Since the Spilling the Beans blog’s incarnation a few years ago, we’ve constantly pushed to develop the site to help it achieve its goal of giving potential trainees an insight into what life is like at Grant Thornton. Two years ago we added a forum, and we were quickly inundated with queries regarding our various offices – clearly it worked and we were starting to learn about what you guys wanted to know about Grant Thornton.
Hi, I’m Priya and an Assistant Tax Manager in the London Finsbury Square office. I joined Grant Thornton at the start of 2012 having previously completed my ACA training contract at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in 2007. More recently, I have worked in the tax team for a market leader in the leisure and entertainment industry. I am currently studying for my CTA exams with Kaplan to complement my ACA qualification and enhance my understanding of the various technical tax issues relevant to my clients.
Over the past few months I’ve found it fascinating to read our series of Location Blogs from guest bloggers around the country. It’s certainly encouraged me to find a way of visiting a few more of the Grant Thornton offices and has made me realise how much I miss my university city of Bristol. Now, however, the baton has been passed to me. It’s the turn of the London Euston blog!
There are two offices based in London, London Euston and London Finsbury. Although they both have the obvious advantage of being based in the capital, the offices themselves are quite different, both in terms of services provided and the general vibe. We’ll be posting a blog on the London Finsbury office next week.
The London Euston office is located right next to Euston station which makes commuting really easy (Euston station is on the Northern and Victoria line and both Kings Cross St Pancras and Euston Square stations are just a couple of minutes walk away). Although Euston itself might not be the most attractive or exciting part of London, it’s only two tube stops from Oxford Street and ten minutes from central London. The proximity to the station means there are loads of places to go for lunch nearby, including Nandos. This is my team’s (and most of the office’s) favourite place to eat, so much so that Grant Thornton employees get a discount on Fridays! The office also has a subsidised canteen which does a good range of sandwiches, salads and hot meals.
We occupy all eight floors of Grant Thornton House (as you would expect!), and the departments based here are mostly Tax and Audit. The teams based in the London Finsbury office tend to be ones like Corporate Finance and Recovery & Reorganisation due to the office’s proximity to the City.
It’s difficult to describe the type of clients we have as there are such a variety of teams in London. Being based in the capital city our clients do tend to be large companies, a lot of them being related to financial services. In my team (Entrepreneur & Private Client) we work for High Net Worth Individuals and Entrepreneurs so we have some really interesting high profile clients.
Last year the Grant Thornton London offices took on 38 trainees in total, 26 in audit and 12 in tax. The large number of the trainees joining in the same intake means you’re in the same boat as a lot of people which makes the change from university or school to ‘real life’ that bit easier. There’s also plenty of scope for social events.
The social activities aren’t restricted to the trainees. Most teams will have social events during the year, for example, my team had a Chinese meal followed by karaoke two weeks ago and on Wednesday there’s a pub quiz. For the whole firm there is also the legendary London Christmas Party. Employees from Euston, Finsbury and Gatwick are invited to this event so there are normally around 1,000 people there. This year the theme was Gatsby Glamour and we took over Vinopolis in London Bridge.
As in all of our offices there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in volunteering. In the past I have taken part in the JP Morgan Challenge (a 5k run in Battersea Park) and I have taught Money Maths to 9 year olds in a local primary school for one hour a week. There are also a variety of sports clubs and other groups such as a below manager networking group.
I will leave it there before the rest of the team accuse me of rambling on about London again but feel free to ask me questions below or let me know if you would like to know something about a specific department.
Hi, I’m Julie and I joined the Belfast office in November 2010. I work in the Corporation Tax department and am just nearing the end of my CTA qualification.
There are two offices in Belfast as our Recovery & Reorganisation service in Northern Ireland is located in its own office. I work in the primary office which is newly built and in the centre of the city, with great views from the tenth floor.
The office I work in has service lines in Corporation Tax, Audit, Corporate Finance, Government Infrastructure Advisory (GIA), Financial Planning, Payroll and VAT. These departments are supported by around 60 members of staff.
The office tends to take on around three to four audit trainees per year, with three from university and one on the accelerate programme. The other departments take on trainees as and when required, usually every couple of years.
We have a huge variety of clients including quarries, car dealerships and beverage distributors so every day is different.
