Tag Archives: Office

Location, Location, Location

Hi, I’m Sean and I joined Grant Thornton in September 2012 as an Audit Trainee. Having spent three years at University in Birmingham, I had my mind set on returning to the ‘bright lights’ of London, my hometown, where I could begin my career as an accountant and start to pay off my student loan.

As you may know, London is very competitive and graduate positions tend to be filled early. During the application process I was told that despite Grant Thornton liking my application, the London Euston office had filled their vacancies and I was asked to consider applying to another office. This caused me to weigh-up the pros and cons of moving to a new city, especially my living arrangements and the work and social opportunities available in a new place.

Southampton was my new chosen destination and I was somewhat apprehensive before the Assessment Centre day. However, by the end of that day my mind had firmly been made up. I received a call directly from the Audit Partner who interviewed me, stating how enthused he was with my application and for me to join his office. Looking back, this is typical of life at Grant Thornton and our values. It proved to me that trainees play a key role in the firms growth. Rather than applying for other accountancy firms in London, I felt Grant Thornton’s distinctive brand message of growth and the responsibility given to trainees from the start were convincing factors for my future.

Eight months later and I have not looked back since joining the Southampton office. My experience has been varied and no week is the same. I write this blog having just returned from a visit to Northern Ireland to a subsidiary company of one of our regular clients in the construction industry. With the Southampton office being somewhat smaller in comparison to London, it presents greater opportunities to adopt responsibility and have ownership of jobs from the start. This is definitely an advantage of working in a regional office.

Southampton offers reasonably priced accommodation and I have been lucky enough to find a shared house within walking distance of both the office and our local Kaplan centre (the external training provider used for our exams). There are regular social events, all of which are well attended and have helped me to settle down in the South. I particularly look forward to the Grant Thornton National Football Tournament. The event will be held in Liverpool during July and the Southampton office will be sending along two boys and two girls teams to bring back the trophy!

My advice to current applicants is to be open-minded. Regional offices offer you a varied experience with great responsibility. You should consider whether it is the firm and its values which help decide on your next job offer or whether the location is the most important factor relevant to you. Things are developing well my end, still a long way to go with the student loan though!

Location Blog Special – London Finsbury Square

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.

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Location Blog Special – Liverpool

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.

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!

Nick’s Diary – December 2012

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!

Location Blog Special – Ipswich

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.

Location Blog Special – Bristol

In previous blogs I have mentioned travelling around the Southwest and Wales as part of my client work but as my home base is the firm’s Bristol Office I’m writing the profile for both the office and the magnificent city of Bristol itself.

The office is located in the City Quarter, not far from Temple Meads railway station, on two floors of a modern office building. It’s home to around 200 staff mainly split across audit, tax, corporate finance and recovery and reorganisation. We also have other disciplines including Government Infrastructure & Advisory, Forensic accounting services and Risk Assurance. This year the office took on eight new trainees, with the majority in audit and tax.

The audit team, which is made up of our commercial and public sector audit departments (of which I’m a member), is the largest by head count and this will grow once we are joined by over 50 audit commission colleagues in November 2012. The office will then be the dominant public sector audit provider in the Southwest, which is a great reason to apply for our public sector training scheme roles in Bristol.

The office has good facilities, two kitchens, one with a large plasma screen which major sporting events or for colleagues in tax the budget are screened on. We also have showers and secure cycle storage for our cycling colleagues. There’s a good deal of socialising and Bristol has plenty to offer in this regard.

Like Nick said about Southampton, the city has two large universities so night life isn’t a problem. There’s also tonnes of cultural and historic attractions, from the SS Great Britain, street art galore (as the home to Banksy) and the floating harbour with its waterside bars and restaurants. My favourite is the grain barge which is a floating pub with live music venue on the lower decks. We don’t do badly for culture either, and last Saturday I went to see the Lion King musical at the Hippodrome which was AWESOME! We’ve also got lots of sporting opportunities, I have taken part in the Bristol 10k and Bath 100 cycle sportive and a number of my colleagues compete in the Bristol Downs football league.

Many trainees live in Clifton which is a lively place to live. It’s also home to Bristol Zoo which is awesome in itself, but there’s also tonnes of cafes, bars and shops. I’m told rents are reasonable but I opted to live further out in Downend which is to the north east of the city centre where my rent is definitely great value. Being a bit further out is also ideal for me as it gives me easy access to the countryside around Bristol for cycling and walking, including the national arboretum at Westonbirt. I’m only a short bike ride along the cycle way to Bath with all that city has to offer. Even though I’m now an accountant now, I’m an ecologist by trade and can’t stay away from getting my hands dirty on a weekend, so it also made sense to live further out of town as there was a much shorter allotment waiting list where I now live.

If I had to summarise the three main reasons Bristol is a great city live and work in they’d be, in no particular order:

1) The office is growing and full of opportunities with major clients ranging from motor, retail and manufacturing companies to high net worth individuals and owner managed businesses, and we are about to become the primary supplier of audit services to public sector bodies in the Southwest.

2) The city is full of things to do in terms of nightlife, history, culture and sport. There’s always something going on.

3) The city is a gateway to the South Coast and Wales with stunning countryside all around. Oh and Glastonbury is pretty much on our doorstep!

