Tag Archives: Intern

Grant Thornton vs Small Accountancy Firm

I am now over halfway through my internship at Grant Thornton and have also previously worked at a small regional accountancy firm. Some of you may have had previous work experience or a part-time job at a smaller accountancy firm and may want to know how this is different to working at Grant Thornton, so I have made this list below of my 5 main differences:

Bigger Clients

Grant Thornton provides services for large, fast growing clients. I have attended meetings and completed work for large international businesses. During your internship, you will get to see first-hand the complex challenges that large businesses face and how there are more potential hazards for international businesses.

Bigger Team

This means you get to work with lots of people from a diverse range of backgrounds and benefit from a vast breadth of experience. Although I found the size of the office and team a bit intimidating at first, everyone is genuinely really friendly and welcoming and always happy to help with anything.

More opportunity to specialise

At Grant Thornton, I joined the Indirect Tax team which is a specialist service that I would never have been able to do at a smaller firm. I am finding this area of tax to be extremely interesting and to be a lot more intrinsic to business transactions than I had first thought. Grant Thornton as a whole offers a wide variety of services so you may be able to learn more about an area you weren’t that familiar with previously!

Lots of new joiners

When I joined Grant Thornton so did over 100 other intern and placement students. This is great as you can meet lots of people in the same position as you and share your experiences. You will get the chance to network with everyone at events such as the National Intern Conference and at various enjoyable social activities.

Bradenham Manor

When you join (if not before) you will probably hear a lot about this, and understandably so. You’ll spend a couple of days over in the beautiful manor in High Wycombe. With insightful workshops, great food and very nice accommodation, your visit to Bradenham Manor will be an enjoyable one and it is definitely another perk of working at Grant Thornton!

Working at a smaller accountancy firm is a great way of gaining an overview of the industry as a whole, but I have experienced more and gained more skills at Grant Thornton. I am having an amazing time here as I believe you all will when you join!

Written by Laura Jackson – Tax Intern

Creating, Recognising and Taking Every Opportunity

Interns from around the UK collaborated in the Finsbury Square office, London, to listen to a plethora of successful advocates of the internship/placement scheme. Partners and Associates shared their experiences and advice to ensure we achieve our personal successes in the following 5 weeks. Personally, the highlight was listening to Sacha Romanovitch (CEO) speak passionately about the importance of recognising employees as individuals, company changes, and the relevance of GT’s purpose of achieving a vibrant economy. Sacha’s motivation and personable nature left me inspired, grateful, and eager to embrace all upcoming opportunities.

Key Advice:

> Sacha emphasised that to be the best you can be you must always relate your task back to the bigger picture – achieving a vibrant economy.

> Malcom Gomersall (Partner) – always ask why to ensure full understanding and do more than you’re asked to demonstrate enthusiasm and excellence.

> “Look up, look forward, look out” – Sacha highlighted the importance of grasping every opportunity and constantly looking to grow, for optimum success within the firm.

Throughout the internship I aimed to keep these 3 crucial pieces of advice in the forefront of my mind; leading to the creation of this blog post to encourage future interns to do the same and show what opportunities can arise by doing so!

Creating Opportunities

Put yourself in the best position to take advantage of opportunities – here I refer back to point 1 and 2 of the key advice: “relate your task back to the bigger picture” and “always ask why”. Taking on board these qualities makes you more engaged, allows you to fully understand the tasks requirements and the reasons behind its completion and ultimately be more confident and produce a higher quality of work. This will lead to more responsibility as people recognise your ability and enthusiasm and puts you in the best position for exposure to opportunities.  

— TIP: Take genuine interest in people and their roles, and ask inquisitive questions! —

Another obvious but often overlooked quality is taking a GENUINE INTEREST in people’s careers and ASKING INQUISITIVE QUESTIONS. This can lead to secondments in different service lines, for example, that allow you to gain a wider business awareness and a better idea of the opportunities that lie in your future with GT. Despite being an audit intern, I was fortunate enough to gain some experience working with the Growth 365 team. G365 is a tailored service for ambitious CEOs and leaders of mid-sized businesses, providing focused advice and putting plans into action for their growth vision. The aim of my project was to build a picture of the South West in terms of the business landscape – what companies are here, their size, their sector in order to effectively tailor marketing and business development to specific sectors and businesses. It was a great experience, however involved a high level of excel expertise… which was not my forte!!