Belfast, being the capital of Northern Ireland, is a lively and exciting place to be. The city is small so it has the benefit of being easy to travel around, you can walk to a lot of places. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the city which make for great nightlife. The social life within the office means that there are plenty of events to get involved with.
If you have any more questions about the Belfast office feel free to post a question below and someone will get back to you.
Liverpool office blog
Hi, I’m Beoley and I joined Grant Thornton in August 2010 as a school leaver in the Liverpool office. The Liverpool office is located on the 4th floor of the Royal Liver Building. Opening in 1911 this is a Grade I listed building sited at the Pier Head and is one of Liverpool’s Three Graces which line the city’s water front, along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building.
Overall there are around 140 Grant Thornton employees working in a range of departments, including; audit, tax advisory, recovery & reorganisation, corporate finance and accounts preparation. A more recent addition to the Liverpool office saw over 40 former Audit Commission staff join us at the end of 2012.
I work in the audit department along with 41 other employees. Typically we work at the client’s premises in teams. The size of the team I work on will depend on the size of the client and can range from one to ten people . We all work as a team and there is definitely a ‘family feel’ in our office with plenty of jokes and laughs. Within the audit department we have a ‘hot desk’ policy meaning that we are not allocated a specific desk, this gives everyone a chance to interact with different staff in the office and build better relationships with colleagues.
We have recently merged with our Manchester office to become the North West office and have a number of clients across the region, even some in North Wales . This means there are many opportunities to travel with work and the occasional away job will mean staying in a hotel for a week or so, so plenty of restaurant dining!
The annual intake is quite large for the size of the Liverpool office; last year we took on both a tax and audit graduate, four school leavers and a 12-month intern. Recruiting a number of trainees in the same location at one time is a great way to make new friends and makes starting a new job a lot easier by knowing that there will be other people in the same boat, so there is no need to worry about settling in.
After qualification there are countless opportunities. A number of our executives have recently been promoted to Assistant Manager and then a further two have been promoted to Manager after holding their Assistant Manager positions for a year. There are also secondment opportunities available both to other departments in the UK or to Grant Thornton offices abroad. One of my colleagues has recently been out in Australia for three months, whilst another has seconded to our Cardiff office to work in their Forensic Investigations department. The world is your oyster at Grant Thornton!
Socially there is always something to do in Liverpool, be it our monthly drinks night, the theatre, ice skating, concerts and days out (the list is endless). We also take part in the annual football tournament (might I add the Liverpool girls team won this year) whereby each office goes head to head to win the title and a trophy. As a ‘thank you’ we also have summer BBQ’s, pizza and wine evenings and away days including trips to Alton Towers. LCASA (Liverpool Chartered Accountants Students Association) and MYP (Merseyside Young Professionals) both hold events such as the annual ball, quiz nights and karaoke.
Outside of work there is plenty of choice for shopping enthusiasts with Liverpool One, The Met Quarter and Cavern Walks within a five minute walk from the office; this is a great way to spend your lunch time or after work. There are also plenty of exciting places to eat and drink and always an opportunity to go out with work colleagues for birthdays or any other celebrations we can think of!
Should you have any further questions about the office or the area, please don’t hesitate to comment on this blog or contact me through twitter on @GT_Beoley.
Hi everyone, I’m Alex and I’ve recently started working at the Birmingham office.
We relocated to brand new offices in Colmore Plaza in 2012, located in the centre of the city, next to Snow Hill Train station and a couple of minutes’ walk from the Bull Ring shopping centre. We occupy the top two floors and have a great view of Birmingham City Centre.
We have over 300 staff in the office after recently taking on around 70 new employees from the Audit Commission.
There were 18 new trainees in August 2012, with a mix of graduates and school leavers, studying a range of qualifications including ACA, ACCA, CIPFA and AAT.
We generally take on graduates in Audit, Tax and occasionally Employer Solutions. In August 2012 we employed 18 new starts, including two in tax, five in Public sector audit and 11 in Corporate Audit. Composed of 12 graduates and five school leavers.
Also, we took on six interns in Summer 2012, who were all offered a position and five accepted.
Within the Birmingham offices there are certainly a host of opportunities after qualification, with a number of service lines operating here; including Forensic Accounting, Employer Solutions, Corporate Finance and Tax. Trainees will have the opportunity to second to one of these areas for six weeks during their training contract.
