Tag Archives: Birmingham

Why Public Sector Audit?

As a placement student in Public Sector Audit (PSA), you soon learn that when Grant Thornton job advertisements state that your job role will entail early responsibility, they are not joking! You will be plunged straight into work after your first week of induction training, with a supportive team around to answer questions and to help you get to grips with the day-to-day activities of your job.

However, as is typical with audit, there are peaks and troughs in the volume of work throughout the year. During quieter periods, you can utilise your time to learn more about the business and your chosen department. Commercial awareness is widely valued at Grant Thornton, so an understanding both your clients and the wider assurance department helps you to improve the quality of your work.

I interviewed Richard Percival, an Associate Director in the Birmingham office to learn more about the world of Audit. His candid replies offer a more personal insight into PSA, and he has a few words of advice for those of you that may still be uncertain of whether to apply for an intern or trainee role, helping you to make an informed decision based upon your interests and motivations. It’s not a shortest of articles, but it is definitely worth a read, so here goes! Read this post

Jonathan’s Public Sector Diary – Q1 2013

Hi, I’m Jonathan and I am an Associate in Public Sector Assurance working from the Birmingham Office. The aim of this blog is to give an insight into the life of a Public Sector Assurance trainee, the clients we work with and my experiences so far.

Public Sector Assurance at Grant Thornton has grown rapidly in the last six months with over 300 former Audit Commission staff joining across the UK in November 2012, bringing with them their wide-ranging portfolio of clients making Grant Thornton UK LLP the leading provider of audit services to the Public Sector. Typical clients in this sector are Local Government, NHS and Police Authorities, but there are also opportunities to work with not-for-profit organisations such as Housing Associations (the sector I worked in before joining Grant Thornton) and academic institutions.

Since joining in January 2013 I have worked with a clients in local government and a Police Authority. The work I have done so far has contributed to the ‘interim’ stage of the audit, which is essentially planning and preparation for the audit of clients final produced accounts. During this period I have travelled to areas such as the Peak District and also central Birmingham (a convenient two minute walk from the office!).

During my long commutes to the Peak District I had the opportunity to listen to morning radio, and what has really struck me is how the public sector makes the headlines on an almost daily basis. If it is not an NHS Trust making the headlines, it is a Police Authority or a Local Council! This shows how dynamic the sector is and how important the work we do is to ensuring that public money is being spent correctly.

As I write this blog I think about the experiences I have already had in the (nearly) four months I have been at Grant Thornton. Training for my Police audit has seen me go down to our Finsbury Square office in London and I have driven around cross-referencing physical assets (such as a Caravan park!) with deeds held by a Council.

The Public Sector busy season begins next week as NHS final accounts begins. This will be my first experience of final accounts (the audit of the financial accounts produced by the client) and I have no doubt that this will be hard work. Long hours will need to be put in but above all I am looking forward to the new experiences NHS final accounts will bring to continue my learning and development. Once NHS final accounts have been completed we move straight onto local government and police final accounts (after a brief holiday for me) and I look forward to telling you about what I have been up to.

If you have any questions you can find me on Twitter @GT_JonathanM or feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading!

Introducing New Team Member: Rhys

After a brief introduction at the start of my previous blog on ‘the controversial side of tax’ I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about myself. As I previously mentioned, I work in the Corporate Tax department in the new offices in Birmingham and started at the firm in September.

People often ask me ‘Why accounting?’ The answer: my Dad. I would often work at his accountancy firm during the school holidays to earn some extra cash and whilst days spent filing in my early teens couldn’t have put me off more, once I got a bit older and started accompanying him out on accounts preparations and particularly meetings with clients about their personal tax affairs – the world of accounting seemed a lot more interesting and something that I wanted to pursue.

Having decided that Accounting was for me, my decision to go to university was never in doubt – I wanted the experience, and the sport! If the fees then were what they are now then that decision would have probably been a lot harder to make but after three wonderful years, I wouldn’t change my university experience for anything, even if there was a significantly higher price tag.