— TIP: Take initiative! —

Which leads onto my next point, TAKE INITIATIVE!  There may be times in the 6 weeks where your work load is low (people may be waiting for information to be attained before they can set your task), think about your weaknesses and use this time to increase your job efficiency or expertise. For me, excel was a weakness as I have never been required to utilise this platform at university or in part-time employment. It is highly relied upon in this line of work so SCRUB UP ON YOUR EXCEL SKILLS PRIOR TO EMPLOYMENT! In this respect, opportunities can be used as a word to resemble the learning and development that can take place if you put in the effort and fully utilise the resources available (i.e. pdfs, excel demonstrations and the business school (on the intranet, if current interns are unaware!)).

Recognising and Grasping Opportunities

I’d like to say this medal commemorates the momentous occasion of securing this highly sought after placement, however it’s a medal for something much more significant – my debut as 5-aside football team captain! I was asked if I would be willing to play in a 5-aside football tournament for a networking event set up by the corporate finance team one lunch time, an opportunity I could not let pass! A variety of different businesses such as NatWest, HSBC, Womble Bond Dickinson, Burges Salmon and many more attended – a great day in the sunshine and a great experience to represent GT. I was not, however, told prior to the event that I would be captain! I was introduced to my team – 5 men, all very successful in the corporal world, with me, a 2nd year university student interning at GT as their captain, with absolutely no idea how to play 5-aside football! Nevertheless, we were victorious!! Returning home with a shiny medallion to honour the experience! Not only did this opportunity introduce me to the corporate finance team and allow me to network with other established business professionals, it also gave me the chance to inquire about spending my final week of the internship with the CF team to ensure I return to university fully aware of the opportunities that can lie in my future.

I suppose what I am trying to signify is: don’t let a moment pass. Don’t doubt yourself, your ability to play 5-aside football or your ability to network with professionals – let nothing be your excuse. With no excuses comes more opportunities and development.

Grant Thornton wants you to develop and create your own path – take full advantage of this!!

By Hannah Sabine – Audit Intern

Intern to Partner: What could your career at Grant Thornton look like?

As an intern going into his final year at university I have recently been doing a lot of research into various graduate jobs, and often find myself left with the same question, “what would a career at ‘X’ look like?” Therefore, I have decided to ask around the office, and compile a rough guide of what a career at Grant Thornton could look like. As part of the Entrepreneurial & Private client tax team it is important to note that this account may reflect that of the more advisory roles within the firm.

Summer internship (6 weeks)

Aimed at students in their penultimate year at university, this is the first step in your long, and hopefully successful career here at Grant Thornton. If successful this role can lead to a place on the graduate scheme. As a current intern myself, these 6 weeks are all about learning, trying everything and anything.

The first week consists of a mixture of inductions that help to integrate you into the company’s ethos, and network with the other interns. For the rest of your time here you are acting effectively as an associate, and therefore get a great deal of exposure to all the different types of work your team will do. A particular highlight for myself was accompanying two of my managers to a lunch meeting with some private bankers in Mayfair!

Associate (2-3 years)

You join the graduate scheme as an associate; these first 2-3 years are often the hardest in any job. The adjustment to working life, undertaking exams (usually ACA, but can vary depending on your service line), and learning from the bottom up. Most associate’s view this as a sort of rite of passage, learning the fundamental skills that will allow them to advance further down the line. This common struggle helps to unite the associates, and leads to a real sense of comradery.

Secondments to different service lines are available allowing you to explore what suits you and your skills suit best. A common theme expressed amongst those I have spoken to is that Grant Thornton is incredibly flexible and accommodating to its associates, many of whom are still trying to find what best suits them.

Executive

No longer the most junior members of the team, and now a qualified chartered accountant/ tax professional. This is the next step, and a common theme amongst the executives I interviewed was a sense of satisfaction at being able to implement their new skills and knowledge on a daily basis. By this stage hopefully you would have found the right service line for you, and can start consolidating your expertise in your chosen field. In my team at least, it is not uncommon to start specialising in a particular type of client or work within the service line itself.

Manager – Senior Manager – Director

At this point the focus switches to building up client relations, not to say you will not have had client contact before, but now you are at the focal point of this interaction. I have grouped these roles together as essentially the skills and responsibilities required just amplify as you progress. This is where your ‘soft skills’ and leadership ability really come into play, as a manager you will often be responsible for the new associates, helping to guide them through the start of their career. As you move through management your responsibility for those more junior increases. As I am working in a predominately advisory team, it seems to me that seniority correlates with client lunches, and therefore is definitely a goal to strive for.

