep on top of the books. These are usually set a month or so apart. In March, I had four.

Read this post

Burning the Midnight Oil…

Work-life balance is one of the key things we all look for when deciding on our chosen career path, but inevitably there are going to be times when you have to miss out on some social pursuits to put in a few extra hours at the office. It is therefore highly appropriate that I write this blog in the office at 9pm, having forgone my usual Thursday ritual of having a beer and watching the darts in order to complete a particularly stubborn section of an audit file.

From the audit side, I’ll give you a realistic perspective of our business cycle. Many of our clients prepare their accounts to a December year-end and require these to be audited before submission to Companies House, usually within 6-9 months of that year-end. With the number of staff in the department broadly remaining the same during the year, do the maths and you can see that the first six months of the year are going to be busy.

With deadlines to meet for clients, ‘busy season’ can mean that the time on the planner for a particular audit (i.e. 9-5.30 time) doesn’t actually reflect the amount of work that needs doing. From experience of a client in a previous year you might know you need to put in some overtime in the evening to get the job done within the allocated time. Or there could be a delay in a client sending you some information, putting you behind and leaving you needing to complete work when you are booked to another client. I’ve particularly found the latter a challenge over the last few weeks and it is a sharp lesson in managing your time well. It is important to prioritise deadlines to ensure you can still deliver to that client when you’re out on-site at another client and need to maximise the time you have.

Of course, as a trainee you also need to set time aside to study during the busy period. Now if you’ve put in over 50 hours at work Monday to Friday you might be wondering where you are going to find the time. Weekends is the obvious answer. There is no getting away from it that when things ramp up you might have to miss out on going to the pub on a Sunday afternoon to fire out some practice exam questions. That’s not to say you can’t make time to catch up with friends and family, again it’s just a case of good forward planning to make sure you can fit everything in. Being able to do this and having more than one focus at once is probably the most important thing I have learnt to do in my 18 months with the firm.

Those in our team who are already qualified often stress to me the importance of preparing thoroughly for your exams and are brilliant when the workload gets too heavy along with college. They’ve been in your shoes and want you to do well, thus the burden of overtime is shared throughout the team to allow you some evenings free to hit the books. It follows that as you take on more responsibility and have passed your exams, you will then do the same for the next group of trainees coming through. This comes back to being able to prioritise to ensure both professional and personal goals are achieved. The camaraderie and sense of everyone pulling together is what gets you through difficult times when it seems you will never get files finished. No footballer wants to score an own goal for their team do they?

The busy season makes you appreciate what a work-life balance actually is, and it isn’t about going home at a certain time every day! We roll our sleeves up when we need to but balance this out in the summer with time away from the laptop, enjoying some good weather and a sense of achievement that we gave it our best effort.

Any comments please post them below or tweet me @GT_Phil

The World of Entrepreneurial and Private Client

Hi, I’m Kirill and I joined the Bristol office as a graduate in September 2011 in the Entrepreneurial and Private Client (EPC) team. I am working towards the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification and have recently sat my ATT exams with my results pending (fingers crossed). Despite the economic climate, EPC nationally is growing at Grant Thornton and we are currently looking for graduates to fill positions in our Oxford office. As a result, I thought I’d share some of my experiences with you to see if my line of work is something you might be interested in.

As the saying goes, there are only two certain things in life: death and taxes. Being a member of the EPC team entails occasionally dealing with both. We help our clients in a variety of ways: assisting with tax efficient disposals of companies and investments, estate planning and safeguarding family wealth, as well as making sure that their current tax affairs are in order.

Naturally, things like that are often obscure to the general public, thus technical expertise becomes of the utmost importance. Grant Thornton’s structured training and development programme helps you to stay on top of fundamentals of the UK tax system and updated on the latest court cases and legislation alike. The EPC field is extremely varied, and one can often find oneself trying to keep in mind a set of tax implications whilst bearing in mind the legal side of things.

As far as the clients go, the EPC team focuses on suppling advice and assistance to a wide range of high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. I have worked on some really interesting cases, including professional athletes and a number of well known celebrities as well as other people with unconventional backgrounds.

It is a common cliche, but there is definitely no such thing as a typical day. Some weeks I find myself working on a single project and sometimes I have to respond to requests from a dozen clients before lunch – anything goes! On a few occasions I have been involved in research for tax publications in national media about new legislation – it really shows that the work we do in our department is of universal interest!

If you’d like to know anymore about my department or the type of work I do, please feel free to comment below and the Spilling the Beans team will be happy to help. Otherwise, happy applying!

Location Blog Special – Oxford

Hi, I’m Matthew and I work in the Employer Solutions team at the Oxford office.