You will also get the chance to work with a diverse range of clients including a number of AIM listed PLC’s. Generally clients are situated in the UK but we also serve clients in New York, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and France.
In the office we have a popular social club, with events occurring regularly. We recently had a great night out at the Jam House in Hockley and a Crystal Maze event in the office with team challenges and free drinks, not forgetting the Christmas party at Birmingham City Football Club. In addition to this there are sporting events including five-a-side football and a golf tournament.
There are also a number of external events with different firms in the region including solicitors and recruitment agencies, set up by the student society BCASS including drinks events, an annual ball and a football tournament
Birmingham is also a great place to live and certainly does not live up to the stereotype. The city is currently undergoing significant redevelopment, which has the aim of making Birmingham one of the 20 most liveable cities in the world. Birmingham also has the second largest economy in the UK and recently we have seen a surge in the openings of independent bars and restaurants, which complement the many large chains that operate in the city.
Selfridges shopping centre
Living costs are very reasonable with flats available in the centre (near the two large train stations) for affordable prices.
Birmingham is a great place to work and the culture here at Grant Thornton is fantastic. I hope I’ve convinced you to apply to our office and please don’t hesitate to contact me or add me on LinkedIn if you have any further questions.
Hi I’m Chris, I joined Grant Thornton around two years ago as a school leaver in what is now the Reading IQ or Winnersh Office. Reading IQ is part of the Thames Valley unit with the Oxford office.
The Reading IQ office is part of the Winnersh IQ Business Park which is located just outside Reading off Junction 10 on the M4 and is home to approximately 80 staff members over 3 main departments ? GCOS (Global Coordination and Outsourcing Solutions), Audit and Tax. The office itself is a new build so everything is very new and shiny! There’s even a pool table which gets frequent use in lunches and breaks, and in the pipeline there’s even a hint of a tournament brewing!
Although the office is situated on a business park, there is still a good choice for food. There’s a WH Smith and a restaurant or cafe directly opposite which serves the standard sandwiches as well as doing a range of hot foods which change daily. There’s also a Holiday Inn with a large bar inside which is often used for Friday drinks given by the partners or managers for a job well done or rather just surviving the week!
Overall the social aspect of the office is very good. As discussed often everyone goes for Friday drinks after work at the Holiday Inn or to a nearby pub, a 5 minute drive away, on a Friday for a pub lunch. We also get cakes on a Friday bought by the office as a treat to all staff and get to dress down too – basically Fridays are the best and most indulgent days to be in the office!
There are also various sports socials that go on. Historically staff have met up on a Tuesday at a sports centre to play badminton, but there is also weekly football played amongst staff on the weekend, with some games against other companies arranged for the midweek. Recently a squash league has also started, so there is always something you can do if you want to get involved.
We have a real range of clients in the office ranging from medium to large stock based companies all the way through to sports based entities and even some charities. Most of our clients however are small to medium entities in the computing industry and the majority are based as you would imagine in the Thames Valley region, but we do have a fair amount of clients based in and around London too. So in conclusion the mix of clients is great for a bit of variety!
Overall, Reading IQ is an incredibly dynamic office with engaged, friendly and enthusiastic staff which can offer you numerous opportunities to develop and diversify your skills to become an overall great business advisor.
Hi, I’m Benita, I joined Grant Thornton last year as an audit trainee in the Gatwick office. The office is home to around 75 employees spread across a number of departments including audit, government audit, corporate finance, tax and employer solutions. It is based over two floors, with tax, employer solutions and corporate finance located on the ground floor and audit on the first floor.
The office hires approximately six audit trainees (typically four graduate trainees and two school leavers) and two tax trainees a year. There are also summer internship opportunities available within audit for students in their penultimate year of University and one-year placement opportunities within Corporate Finance. Due to the recent addition of the public sector audit department in the office, there is also the opportunity to apply for graduate roles within public sector audit.
The Gatwick office is located off the M23 and is within easy reach of Gatwick airport and rail station. It is a short bus ride from Crawley town centre and there are also frequent trains from Gatwick into London which take approximately 30 minutes.
The majority of our clients are based in the south of England and London but we also service clients in other parts of the UK so there are many opportunities to travel, including the occasional trips overseas. Our clients vary across a number of industries including manufacturing, automotive, leisure and travel, and technology being the most common. We provide services to a number of small owner-managed businesses as well as larger AIM listed companies. Due to the varied size of our clients and the modest size of the office, audit teams are usually made up of approximately 3-10 individuals. This means you’ll be provided with an all-round experience and be able to gain responsibility early on in your career.