During the summer at the end of my second year I was fortunate enough to complete an internship in audit at the Birmingham office. The internship was great and allowed me to see what working at Grant Thornton was really like. During those six weeks I decided that this was the place for me but during that time also decided that tax was the department in which I wanted to work. Everyone was great about my decision to ‘switch sides’ and after a crossover interview with a tax partner I had a job offer in place before I returned to University. This was a weight off of my mind and meant I could really concentrate on my course when I needed to most, rather than having to juggle applications and interviews alongside my studies. I can’t speak highly enough of the internship and will soon be blogging about my experience and reasons for pursuing a career in tax rather than audit.

This added free-time was doubly as important as I had been elected as Club Captain of the University of Birmingham Hockey Club for my final year. Holding a position of responsibility such as this was invaluable experience for me; my communication skills, organisation, time-management, confidence leading and speaking in front of large numbers of people improved immeasurably during those 12 months and prepared me well for the world of work. Being part of such a club has also had the unexpected bonus of giving me a vast network of people to start my career with, as about a third of the 180 members graduate into employment in various jobs each year. In a world when who you know can sometimes be as important as what you know, the friends you make during your university years may well prove invaluable later in life, I’m certainly hoping so anyway!

As the hockey season comes to a close I am often found counting down the weeks to the cricket season (although the season opener at the end of April is rarely the idyllic day in the sun that I pine after). I still play my cricket ‘back home’ at the magnificent Kettering Town Cricket Club (new players always welcome). One of my favourite little things about Grant Thornton is the presence of the Kettering office. My hometown is ‘on the map’ in Grant Thornton circles and I’m grateful that I rarely have to explain where I’m from as ‘near Northampton’, as anyone who makes the daily commute along the A43 will tell you that it is anything but!

If you have any questions about tax, the internship, life at Grant Thornton or just fancy a chat about sport, life in Birmingham or what Kettering is like, then feel free to post on our forum or message me directly via twitter on @GT_Rhys.

Location Blog Special – Birmingham

Hi everyone, I’m Alex and I’ve recently started working at the Birmingham office.

We relocated to brand new offices in Colmore Plaza in 2012, located in the centre of the city, next to Snow Hill Train station and a couple of minutes’ walk from the Bull Ring shopping centre. We occupy the top two floors and have a great view of Birmingham City Centre.

Colmore Plaza Reception

We have over 300 staff in the office after recently taking on around 70 new employees from the Audit Commission.

There were 18 new trainees in August 2012, with a mix of graduates and school leavers, studying a range of qualifications including ACA, ACCA, CIPFA and AAT.

We generally take on graduates in Audit, Tax and occasionally Employer Solutions. In August 2012 we employed 18 new starts, including two in tax, five in Public sector audit and 11 in Corporate Audit. Composed of 12 graduates and five school leavers.

Some of our 2012 trainees

Also, we took on six interns in Summer 2012, who were all offered a position and five accepted.

Within the Birmingham offices there are certainly a host of opportunities after qualification, with a number of service lines operating here; including Forensic Accounting, Employer Solutions, Corporate Finance and Tax. Trainees will have the opportunity to second to one of these areas for six weeks during their training contract.

You will also get the chance to work with a diverse range of clients including a number of AIM listed PLC’s. Generally clients are situated in the UK but we also serve clients in New York, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and France.

In the office we have a popular social club, with events occurring regularly. We recently had a great night out at the Jam House in Hockley and a Crystal Maze event in the office with team challenges and free drinks, not forgetting the Christmas party at Birmingham City Football Club. In addition to this there are sporting events including five-a-side football and a golf tournament.

There are also a number of external events with different firms in the region including solicitors and recruitment agencies, set up by the student society BCASS including drinks events, an annual ball and a football tournament

Birmingham is also a great place to live and certainly does not live up to the stereotype. The city is currently undergoing significant redevelopment, which has the aim of making Birmingham one of the 20 most liveable cities in the world. Birmingham also has the second largest economy in the UK and recently we have seen a surge in the openings of independent bars and restaurants, which complement the many large chains that operate in the city.

Selfridges shopping centre

Living costs are very reasonable with flats available in the centre (near the two large train stations) for affordable prices.

Birmingham is a great place to work and the culture here at Grant Thornton is fantastic. I hope I’ve convinced you to apply to our office and please don’t hesitate to contact me or add me on LinkedIn if you have any further questions.