Location Blog Special – Leeds

Hi, I’m Phil and I’m an audit trainee working within the Leeds office. The Leeds office is one of the larger of Grant Thornton’s UK offices, with around 200 members of staff in total across a variety of service lines. The office itself is at No 1 Whitehall Riverside, a brand-new building alongside the River Aire, just a two minute walk from the train station and the heart of the city centre. Grant Thornton occupies two floors of the building, where other tenants include Cobbetts LLP and Bank of New York Mellon, meaning there are plenty of networking opportunities available with young professionals from other firms close by.

The Leeds office covers a broad range of clients across most business sectors (Yorkshire is a fairly sizeable region!) so it is fair to say you will have a varied workload if you come to work here. Particular commercial focuses for the office are in manufacturing, engineering, motor retail and food, which are historically strong industries in the North East region. There is also a large public sector service offering, covering some of the largest NHS Trusts and city councils in the country, so you can choose to specialise and train in this area if that is where your interests lie.

The audit department, of which I am a member, is the largest in the office. The team has about 70 staff in total, with approximately half of this number being made up of trainees, so the support network when you are studying for exams is really strong. An extension of this support is the ‘buddy system’ that we have, where trainees with 12 months or more of experience are partnered with more recent joiners to ensure the induction into working life is as smooth as possible. I know I found this to be very useful in my first few months and you find that a lot of questions your buddy will also have asked upon joining the firm! In addition, the management and partner team are very approachable should you have any queries of them; the ‘open door’ policy is another of things I enjoy about working here.

In recent years the Leeds office has taken on an increasing number of trainees, with the numbers this year increasing to 13 across September and January intakes. The majority of trainees will go into audit with around 1-2 joining the tax department, which although smaller than audit is still sufficiently large to offer a broad client base and variety of work. The high ratio of trainees to qualified staff makes for a strong social scene, which centres around our ‘Third Thursday’ drinks. These take place once a month and offer staff from all departments a chance to catch up, certainly beneficial for the auditors amongst us who spend all of their time out of the office at clients.

Leeds sits pretty much in the centre of Yorkshire, so it’s a great place both to live and as a base from which to explore the rest of the region. Sport, fashion and nightlife all have a strong presence in the city, yet a thirty minute drive can take you to the history of York or the tranquillity of the Dales National Park. As a Yorkshireman in exile for many years, it has been great to come back to the diversity of opportunity on offer here, both in and out of the workplace.

I hope that gives you a brief insight into what it might be like to work here. If you would like to know more please post on our forum here or tweet me @GT_Phil.

Location Blog Special – Cardiff

Hi everyone I’m Natalie and work in the Cardiff office. My aim as part of these location blogs is to give you an insight into this office which will hopefully aid your application process.

The Cardiff office is relatively small in relation to other Grant Thornton offices, but this was one of the selling points to myself as being part of a smaller team allows me to get to know my colleagues better with scope to take responsibility in the team. Set about a five minute drive from Cardiff city centre the office is in an easily accessible location opposite a lovely park which is great in the summer (if it ever stops raining!). One of the main benefits of being just outside town if the ease of parking and the savings on multi-storey fees!

The Cardiff office has a number of departments comprising of; commercial audit, public sector audit, tax, recovery and reorganisation and forensics investigation. The commercial audit department is made up of approximately eight trainees with a further three in public sector and one in tax. The office generally takes on three graduates a year, two for commercial and one from public sector. This can mean the posts get pretty competitive but please don?t let this put you off from applying. Tax graduates are not employed consistently each year in this office but rather when the position arises due to the small size of the team. Audit trainees joining the firm can expect to experience a vast majority of clients during their training contract across many locations. Grant Thornton are keen to involve junior team members in varied aspects of the client work, with key responsibilities from the outset, and so as a new graduate you can be expected to be involved in exciting but challenging work which always keeps the job interesting!

Like other offices the audit department “hot desk” as many of us are rarely in the office and are generally based at client sites. Our clients consist of lots of manufacturing firms but also include varied clients including a chocolatier, schools and charities. The office also specialists in auditing pension schemes. The fact that clients are varied gives us graduates a great insight into many different businesses with good opportunities to communicate with different personnel levels at each firm. Some trainees in the office are lucky enough to fly to Romania and Philadelphia each year for audit clients and so the opportunities to travel are exciting. As audit can involve quite a lot of travelling at times, a driving licence and a car is pretty essential! Since I have started I have worked across the UK and have loved the opportunity to visit different cities including Manchester, London and Belfast. Secondment opportunities are also available within the firm and a recently qualified trainee from the Cardiff office is currently on a 22 month secondment to Australia and is having a great time. The tax department however tend to spend the majority of their time in the office so if travelling is your thing audit would be a great experience.

The Cardiff office is closely linked with the Bristol office and so you can often find yourself working with a mix of staff from each office which is great for variety and sharing experiences and knowledge. This is particularly true on larger clients where more staff are required for the audit.

As trainees we are known to enjoy a few drinks after work on a Friday evening in the city centre and aim to have a good social life within the team. As an office we hold a summer party every year which has ranged from watching the 20:20 cricket last year to a comedy opera act this year with the whole office joining in and giving it a go! Christmas is also an opportunity for everyone to gather for lunch and a few glasses of wine to celebrate the holidays.

As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is a busy and vibrant city with great nightlife and many relaxed bars and restaurants. Known for the millennium stadium the city is also a great host to sport. The city centre has recently had a large new shopping centre which is great for spending your hard earned salary on the weekends but also has cultural visiting places such as the National Assembly for Wales, the Millennium Centre Theatre and Cardiff Castle.

If you have any questions about the Cardiff office please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or tweet at me through GT_Natalie.