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!