Partner

This for many is the end goal of a career in financial services company, a job that requires high levels of client interaction, responsibility, and unparalleled expertise. Usually when becoming an equity partner you must “buy into the business”, and therefore share in the profits. Partners are definitely revered throughout the firm, and rightly so, for many it is the end of 15 year+ journey, but for me what was surprising was how accommodating and approachable they were. This is in part due to the shared enterprise mentality adopted by Grant Thornton which in my experience emphasises collaboration and communication from top to bottom of the business.

 

By James Tomalin – Tax intern

Perfecting my presentation – Bradenham

Hi everyone! This blog is going to be about my time at Bradenham, and will hopefully be useful for future interns when they first start at the firm!

So the main focus of Bradenham is to improve your presentation skills, setting you up well for the final presentation at the end of the internship. After arriving at the manor house and having some lunch, we jumped straight into some workshops. To begin with, we were tasked with creating an elevator pitch. This exercise really helped identify the key facts and strengths that you would want to tell someone if you had limited time, such as at a networking event or conference. Shortly following this, we had 30 seconds to deliver our pitches in front of our groups, with very little preparation time. Because of this, it gave some practice on off the top presenting, and allowed areas of strength and weakness to be identified.

Following a coffee and cake break, we next looked at presentation structures. A TED Talks video (https://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks) helped highlight a shared structure that all great speeches have shared, ranging from Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream speech’, to Steve Job’s iPhone release talk. Building upon the structure, many great speeches were shown to use humour to add effect, alongside asking the audience questions and interacting with them. Repetition of important themes and take home points throughout the talks can help emphasise key ideas, and speakers can connect with their audiences by making the talks personal. This session provided so many tips and pointers that you can use to help create your final presentation, or for presentations at university. We also started to look at the CROSSOFF methods that can be applied to presentations as well.

In the evening we had lots of free time after dinner to relax. On site there’s a pub that we all went to, where we watched the Argentina v Nigeria World Cup game, followed by Love Island. Next morning after breakfast, we started more workshops. In groups, we were tasked with presenting on different aspects of work that Grant Thornton are working on, such as how the firm is working to restore Trust and Integrity back into markets. This task was a challenge as we were only given 40 minutes to create a 10 minute presentation to deliver as a group. It really helped develop team working skills, especially given the time pressure. Additionally, it gave us a first chance to use some of the newly learnt presentation tips.

Finally, the last task was for everyone to create their own presentation on a chosen subject. This had to be 5 minutes long, and like before, we were given a limited amount of time to prepare it. This final presentation helped bring together everything we learnt during our time at Bradenham, from body language and presentation structure, to tonality and dealing with time pressure. Overall, my time at Bradenham was amazing, and it’s definitely something that you will be looking forward to when you start as an intern!

By Lucas Price – Audit Intern

Five Weeks In and I Do Not Want to Leave! My Internship Experience So Far

I joined Grant Thornton on the 4th of June 2018 as a summer intern in audit for six weeks. My internship began with a day of induction where we met our resource coordinator, but also had talks with people in the office about Quality, Ethics and Excellence. It was a great chance to meet my fellow interns, but also to get the feel of the firm that we were going to be a part of for the next few weeks. We received our laptops, which was very exciting and were shown all the IT tools that the company uses to stay organized and connected.

On just my second day in the firm, I was sent out to client site, which although intimidating at first, was one of the best experiences I had. I met my team, who were all lovely people that made me feel welcomed and were keen to answer any queries I had. For the next 3 weeks, I was on client site mostly, with a new client each week and a new audit team. This gave me the necessary client exposure, which was one of the goals that I wanted to achieve at the start of my internship. The work I was given to do was diverse and quite challenging at times, but it felt rewarding once I saw that it was contributing to the overall audit. Everything I was doing linked with each other and I slowly began to understand a little more of what audit is. I completed various tests for different items on financial statements, spoke to clients with the guidance of my team and that propelled me forward, motivating me each step of the way. Everybody I worked with was genuinely nice and always reassured me that they were there should I need any help; that is the one thing that stood out to me about Grant Thornton from day one: the people. Ultimately the people make a firm and everybody at Grant Thornton wants you to succeed, ask questions and most importantly make you feel like you are a part of their family.

