The nature of the life of a trainee is that, for a couple of months a year, we leave the office and head over to college for study and revision for exams. As mentioned in my last blog, April was a month spent in front of books as I completed my final CTA stage. For May, it’s the ACA trainees turn to be out of the office as they prepare for June and July exams.
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!
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.
I left my compliance role at Grant Thornton several years ago, following the closure and relocation of the Poole Office. Keen to apply my scientific research expertise, I accepted a specialist post with a larger firm, advising large corporates on Research and Development (R&D) expenditure tax relief. Within six months, I was back.
I like getting involved in everything. By moving to a larger firm, I felt I could apply my rounded experience gained at Grant Thornton, combining this with my scientific expertise in R&D. What became really apparent was how much the competition really values the breadth of experience that Grant Thornton employees have.
One new challenge I had in my new role was hotdesking. However, I often found myself adjacent to people in completely different teams. Conversations were interesting but I felt increasingly frustrated at the lack of opportunity to get involved in work outside my specialist team. Although I had gained some valuable experience with the firm, I decided that I would prefer to work in a firm offering a greater variety of work and client type. I looked around and quickly found another job, approaching Grant Thornton for a reference.
Having left on good terms, Grant Thornton invited me back. Since returning the firm has grown and increased its market profile considerably, winning higher-profile clients.
Now as a manager, I get the opportunity to advise businesses of all shapes and sizes. By seeking out the opportunities available at Grant Thornton, I have been able to apply all the positive experiences gained during my six months away, as a member of Oxfords R&D team. Since joining, this team has grown significantly, seizing a larger slice of market share, and we were recently shortlisted for the “Best Tax Team in a Large Firm” at the esteemed Lexis Nexis Taxation Awards.
From my experience, I would recommend that people think carefully about the variety of work they would be doing in their desired role when applying. I believe working for the larger firm in London was a great experience and I feel it is important to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things as a way to develop. I have learnt it is important to always stay on good terms and maintain contact with those who have supported your early career.