A whirlwind first two months – Joe’s guest blog

Hi, I’m Joe and I recently joined the Commercial Audit Department in Bristol – I’ve  had a whirlwind first two months! It began with a week of introductory activities culminating in the two day Talent 13 event at a swanky hotel overlooking Tower Bridge in London. This was a fantastic experience with the entire graduate intake of around 200 people in one place taking part in talks, group activities and a late night boat-cruise/meal down the Thames past all of the famous landmarks. It was very enjoyable and really made me appreciate both the size of the firm I had just joined but also how much they valued each one of their new joiners by giving so much focus on the individual and their joining experience.

My second week was spent at the fantastic Bradenham Manor facility with about 60 other new joiners completing an internal case study called Breaking Records. The case study was invaluable in giving me an understanding of how the accounting process works within a business. From knowing very little as a Chemistry graduate  I was amazed by how much I learned in just five days!

Following Bradenham, I began studying at college for my first two ACA exams. As Breaking Records had covered much of the content of the first exam, I felt that the Grant Thornton trainees in my class had a real advantage over the trainees from other firms that were studying the material for the first time, as many of the ‘Eureka’ moments had been experienced the week previously. The first four weeks provided a great platform to settle myself into the firm and get to know many of my peers both in the Bristol office and also nationally.

My first week of “work” was spent in the office, performing a variety of tasks relating to a number of clients, it was good to get ‘stuck in’ right from the start. On my second day, one of the Partners  asked me to research the market and industry which a target client was based in. The following day I then briefed him on what I had  found and the information I provided was really valued by the Partner – It was really pleasing to see that I could make an impact at such an early stage.

Since then I have spent time at two clients, in very different industries; the first an electrical pylon manufacturer and the second a hotel. It was fascinating to see what business processes and risks underpin the functions of these two vastly different industries. I also found that work at the client site leant another opportunity to learn and consolidate what I had covered in college and introduce what I will go on to learn in future studies.

One of the main reasons I chose Grant Thornton over a number of its competitors was the clear focus on individuals, which I experienced greatly during my internship last summer – my line manager was actively helping me in seeking opportunities to gain experience and explore different areas of the business. Upon joining as a graduate, I again found this to be the case, with the amount of time the company puts aside for professional study, both paid study in college and internal professional development courses. Being a Chemistry graduate, the world of accountancy is very new to me and in each module for the ACA there is quite a large amount of content, being able to attend college for tuition during the working week, especially at this early stage is very important to me, as it provides a learning environment where real examples are given by the ACA-qualified and field-experienced tutors, which I believe is invaluable and is not always offered at other large firms.

Having been here for two months now, I can safely say that I am very happy and settled, having such variation in the job from office work, travelling to many different clients, studying in college and attending numerous national events. This ensures that my working life will never become dull and just a ‘nine till five’. So far I’ve had a really positive experience, shared with numerous other like-minded people.


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