Nick’s Diary – January 2013

In my December blog, I talked about how a career in tax often means you’re working to a deadline. Different service lines will often work towards different deadlines and working for Grant Thornton means I’m working for several service lines of our tax offerings. As a result, the deadlines of December in Corporate Tax were quickly followed up by more deadlines in January for my work in Personal Tax and Trust Tax.

January then was a month filled with long days in the office, getting through the rigor of self assessment tax returns. Whilst my time spent on this type of work has dropped recently, I still found myself in the thick of it towards the end of the month, getting my hands dirty.

A plus point of our firm in relation to the overtime I do during busy periods is that this extra time gets saved as time off in lieu. During December and January I’ve racked up some five days of extra holiday, which is vital when I’m taking around three weeks a year for my exams.

If you follow me on twitter (@GT_NickB), you’ll notice that I’ve been fairly absent throughout December and January. My commitment to the job has been partly to blame for this, but with CTA results out in January I’ve been feeling slightly muted.

If you’ve read any of my later blogs from 2012, you’ll probably get the impression that my CTA training was a difficult time for me. I have never before worked so hard for any exams, and sitting two CTA papers cast a shadow over the effort I put into my University finals (which at the time seemed like a lot).

This strong effort I placed on the exams allowed me to take a relaxed approach to the results day. I had accepted that if I couldn’t pass, it was simply that I wasn’t smart enough to pass and that my effort would never come into question. That said, five minutes before the results came out I was a shaking wreck as I leant over my laptop screen with a prematurely (or optimistically) purchased bottle of Champagne on my desk.

These are moments I will never forget. From picking up my GCSE and A-Level results, to finding out my degree classification to passing my ATT exams. Each step seems that little more important to the next path in my life but all are incrementally as important as the last in the big picture.

The good news is I passed both and that I’m now just two weeks away from Bradenham again. The final sitting of CTA is just around the corner in May, and now more than ever I feel ready, not battered and bruised.

7 thoughts on “Nick’s Diary – January 2013

  1. avatarkaty26

    It seems that some people do the ACA at Grant Thornton when they work in the tax department.
    Do you get to choose which qualifications you do? Is it possible to do both the ACA and the CTA?

  2. avatarNick Post author


    Thank you for your query.

    You’ve observed correctly, some offices will support the ATT-CTA role for tax while others will study for ACA and then CTA. I have studied ATT-CTA and this was something that was decided before the application form went live on the internet. The next two tax graduates in my office have also followed this route.

    In short, it is not something trainees get to decide. The support network in each office is such that it would make sense to be consistent year on year. Ultimately, it is the office which decides what qualification tax trainees will study and this will be considered by the partners as a business case.

    If you get a chance to look at our location blogs, in some cases our bloggers have mentioned which qualifications the tax trainees study towards. Alternatively, if you let me know which offices you’re interested in and I will find out which qualifications tax trainees study towards.

    All the best.


  3. avatarkaty26

    Hi Nick,

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    I have applied for the Reading office and could not see a blog from a trainee currently at that office.
    I have an assessment center in a few weeks and could probably find out then but would rather be prepared beforehand!

    Kind regards,

  4. avatarkaty26

    Sorry I meant to say I have applied for the London office- I was just reading about the Reading office!

  5. avatarNick Post author


    You’re welcome, thank you for your response.

    You’re right we don’t currently have a blog for our London offices. Lucy, a fellow member of the Spilling the Beans team, is planning to write her London Euston blog for next week. Keep your eyes peeled!

    We also have an office in Finsbury Square which does not take on trainees but a blog for it will turn up on the site in the next few weeks. Hopefully we can get something on here before your Assessment Centre.

    All the best and please feel free to ask us any other queries should you have them.


  6. avatardlee


    You mentioned in one of your responses above that the qualifications studied for by trainees in the tax department vary by office (either ATT-CTA or ACA-CTA). I have applied for the Corporate Tax graduate scheme in the Leeds office and want to confirm which they offer – do you know?

    Also, if it’s the second option (ACA-CTA), is the CTA mandatory and how soon would you start studying for it, after ACA qualification?

    Many thanks.

  7. avatarNick Post author


    Thanks for your question.

    I have spoken to a friend in the Leeds office and she has confirmed that the qualifications offered to tax trainees in Leeds is ATT-CTA.

    For reference, the final ACA exam (the case study) is sat in July and training for the CTA will usually commence the following May (roughly) for an initial sitting in November.

    I hope this clears things up and feel free to query again if you’ve got any more questions.

    All the best


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