Tag Archives: Location

Location Blog Special – Manchester

Hi, I’m Richard from the Manchester office’s corporate tax department. I have recently qualified as a chartered accountant (ACA) and am now training towards the CTA qualification.

The Manchester office is in the heart of a the central business district of Manchester, which is a 15 minute walk from the Piccadilly and Oxford Road train stations. Grant Thornton comprises of the top two floors of a five floor building and is home to around 250 employees.

The office has a full Grant Thornton service offering, which means our office covers audit, tax, VAT, employer solutions, tax investigations, recovery and reorganisation, corporate finance, business risk services, government infrastructure advisory and public sector audit.

Each year, the office takes on around 12 trainees, four of which head over to tax with the remaining eight taking up the audit spaces. Of the twelve, around half come from the accelerate programme which gives our office a youthful feel.

In terms of clients, our office has specialisms within the property, construction, retail and food and beverages industries. However, given our size and scope, we provide services to a wide range of owner-managed business as well as several listed companies.

Manchester itself is one of the largest cities in the UK and accommodates for the largest student community in Europe, meaning the nightlife is fantastic. There is a wide variety of bars, nightclubs and restaurants so there is plenty of ways to spend that hard earned cash. I have lived in Manchester since August 2009 and accommodation costs are more than reasonable.

Given the large number of trainees that work from the office, the social scene is always busy with nights frequently organised throughout the year – as a bonus we have a double Christmas party (one for the office and one for the sports and social committee).

Location Blog Special – Ipswich

Hi I’m Emily, I joined Grant Thornton last year as a school leaver in the Ipswich office, so I thought I would let you know what our office is like.

The Ipswich office is based in the centre of town in a large office block (Crown House). Our office is also right next to a swimming pool and gym which is perfect if you want to do some exercise after a day in the office. The office is opposite many shops so you can pop in and get some food or do some shopping if need be but it does mean you can end up spending lots of money in the town at lunch. Luckily as an audit trainee you tend to spend lots of time out at various clients in different locations.

The office is modestly sized with approximately 40-50 people, this makes for an incredibly close nit office. The office has a number of social events throughout the year with monthly pizza and refreshments quiz nights, charity runs, football tournaments, Christmas parties and more. Our office takes on, on average 4 or 5 new starters each year – usually 2 school leavers and 2 graduates for audit as well as a new starter in tax. We also take on 2 interns each year who are in their penultimate year at university, who join the office for a 6 week taster. The Ipswich office is fast growing and at the minute we are winning lots of new and exciting clients including a lot of work in Essex which is perfect for those living around Colchester but also nice for those living around Ipswich as it is only a short drive or train journey.

Our clients tend to be mainly construction and logistics but we also have various other industries such as car dealerships, insurance companies as well as many more. The varied size of clients means that while you get to work in big teams it is also ideal for new starters as it allows you to in-charge some smaller jobs and gain responsibility nice and early in your career providing a rounded experience.
Ipswich is a friendly town. Accommodation prices around here are very affordable compared to all the larger cities which means you will get more for your money.

Overall, this is an incredibly dynamic office which seems to be growing year on year, as such the Ipswich office is a great place to develop with lots of opportunities for promotion.

If you are considering Ipswich and would like to know more about locating here, please check out Victor’s relocation blog for guidance and tips. In addition if you have any questions please let me know by commenting under the blog or raising the query on the forum.

Location Blog Special – Norwich

Hi, I’m Victor and I work in the tax department of the Norwich office. The office is only a few years old following a recent relocation. It boasts beautiful views as its next to the River Wensum, close to Norwich cathedral and only 10 min walk to the city centre.

The office is made up of many departments including audit and a variety of tax based services; corporate tax, employer solutions, trust and personal tax services.

The office recruits somewhere between four and seven trainees per year so there is always someone you can speak to for advice and support. As with all Grant Thornton offices there are always opportunities for further development. You may choose to just focus on advancing in your current role so progressing from associate to executive and onwards. You may also choose to take a secondment to another office in one of our 27 locations or even to one of the Grant Thornton International offices around the world. Recently one of the auditors has taken such an opportunity in New Zealand having recently qualified.

The clients in this region are tremendously varied across the various departments. So audit will deal with a lot of land and rural business, food and drink, construction and manufacturing. However the tax based services have a much wider portfolio as they will provide services to clients based across all of the offices in East Anglia. These will include clients in the technology industry, retail, telecoms and haulage industries just to name a few.