Grant Thornton were fantastic in organizing events for us. On our second week, we had a pre joiner’s pizza and drinks event at the Finsbury Square office, where all interns and new joiners attended in order for us to meet and network. It was such a relaxed and enjoyable event, which included a speed dating game, in order for everyone to have the chance to meet as many people as possible. Everyone clearly enjoyed the game and it was an amazing opportunity to speak to people in the same position as me, but also school leavers and graduates joining later in the year. The following week we had our national intern and placement conference, which was definitely one of the highlights of my internship. Interns and placement students from other regional offices came to the London office to join us for the day and a half conference. The conference kicked off with various people, including partners from audit, tax and advisory that came to speak to us about the firm, but also about their experience at Grant Thornton. This was then followed by an interesting version of bingo, which was also structured in a way that made sure we all had a chance to speak to one another. The conference closed off by an evening of bowling and drinks, where we all shared laughs, got to know each other a little better and obviously attempted to bowl a strike! The second day of the conference was opened by our CEO, Sacha Romanovitch, who came to speak to us about her journey, the obstacles she faced and how we could enrich our experience during our time here. I appreciated so much that she took time from her schedule, to come and speak to us and I found all her tips and lessons very useful for my future.

Another pinnacle moment of my internship, was our day and a half trip to Bradenham. This is the place that Grant Thornton employees go for training, located in High Wycombe. The manor house is surrounded by greenery and picturesque views, making it a relaxing place for training and a nice break from the office. We went there to enhance our presentation skills and learned so many tips and tricks in order to nail our final week presentation. We were a total of eighteen interns from London and other regional offices, which made it easy for us to bond and get to know one another. The weather was glorious and all of us enjoyed laying down on the lawn to soak in as much sun as possible. We did various group and individual exercises around presentation skills and I can safely say that I left Bradenham feeling much more confident in public speaking and presenting. All these events helped me expand my network, but they also taught me how to distress, relax and enjoy the company of the people around me.

I am currently in the fifth week of my internship that will soon be coming to an end. I met amazing people, gained the necessary client exposure and become more confident in myself. I achieved these goals with the help of everyone that I worked with and that is something that I will most certainly never forget. My experience so far at Grant Thornton has been nothing short of astounding and my six weeks here will definitely be missed!

By Marianna Emmanouilidou – Audit Summer Intern

Five Top Tips for before you start as an Intern at Grant Thornton

Before I started my internship at Grant Thornton I was really unsure of what and how to prepare. Or even if there is any preparation necessary. As a result, I decided to share my five top tips for anyone starting next.

  1. Prepare for the rollercoaster – catch up on sleep

It is fair to say that there is a massive contrast between university and the workplace. One of which is laziness and sleep. As a result it is important that you prepare yourself for the roller coaster that is about to unfold. Make sure to get caught up on sleep and get into a routine of waking up early. Otherwise, you will anticipate a massive shock to the system. There is no being lazy at work so be sure to prepare yourself.

  1. Make sure you have the wardrobe to match

I am not saying that it is necessary for you to go out and spend a fortune, just make sure that you have the essentials (comfy pair of shoes, at least!). We are lucky enough to work with the amazing Grant Thornton policy of ‘Dress for your Diary’, so it is not a massive issue. However, if you are out with a client you will be representing Grant Thornton and should be dressed accordingly.

Furthermore, I found that in the first couple weeks I was really appreciative to have purchased a new suitcase. Although each trip down to London is only a day or two, it is good to have the space to not crush everything in a bag. Therefore, I’d highly recommend the purchase if you have not got a good hand luggage case already.

  1. If there are any events going on to meet people, go along

It is always great to know recognisable faces before starting on your daunting first day. It also provides the opportunity of getting to know people outside the office. People are busy each day so to meet in social aspect initially, is a great advantage. I was invited along to a pizza and beer night before I started which was great fun. On that night, I was introduced to a lot of the people that I now work with on a daily basis.

  1. If you know any of the other interns that you will be working alongside, give them an add on Facebook

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the pizza and beer event before starting my internship. I ended up adding a fellow intern on Facebook and ended up travelling to our first induction day together. It really helped settle my nerves on the day since I was no longer alone. An opportunity that never would have happened if we had not added each other on Facebook. So I highly recommend sending a wave!

  1. Get Excited

As corny as it sounds, you are about to embark on an incredible six week roller coaster. It’s an amazing experience from the second you start. We are extremely privileged to get the opportunity to do an internship at Grant Thornton and have worked extremely hard for many years to get the chance. Therefore, get excited – this is what we worked for!

By Danielle Smith – Audit Summer Intern