After having secured a 12-month placement at Grant Thornton in mid-February I didn’t give it another thought, choosing instead to focus on more pressing issues such as my looming second year university exams. Only the night before my first day of work did panic well and truly set in. At around 9:30pm on the Sunday before my first day did I finally realise that I didn’t really know what audit was despite having done two years of an Accounting and Finance degree. Fast-forward four weeks and not much has changed apart from the fact that I am no longer worried that I don’t know what a full audit entails. I know all I need to do is ask. The start to my placement has been much more relaxed than I initially expected which has been a very pleasant surprise.
After sitting through a long first day of orientation, with countless people talking at us for seven hours and collecting about a hundred different handouts detailing all parts of GT’s various policies on ethics and more, I was daunted by the sheer overload of information. And I still wasn’t any closer to knowing what audit was. I wondered whether I was cut out for the long work days having done pretty much nothing useful for my first two years at university.
But after the National Conference everything started to look up. It was great to get out of the office and meet my fellow placement students and interns in a more casual setting and it was exciting to stay over in London in a nice hotel. We got to hear some rags-to-riches stories from some of the partners and a feminist icon as well as a social in the evening. It was a great chance to bond with other new starters from my area while not being stuck inside all day listening to someone give a speech. I got to know the other starters well which was a huge relief and made everything much easier knowing that you were all going through the same things together.
The rest of my first week flew by. We were given a bit of basic audit training and got to meet the rest of the office who were all very welcoming. I was then dropped on-site for my first week of actual work with a client and I was blessed with having a very understanding team who explained anything and everything I needed with no hesitation and gave me actual responsibility on the project which really helped to keep my motivated. Having now been at GT a little longer I can say for certain that this is the culture that GT aim to maintain across the whole firm and it really shows in that everyone, no matter how senior they are, is willing to help you.
It is still early into my placement and I’m still settling into GT but I was pleasantly surprised as to show relaxed my first month has been. There is a lot of work to do but you are never given ridiculous deadlines by your manager and they are more than willing to help you if you have a question. I had also heard old-school horror stories about interns having to just make coffee and do photocopying all day but I can now say that this is definitely not the case at GT, if anywhere. I was also shocked at how quickly the student body can adapt to working 37.5 hours per week. I had a few headaches after my first few days of proper work but after one week I was totally used to the new routine and love the fact that I don’t really have to do any work when I get home, unlike at university.
One of the main things that has helped me to cope with this huge change of routine is having other starters that I can talk to or ask for help, this is a clear benefit of working for a big company like GT. Overall, so far my start into corporate life with Grant Thornton has been challenging but enjoyable and I am excited to see how else I can develop my knowledge of audit and get involved in more office socials.
By Om Menon – Audit Placement