Hi, I’m Chris and I work out of the Southampton office as an Accounts Executive. It is now four months since I landed at Sydney airport ready to embark on the biggest and most exciting challenge of my career, a long term secondment to Grant Thornton Australia.
So how did I get to Sydney? I joined Southampton in July 2007 on the Accelerate Programme and was immediately attracted to the possibility of an international secondment upon completion of my ACA qualification. Seeing another part of the world, with the security of income and a job to return to – the opportunity sounded almost too good to be true! Four years on, I had completed my AAT qualification, had just sat my last ACA exam and I set about taking the next step in my career.
In addition to an international secondment, I considered a national secondment, a transfer to another department and even seeking a role outside of Grant Thornton. However, after researching each option and discussing at length with my Line Manager, I concluded that an international secondment would offer me the greatest opportunity to accelerate my personal and professional development.
For some time now, I had been monitoring the Grant Thornton Global Opportunities site and had made several enquires. This included contacting a friend and colleague on secondment in Perth. He offered to pass my details on to a Partner in his office, and I later received notification of a position available in Sydney. I hadn’t necessarily been looking to go to Australia but the role on offer in the PHB (Privately Held Business) department was a perfect fit for my accounting and tax background. With the support of various senior staff and the Talent Mobility Team in London, I submitted a successful application, packed up my life into a three bags and left for Sydney. Okay, so it wasn’t quite that straight forward but you get the idea.
Four months in and I have been involved in a variety of work, from preparing business structure advice for international organisations, to the preparation and lodgement of consolidated tax returns. Adapting to new working practices and learning the Australian tax legislation have been significant challenges – all of which have kept me motived and focused on getting the most out of this experience.
Not only have I enjoyed the work that I have been involved in so far, but the social scene in Sydney is fantastic. After work drinks are held on a regular basis, sporting events seem to crop up every few weeks and departmental functions are common place. Of course, Sydney has plenty to offer outside of work too including a number of beaches on its doorstep.
Reflecting on my experience so far, the past four months have been the most challenging but also the most enjoyable of my time at Grant Thornton. Working with new clients, new colleagues and in a new environment has been inspiring and working in Australia in particular has really opened up my eyes to international business.