Tag Archives: Diary

Alex’s Corporate Finance Blog – Part 2

In my previous blog I gave you a brief background to our Corporate Finance team, as well as touching on some of my experiences within Lead Advisory and Public Company Advisory.  As recruitment season is well and truly upon us, I will share some of my experiences hunting for a placement, what I think made me successful and how I have been making the most of the opportunity.

The first point worth mentioning is that your university will probably be pushing for you to apply to as many placements as possible. Whilst this scatter gun approach has some benefits, I would offer a word of caution. In my experience there is often an inverse relationship between quantity and quality of applications.  Applying for fifty placements sounds impressive… Read this post

Nick’s Diary – May 2013

The nature of the life of a trainee is that, for a couple of months a year, we leave the office and head over to college for study and revision for exams. As mentioned in my last blog, April was a month spent in front of books as I completed my final CTA stage. For May, it’s the ACA trainees turn to be out of the office as they prepare for June and July exams.

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Molly’s Accelerate Diary – April 2013

This month has been an agonising one, eagerly logging onto the AAT website daily in the hope that my Personal Tax results will have been posted. At Level 4, unlike Level 3 where you receive your results as you walk out of the exam, results take between four to six weeks to arrive. Alongside this, I have sat tuition for my Business Tax exam. The tuition phase was double the length of the Personal Tax tuition at four days long, meaning double the volume of information to absorb. As with Personal Tax, I found the module an extremely interesting and relevant one leading me to wonder about the possibilities of secondment at the end of my training contract (three years away!).

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Nick’s Diary – March 2013

Ever since I received my exam timetable this January, I’ve been concerned that March would be a draining month. As a trainee studying CTA, the firm sets internal progress ‘link’ exams in order to allow us to practice exam technique and keep on top of the books. These are usually set a month or so apart. In March, I had four.

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Molly’s Accelerate Diary – February 2013

I, along with many other trainees at Grant Thornton, have been tweeting for a good few months now, with my particular aim being to try and give you a taste of what life is like as an Audit Accelerate trainee.

Many people are aware of the Graduate schemes offered by many firms, and universities put a lot of energy into ensuring their students know what is out there for them. However with university fees rising there is a lot more interest in the other options available. One such option that I chose to take was to join Grant Thornton straight from college as an audit trainee. Through this diary I aim to give you more of an insight into life as an Accelerate trainee.

In the past month we have entered the ‘busy’ season which Phil wrote a blog about last week. I have certainly felt the squeeze moving from one client to the next with no time in-between. This has included carrying out the various admin tasks that build up when you are out at a client’s site, such as filling out job review forms, assessing how we have performed on jobs, and even the simple things like booking holiday! Having said that it has been an exciting time. I have worked across Suffolk and Essex over the past month from technology clients to haulage firms, and carried out my first solo audit. Although this was a daunting task, it was a good one to dive into. I had worked on the audit last year as an assistant, so I was familiar with the surroundings and as I got stuck in I found the week flew past!

Alongside the busy audit schedule, I had the dreaded task of completing my ICAS project. This is a project completed at Level 4 AAT, assessing the internal controls of a company and making recommendations to reduce the risk of fraudulent activity occurring within their company. I find that I am more of an exam person, so the prospect of doing a project had been looming over me since Christmas. This month therefore I decided to bust it out, which involved a couple of Saturdays of hard graft, after which all had been submitted and just yesterday I received confirmation of a pass!

My favourite part of the last month though was travelling up to London for my first Spilling the Beans team day where I got the chance to meet the team and have a fun day of sharing ideas, planning our paths for the next six months and eating doughnuts! We also had our Quarterly Business update in the office which involved colleagues coming down from London to present to us about how the firm is moving forward and interestingly to encourage us in the use of social media.

So now I look ahead to another busy month, broken up by college where I will be studying for my Business Tax exam (thankfully without the worry of the ICAS project looming over me) and hopefully with a promise of some sun ? I remember when we used to have a thing called seasons, I quite liked those…

Nick’s Diary – February 2013

If there is one thing that comes from working through a professional qualification like CTA, it’s that there is a greater appreciation of the time I’m allowed to spend without the stress of exams reigning over me. I hide nothing about exams from people reading these blogs and considering a role at Grant Thornton. The exams are the hardest part.

With this in mind, and after the manic rush of January, I have aimed to make the most of my social life in February, enjoying a few weekends away to spend time with friends before my life becomes swallowed by CTA once again. Most prominent in February, as this is the month for which I would complete my last six days of tuition.

Getting back to Bradenham with my CTA class was great, and being able to share the success stories from November 2012 with people face-to-face was rewarding. It was a pleasure to see and thank our in-house Kaplan tutor, who is well known by trainees at Bradenham, for sticking with me during the difficult times in October 2012.

February also held the strategy kick-off meeting for the Spilling the Beans team. With some members leaving and three new members joining. This was an opportunity to head over to London, meet the new faces in the flesh, and brainstorm how we can continue to improve this website.

I’m really excited about the developments we are going to be working on. Expect to see even more twitters (we’re now at 30 trainee twitters, are you following us all?), a more active Facebook account and the introduction of YouTube video blogs (as well as a number of other themed written blogs). Keep your eyes peeled.

With me sitting exams in May for the first time since joining Grant Thornton (they’ve usually been in November) I imagine I’m tying up my revision with that of many school, college and university students. With 10 years of annual exam sittings behind me, for those of you who are wading through this boat let this be your encouragement; the time you put in now opens doors tomorrow. I’ve got three months left and I can’t wait to see where I can go next.

Onto March and I’ve got four mocks spread across three weeks, it’s going to be a tough month. Good job I had fun and spent all my money in February…

Wills Diary October 2012

As Nick is currently preparing for his CTA exams I’ve decided to write a diary entry in the absence of his regular update.

Like many trainees the last month for me has been dominated by the build up to exam season. I sat four mock exams this Monday and Tuesday which, in addition to being a major test of my accountancy and other CIPFA based knowledge, was also a major test of my stamina. With four back to back three hour papers taking its toll, today I’m having a day off and I’m off to Bristol Zoo to unwind. My real exams are in a few weeks so I need to stay focussed at least another month before I can relax ready for the Christmas break.

Other things I’ve been up to this month include a week at college where in addition to study I went to my first top flight football match. This was Olympiakos vs Arsenal at the Emirates, so not a bad introduction to live football. It was courtesy of a colleague in our Euston office which shows that its good to make connections across the firm even for non-career based rewards.

Work wise it’s now grants season in Public Sector Assurance. I’ve been working on certifying various councils Housing benefit, Business rates and Housing data returns. Grants work is a nice change from accounts as often you will be responsible for the entire piece of work from planning, detailed testing and reporting.

Finally, just before I left on study leave we had an update in our office on the transition arrangements for the imminent arrival of 60+ audit commission colleagues in the South West. Which is pretty exciting when you consider this will increase our team by some 300 percent.

This growth is really encouraging but also means we’ll will be looking for more trainees in various offices in our public sector teams. We are looking to take on more graduate trainees in the southwest in January 2013 so it’s definitely worth applying now.

I’m now off on study leave for a few weeks until my exams. Roll on the 10th of December when they’ll be out of the way and I can get back to normality.

As always if you have any questions please ask them in the forums, especially about our public sector training opportunities.