The Oxford office is part of the Thames Valley region, which also includes the two Reading offices. There are around 115 people in Oxford and 100 in Reading, with around 17 graduates joining the two offices each year.

The Oxford office is situated in Oxford Business Park, which is south of the city and is on a good bus route. There is a Tesco’s and M&S within a few minutes’ walk, which is handy!

We have many technology companies as clients in Oxford and there are a lot of Oxford university spin-out companies. As well as this, we have AIM listed, land and property, not for profit and investment companies as clients.

We offer a range of services in the Oxford office. As I am in the Employer Solutions team, my work involves offering clients share schemes, employment tax advice and advice for expatriates who have either come to the UK or work abroad. There are seven people in my team in Oxford with a further two in Reading. Other teams in the office are Research & Development, Corporate Tax, Personal Tax, Financial Planning, Audit and VAT to name a few.

The Oxford office has a number of events during the year, including Summer and Christmas parties. Last year’s Christmas party was in the Randolph ? probably the top hotel in Oxford for a three-course dinner with burlesque entertainers. There are also a few away days spread throughout the year where we will have meetings in various locations, for example, in an Oxford college. A few years ago, the office went to Brussels for the day! There are also social events after work that are subsidised by the office. A month ago we went punting followed by dinner. Fortunately, it was on one of the few days it didn’t rain!

The cost of living in Oxford is quite high, but it does depend on the area. Cowley is a very popular choice since many students live there, which makes it livelier than others, and is a little cheaper. Whereas, Summertown is often regarded as the top place to live! However, wherever you live, there are generally good bus routes in to the centre which makes it very easy to meet up with friends and there is a plethora of pubs to try!

Once qualified there are many opportunities within Grant Thornton to try something different. People go on secondments to other offices such as London or to different teams. There have also been many international secondments to places such as America, Australia and Brazil! I have visited offices in Qatar and Dubai and am hoping to organise a secondment to Dubai next year.

The Oxford office is a successful office and is helpful and friendly. Oxford is a great place to live and I am proud to be part of it.

Location Blog Special – Southampton

Hi everyone, I’m Nick and I started working at Grant Thornton’s Southampton office in January 2012. Here is my insight into life at Southampton and this office.

The Southampton office is a stand-alone building, with Grant Thornton taking up the ground, first and second floors with Michael Page and Santander residing on the top two floors of the building. It is home to roughly 90 Grant Thornton employees over several departments – audit, tax advisory, recovery & reorganisation, corporate finance, corporate restructuring, accounts preparation and our personal tax compliance unit. The office is managed primarily by two audit partners who both have a personal approach and strong leadership.

The audit department is approximately 30 people strong, with around 20 people making up the trainees. In tax, the department is smaller and we currently have only two trainees (including myself) increasing to three in January.

In terms of yearly intake, the Southampton office takes on one tax graduate, around three audit graduates and three school leaver programme trainees between September and January. Therefore trainees often start with others in the same boat and this particuarly helped me in finding my feet and getting adjusted to the environment with my freshly faced colleagues.

Southampton has a city has strong industries in property, travel, shipping, retail and logistics. Therefore, we have many clients working in these areas. However, as Grant Thornton tends to focus its strengths on client size rather than client type, you can expect to see a wide range of client type being serviced by the Southampton office. This includes a wide range in geographics too, as a few members from the audit team get the opportunity to fly to California once a year to complete the audit of a subsidiary UK-based client.

The city of Southampton itself has a immersive history as it is one of Britain’s oldest cities. The historic walls entwine with the high street which boasts West Quay, one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK. Being on the south coast, it is ideal for seafarers and has two great venues in Portsmouth and Bournemouth just only 30 minutes drive away. On Southampton’s doorstep is the New Forest, a preserved national park which is the only place I’ve ever seen wild horses roaming the fields. It offers a great location for a chilled out Sunday picnic.

As Southampton has two Universities, you can expect to see an accommodating and diverse nightlife scene, and for the more quiet Saturday nights, the city is able to offer some of the best restaurants in the South, with a wide range of independently owned cultural restaurants. There are also plenty of gig venues, where you can see headline acts at the historic Mayflower or budding rockstars in smaller venues. There seems to forever be developments and planning going on around the city which will only add to a greater social environment for the out-going trainee.

I made the lengthy relocation from Portsmouth to Southampton when I started at Grant Thornton and, despite remaining a Pompey fan, I’ve not looked back. My city centre accommodation isn’t too expensive and I have the benefit of a 20 minute walk to work. The office is progressive and constantly growing; the future looks bright for the city and Grant Thornton itself.

Should you have any further queries about the office or the area, please don’t hesitate to query in this blog or contact me through twitter on @GT_NickB.