Tag Archives: Social life

#WWYAB – Seizing Opportunities

One of the most important things for me of working at a large firm such as Grant Thornton is the opportunities that are presented to you. From my induction at Talent 12, I remember our CEO, Scott Barnes, telling us that we are all responsible for shaping our own future. I feel the way each of us can best do this is to work extremely hard along the way and continue to look to challenge ourselves.

My advice for all trainees is…

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Molly’s Accelerate Diary – October 2013

October has been a month that has seen me really start to pick up the pace of revision. With my first two ACCA exams taking place on the 3 and 9 December this might sound like a lifetime away, but what with working full time and trying to squeeze in a little bit of a social life, the revision has to start now. This has caused me to feel somewhat like a working, revising robot so, at the end of a hard days revision, for which I had taken a day’s holiday,  I treated myself to…

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Nick’s Diary – February 2013

If there is one thing that comes from working through a professional qualification like CTA, it’s that there is a greater appreciation of the time I’m allowed to spend without the stress of exams reigning over me. I hide nothing about exams from people reading these blogs and considering a role at Grant Thornton. The exams are the hardest part.

With this in mind, and after the manic rush of January, I have aimed to make the most of my social life in February, enjoying a few weekends away to spend time with friends before my life becomes swallowed by CTA once again. Most prominent in February, as this is the month for which I would complete my last six days of tuition.

Getting back to Bradenham with my CTA class was great, and being able to share the success stories from November 2012 with people face-to-face was rewarding. It was a pleasure to see and thank our in-house Kaplan tutor, who is well known by trainees at Bradenham, for sticking with me during the difficult times in October 2012.

February also held the strategy kick-off meeting for the Spilling the Beans team. With some members leaving and three new members joining. This was an opportunity to head over to London, meet the new faces in the flesh, and brainstorm how we can continue to improve this website.

I’m really excited about the developments we are going to be working on. Expect to see even more twitters (we’re now at 30 trainee twitters, are you following us all?), a more active Facebook account and the introduction of YouTube video blogs (as well as a number of other themed written blogs). Keep your eyes peeled.

With me sitting exams in May for the first time since joining Grant Thornton (they’ve usually been in November) I imagine I’m tying up my revision with that of many school, college and university students. With 10 years of annual exam sittings behind me, for those of you who are wading through this boat let this be your encouragement; the time you put in now opens doors tomorrow. I’ve got three months left and I can’t wait to see where I can go next.

Onto March and I’ve got four mocks spread across three weeks, it’s going to be a tough month. Good job I had fun and spent all my money in February…

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.

Location Blog Special – Manchester

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).

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.

Joining Grant Thornton – before and after

I joined Grant Thornton last Tuesday as a graduate trainee in the Actuarial department, based in our London Finsbury Square office. Last week was a busy week with a local orientation in my department followed by Talent12. However, my journey with Grant Thornton began long before Talent12.

Back in October 2010 I attended a careers fair at Manchester University, where I was studying Maths. After endlessly traipsing around careers fairs, a familiar feeling for soon-to-be graduates, I reflected upon the companies that I had met and for me, Grant Thornton stood head and shoulders above the rest. The people I met seemed so enthusiastic and excited about their job, and that’s exactly how I wanted to feel when talking about my own job in the future. I decided Grant Thornton was the perfect firm for me, if only they would have me!

I managed to secure myself a place on the summer internship programme in 2011 and subsequently a graduate role. I felt so lucky to have a graduate job already secured for after my final year of university. Having this weight off my shoulders I decided to take on the campus ambassador role. This involved promoting campus events around the University of Manchester (incidentally, putting posters up around the whole university was probably the most exercise I’d done all year) as well as organising a Christmas careers evening, which was basically an excuse for us all to get in the festive mood with an abundant supply of mulled wine and mince pies!

So after a fantastic final year of university, and an exciting summer spent living well beyond my means (trying to make the most of my last ever three month long summer break), here I am, just over a week into my career with Grant Thornton.

The last week or so has been a whirlwind of meeting new people, taking office inductions and trying to get used to waking up at 6.30am every morning, a time of day I haven’t seen in an extremely long time. But what has stood out the most was the Talent12 national induction. Around 230 new starters at Grant Thornton descended upon London for the two day event, which involved giving us trainees a clear understanding of the firm’s brand promise and the direction the firm is heading. There were inspiring talks from members of the firm’s National Leadership Board and workshops to help us understand our part to play in the firm’s strategy. Having said this, Talent12 certainly wasn’t all work. In the evening, we got on board a huge boat and cruised along the River Thames, sipping champagne, enjoying a delicious three course meal and making use of the free bar and time to meet other new starters from different offices and departments. The key thing that I took away from Talent12 is a strong understanding of the brand promise. What struck me most was how much the firm must value its employees, considering the amount of time, effort and money that must have gone into organising such a brilliant event. I will certainly look back on those two days with fond memories.

