Tag Archives: Social

Settling into London Life…

Hi, I’m Sapna and I have lived in London for over three years now, but working in the financial services industry in London is very different to the university life I once had here. It has been just over two months since I started working in the London Finsbury Square office as an associate in the financial services tax team. The first couple of months seem to have gone so quickly from full working days to social events in the evenings, and now the joys of revision for my ACA exams. Read this post

Home or Away – The Big Decision

Now that applications are open for 2014 positions (did you see our Instagram and Facebook countdown by the way?) I thought I would address one of the age old dilemmas which we all will face at some time in our lives; whether to stay at home or to move away. Some of us will have already made this choice when choosing a University to attend, whilst others will have only witnessed this tough choice on travel TV programmes, where the participants face a choice of staying in the UK or moving to wherever it is that they want to sit in the sun/ bathe in fresh springs/ open a zoo. The decision is really up to you, and there is no one size fits all advice that I can give however I will offer you the experiences of my friends and I to help you along the way. Read this post

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.

Unleashing Your Potential

Throughout my time at university, I found myself constantly looking forward to when I would have a career. The very nature of university is such that a student sacrifices several years of earning potential to better themselves academically in the long run. Whilst I had accepted this from the off, I couldn’t wait to get started on my career.

Over the last two years with Grant Thornton, I miss certain aspects of my student life, but the current focus, challenge and structure to my days are something I would struggle to live without now. Something I have learnt about myself recently is that this focus and structure may have had a detrimental effect on who I am.

Doing the job, the exams and the hours can make it easy to lose track of the big picture. With less time to think about where I’m going to be in a few years time I found that I had started to bury my head in the sand and just get on with the number crunching of being a tax adviser – I had lost my view of the future.

So a recent conference for me was well timed. Once trainees are nearing the end of their training contracts the firm welcomes them to a conference to see what is next in their careers. As a trainee who is some six months away from qualifying, I was invited to the conference – Unleashing Your Potential – which was held in a fancy hotel in Windsor.

The event itself was run by our national leadership board, who gave their insight into what they did and how they did it to get to where they are now. Some guest speakers and other rising stars gave us a few tricks of the trade on how to get on in the firm. Getting these kind of hints are invaluable and, if used wisely, I’m convinced can be the key to unlocking the potential we all have, but don’t necessarily always access.

Leading up to the event, my expectation was that I would be able to get all my questions on the future answered – three days later and I just have more questions and a lot of food for thought.

I took a number of key points away with me and have reaffirmed my eyes forward approach to my career. A significant lesson to learn was that at Grant Thornton we must all take responsibility for our own careers. Hearing the stories of the firm’s brightest and best showed clearly that nothing is given; it’s all earned through hard graft, desire and vision.

I guess this is an important lesson for anyone, whether they be in the firm, aspiring to join Grant Thornton or just aiming to get good grades in their A Levels or degree.

I often speak with people who are looking to join the firm and my best advice to them (that’s probably you) is to make the decision and throw everything and the kitchen sink at it. In the current economic climate, sitting on the fence just won’t do, and at every moment it’s imperative you can prove to the employer, examiner or interviewer that you want the next opportunity more than the next person.

For me, I still need to digest the information I have received and firm up my ideas for what I will do post-qualification. It’s easy to put it off until I have actually finished the exams, but anything that’s easy isn’t worth writing home about…

Watch this space!

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 – 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).