After qualification there are many opportunities to develop further within the Gatwick office. There are opportunities to work in different departments, relocate to other offices or even take a secondment abroad. Recently one of our auditors took a secondment overseas to Los Angeles having recently qualified.
The Gatwick office is part of a unit which includes the London Euston and London Finsbury Square offices. Due to this we are occasionally able to work on audits of London clients and also benefit from being able to attend two Christmas parties (the London Christmas party as well as our own annual Gatwick Christmas party). In addition to this, the office holds a number of social events throughout the year including quiz nights, football tournaments, cricket matches and golf tournaments. There are also a number of external events organised through the Crawley Young Professionals which allows young professionals from within the local area to meet on an informal basis and participate in various activities including quiz nights, raft building, rounders, bowling and many more!
I hope this has given you an insight into the Gatwick office and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.
Hi, I’m Richard from the Manchester office’s corporate tax department. I have recently qualified as a chartered accountant (ACA) and am now training towards the CTA qualification.
The Manchester office is in the heart of a the central business district of Manchester, which is a 15 minute walk from the Piccadilly and Oxford Road train stations. Grant Thornton comprises of the top two floors of a five floor building and is home to around 250 employees.
The office has a full Grant Thornton service offering, which means our office covers audit, tax, VAT, employer solutions, tax investigations, recovery and reorganisation, corporate finance, business risk services, government infrastructure advisory and public sector audit.
Each year, the office takes on around 12 trainees, four of which head over to tax with the remaining eight taking up the audit spaces. Of the twelve, around half come from the accelerate programme which gives our office a youthful feel.
In terms of clients, our office has specialisms within the property, construction, retail and food and beverages industries. However, given our size and scope, we provide services to a wide range of owner-managed business as well as several listed companies.
Manchester itself is one of the largest cities in the UK and accommodates for the largest student community in Europe, meaning the nightlife is fantastic. There is a wide variety of bars, nightclubs and restaurants so there is plenty of ways to spend that hard earned cash. I have lived in Manchester since August 2009 and accommodation costs are more than reasonable.
Given the large number of trainees that work from the office, the social scene is always busy with nights frequently organised throughout the year – as a bonus we have a double Christmas party (one for the office and one for the sports and social committee).
Hi I’m Emily, I joined Grant Thornton last year as a school leaver in the Ipswich office, so I thought I would let you know what our office is like.
The Ipswich office is based in the centre of town in a large office block (Crown House). Our office is also right next to a swimming pool and gym which is perfect if you want to do some exercise after a day in the office. The office is opposite many shops so you can pop in and get some food or do some shopping if need be but it does mean you can end up spending lots of money in the town at lunch. Luckily as an audit trainee you tend to spend lots of time out at various clients in different locations.
The office is modestly sized with approximately 40-50 people, this makes for an incredibly close nit office. The office has a number of social events throughout the year with monthly pizza and refreshments quiz nights, charity runs, football tournaments, Christmas parties and more. Our office takes on, on average 4 or 5 new starters each year – usually 2 school leavers and 2 graduates for audit as well as a new starter in tax. We also take on 2 interns each year who are in their penultimate year at university, who join the office for a 6 week taster. The Ipswich office is fast growing and at the minute we are winning lots of new and exciting clients including a lot of work in Essex which is perfect for those living around Colchester but also nice for those living around Ipswich as it is only a short drive or train journey.
Our clients tend to be mainly construction and logistics but we also have various other industries such as car dealerships, insurance companies as well as many more. The varied size of clients means that while you get to work in big teams it is also ideal for new starters as it allows you to in-charge some smaller jobs and gain responsibility nice and early in your career providing a rounded experience.
Ipswich is a friendly town. Accommodation prices around here are very affordable compared to all the larger cities which means you will get more for your money.
Overall, this is an incredibly dynamic office which seems to be growing year on year, as such the Ipswich office is a great place to develop with lots of opportunities for promotion.
If you are considering Ipswich and would like to know more about locating here, please check out Victor’s relocation blog for guidance and tips. In addition if you have any questions please let me know by commenting under the blog or raising the query on the forum.