And what’s next? In the coming months I am looking forward to learning more about my new job as an Actuarial Analyst and continuing my involvement with the Manchester alumni team. The role of the Manchester campus ambassador has been passed on to an intern from this summer’s intake, but I will continue to be involved in the organising, promoting and attendance of careers events at the university. I am excited at the prospect of meeting bright new talent and encouraging them to join the firm as I believe this will be a major driving force if Grant Thornton is to continue to grow and flourish.

So, although I have only just begun my career here at Grant Thornton, I feel that my part to play within the firm began long before, and has already presented me with a fantastic array of opportunities and unique experiences. I already feel as though I belong here.

Nick’s Diary – July 2012

As I headed up to Bradenham in July for the second phase of tutoring for November’s CTA exams, it came to my attention that this blog is not only read by potential applicants but also current Grant Thornton staff. With that in mind, for those of you who are reading this and know me, hello!

Bradenham is a great place to catch up with the like-minded people within the firm though, and as around 20 trainees descended on the outskirts of High Wycombe for some capital gains tax and VAT tutoring, this Bradenham visit was like every other; a tough day followed by a chilled out evening.

Whilst we were at Bradenham doing our CTA training, we were also joined at ‘the manor’ by this summer’s intake of interns. The interns were completing a two day course on presentation and communication skills before heading up to Birmingham for a corporate responsibility day at a local school. Whilst my first experience of Grant Thornton on the inside was after graduation, it’s clear to see that the few weeks these interns will be spending with the firm are a pretty cool experience and some brilliant CV building. I’d certainly encourage people to focus on this experience as they take a break from their second year studies.

But enough about what I should have done three years ago and more about what I’ve done this month.

July always sits well with me, usually because the weather is good and whilst it hasn’t exactly been a British summer the last few weeks, it’s still given me the chance to get sunburnt – seems I’ll never accept that the sun can burn my pasty skin. The sunshine does make people more sociable though, and for three Fridays on the trot I was heading into Southampton with other trainees to sample the nightlife.

Other than the above, I’ve been keeping to my rhetoric and getting head stuck into the CTA manuals, this stuff is pretty bulky and it’s amazing to think I’m already cramming with three months until my exams.

I’ll wrap this blog up with two rare pieces of Nick-advice. Firstly, apply to do an internship, it looks like a great experience and also quite a bit of fun. Secondly, always wear sun cream, no matter how stubborn you are!

Nick’s Diary – March 2012

During the month of March I completed the main bulk of my audit secondment with it coming to a close at the end of the month. It seems that regardless of the department during March, it’s a busy time for any area of financial services. The rush of audits for December year ends and the large number of March tax return submissions meant I was kept on my toes with both audit and tax throughout the month.

Now that my audit secondment has officially come to an end, I have made two key observations about working as an auditor at Grant Thornton.

Firstly, at Grant Thornton audits are short. During the last six weeks I have completed three week long audits. Having such brief audits allows a trainee to experience a wide breadth of clients’ industries and provides the experience of almost all the audit. I imagine bigger audits could have the potential to drag and, if each part of the audit is lengthy, there is less variation to experience. During my three weeks out at clients, I managed to sample almost all audit tests, so there was little I didn’t experience. The client variation was great too, I audited an advertising agency, a toy distributor and an investment company, clearly the spice of life.

Secondly, at Grant Thornton auditors are not just auditors. Our firm produces financial statements for clients in addition to auditing them. Subsequently, I was able to revisit my accounting background and get on with some accounts preparation jobs. This is a skill which I think every ACA qualified person should experience, and I’m pleased to say I’m continuing with some small jobs in the future following my training of the accounts production software, even more spice!

March also proved to be a good month socially. We had our annual office quiz which is held in the meeting rooms where our team showed that it’s the taking part that counts (we came last, this is my excuse). I also joined around 20 other trainees at the end of the month to attend the Southern Counties Accountants Ball which was held at Southampton’s football ground. A great meal and a great laugh had by all and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Now April is upon us I’ve moved back into Corporate Tax where I am catching up with my backlog once again. Time is of the essence as I’ve been asked if I would do one more week in audit during the month before I get back into the exam routine; it’s the CTA hurdle exam at the end of the month which is an internal exam to see if I’m mentally up for the CTA challenge. I guess if we’re using athletic terms, April is a sprint, the exam is the hurdles and CTA seems like the marathon. I’d better start getting fit!