Hi everyone, I’m Nick and I started working at Grant Thornton’s Southampton office in January 2012. Here is my insight into life at Southampton and this office.
The Southampton office is a stand-alone building, with Grant Thornton taking up the ground, first and second floors with Michael Page and Santander residing on the top two floors of the building. It is home to roughly 90 Grant Thornton employees over several departments – audit, tax advisory, recovery & reorganisation, corporate finance, corporate restructuring, accounts preparation and our personal tax compliance unit. The office is managed primarily by two audit partners who both have a personal approach and strong leadership.
The audit department is approximately 30 people strong, with around 20 people making up the trainees. In tax, the department is smaller and we currently have only two trainees (including myself) increasing to three in January.
In terms of yearly intake, the Southampton office takes on one tax graduate, around three audit graduates and three school leaver programme trainees between September and January. Therefore trainees often start with others in the same boat and this particuarly helped me in finding my feet and getting adjusted to the environment with my freshly faced colleagues.
Southampton has a city has strong industries in property, travel, shipping, retail and logistics. Therefore, we have many clients working in these areas. However, as Grant Thornton tends to focus its strengths on client size rather than client type, you can expect to see a wide range of client type being serviced by the Southampton office. This includes a wide range in geographics too, as a few members from the audit team get the opportunity to fly to California once a year to complete the audit of a subsidiary UK-based client.
The city of Southampton itself has a immersive history as it is one of Britain’s oldest cities. The historic walls entwine with the high street which boasts West Quay, one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK. Being on the south coast, it is ideal for seafarers and has two great venues in Portsmouth and Bournemouth just only 30 minutes drive away. On Southampton’s doorstep is the New Forest, a preserved national park which is the only place I’ve ever seen wild horses roaming the fields. It offers a great location for a chilled out Sunday picnic.
As Southampton has two Universities, you can expect to see an accommodating and diverse nightlife scene, and for the more quiet Saturday nights, the city is able to offer some of the best restaurants in the South, with a wide range of independently owned cultural restaurants. There are also plenty of gig venues, where you can see headline acts at the historic Mayflower or budding rockstars in smaller venues. There seems to forever be developments and planning going on around the city which will only add to a greater social environment for the out-going trainee.
I made the lengthy relocation from Portsmouth to Southampton when I started at Grant Thornton and, despite remaining a Pompey fan, I’ve not looked back. My city centre accommodation isn’t too expensive and I have the benefit of a 20 minute walk to work. The office is progressive and constantly growing; the future looks bright for the city and Grant Thornton itself.
Should you have any further queries about the office or the area, please don’t hesitate to query in this blog or contact me through twitter on @GT_NickB.