Introducing our other new member: Phil

Hi everyone, my name is Phil. Like Natalie I have recently joined the Spilling the Beans team and am looking forward to sharing my perspective on life as a trainee with Grant Thornton in the Leeds office. I know the site gave me a really helpful insight when I was filling out applications for a training contract and hopefully it will be equally useful for you guys when it comes to making that all-important decision.

As Natalie has talked a bit about her experiences before joining the firm, I thought I would take the opportunity to do the same. I also bring a slightly different perspective, having joined Grant Thornton as a school leaver but also having had a brief university experience. As I’ve touched on in my team profile (which, by the way, is useful for finding out about the people answering your questions) I decided to leave my accountancy degree course at Newcastle after about 3 months. Now given the city’s reputation for nightlife and all-round social scene you are probably wondering why!

During my final year of A levels, I’ll admit to having some doubts about whether I wanted to go to university at all, a decision nearly all 17/18 year olds have to contend with. However I knew that an accountancy career was what I wanted to pursue and, like many people, assumed a graduate route was the way to go. Fast forward a few months and I found that, whilst enjoying the theoretical side of the subject, I wasn’t really seeing how it all fitted together.

The phrase ‘putting the theory into practice’ is something most people will be familiar with after 15 years or so of a classroom education, but it certainly rings true in the world of business and professional services. Having been with the firm for just under a year now, the key thing is to be able to have a conversation with clients about the issues they face and how we can form solutions to problems. So whilst the technical knowledge is important to the day-to-day role, it is definitely about the way you convey that knowledge in the context of a client query that leads to results.

A quick internet search highlighted the school leaver entry route, which seemed to have the balance I was looking for. The decision was therefore made to move back home and apply for such positions, effectively taking the rest of the year as a gap year. I was fortunate enough to get through to an interview for the Grant Thornton Leeds Audit team in February 2011 and eighteen months on here I am!

It was an instinctive decision for me that, in hindsight, has proved to be a good move. I’ve gained work experience alongside professional study and still had the independence of living away from home, moving from Manchester to take up the job. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go to university if you think this is the career path for you; as with anything weigh up the pros and cons as you see them, but trusting your instincts shouldn’t see you go too far wrong.

So that’s a bit more about my background. Whatever yours is, please feel free to post any questions on the forum and we will do our very best to answer them.

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