The Norwich office is incredibly sociable with seasonal events all year round. This is mostly due to the great work that our social committee do to organise these events. Most notably the summer barbecue outside our office on the riverside. It is a major highlight in the calendar with team events all evening and plenty of great food.

Having recently relocated to Norwich I was instantly struck by the relaxed and friendly way of life. In addition, the city has a lot to offer including a busy nightlife, loads of high street shops and trendy boutiques as well as plenty of sports clubs to keep you active and healthy. They say that at one point, Norwich had a pub for every day of the year, now whilst I am saddened to say that this no longer the case, most do still remain.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more let me know by leaving a message under the blog or by typing something on the forum.

Location Blog Special – Leicester

Hi, I’m Laura, a trainee from our Leicester office. The office is based over two floors in Regent House, in the city centre, with Audit and Business Services Group taking the ground floor, and Tax being upstairs. Our office managing partner is Chris Frostwick, an audit partner, but in total there are 10 partners and directors. We are an ever growing office, having acquired another accountancy practice at the beginning of the year, and 2012 is the biggest intake for new starters, with five in Audit and two in Tax.

The office dynamic is fairly relaxed: all the desks are open plan and partner’s doors are always open. Office hours are 8.30am until 5pm, but there are usually people around before and after that. We have a ‘hot desk’ policy here in audit, so managers have their own desk, but other staff are free to sit where they like ? which is a good way to get to know different people.

With a graduate and school leaver in take every year, there is always somebody who has been where you are. Although I am from Leicestershire, some of the graduates in my intake have relocated from all over, and from all different academic backgrounds, so there really is no odd one out. (I should know, I studied languages!)

The office is based centrally to the city, just a short walk away from the High Cross shopping centre, and equally a stone’s throw from Leicester train station. It takes less than an hour on the train to get to Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham, and the fast train to London is roughly an hour long. We are about half an hour from East Midlands Airport, and the M1, M42, M69 and M6 are all easily reachable from the city.

Having two universities in Leicester can give the city a real student feel during term time, and it means that there is plenty of affordable accommodation in and around the city centre. There also seems to be new buildings going up all the time, so there are some neat new apartment buildings for something more professional. If you don’t fancy living in the city centre, there are some quite nice areas on the outskirts of Leicester with good transport links into the city, that offer something a bit different.

In Leicester, you cannot ignore the amazing cultural diversity that we enjoy. You can eat from a different cuisine every night of the week, and the ‘Golden Mile’ for curry houses is a must do. Sports fans can take advantage of Leicestershire County Cricket ground 10 minutes away from the office, Leicester Tigers Rugby, which can be seen from the upper windows of the office, and the King Power Stadium for Football, again within walking distance.

In fact, the office Christmas party was held at the King Power last year, and it was a great night. We had a black tie dress code, and it was brilliant to see partners and trainees alike all dressed up, although I know in the past the party has been fancy dress! The office holds a few social events in the year, from barbecues, to a night at the races, to team building events. With our office being based over two floors, they are great opportunities to find out more about people who don’t necessarily work in your department. Also, LENCASS, the society for accountancy students in Leicestershire, holds regular events for trainees from all the firms in the area.

As far as the work is concerned, the clients are quite varied. We do have a fair few Motor Retail clients in Leicester, but so far I have found myself working on clients who make labels, provide e-learning resources, sell caravans, build houses, and a specialist school, to name a few. Despite most of the clients being based in the Midlands area ( Leicester, Nottingham, Derby) I have worked away in Manchester, London and Wrexham, and even lent a hand in the Belfast office so far. When they say two days are never the same, they aren’t lying!
Leicester has a lot to offer the Grant Thornton trainee, for work and for play. I hope I have done Leicester justice, but please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.

Location Blog Special – Bristol

In previous blogs I have mentioned travelling around the Southwest and Wales as part of my client work but as my home base is the firm’s Bristol Office I’m writing the profile for both the office and the magnificent city of Bristol itself.

The office is located in the City Quarter, not far from Temple Meads railway station, on two floors of a modern office building. It’s home to around 200 staff mainly split across audit, tax, corporate finance and recovery and reorganisation. We also have other disciplines including Government Infrastructure & Advisory, Forensic accounting services and Risk Assurance. This year the office took on eight new trainees, with the majority in audit and tax.

The audit team, which is made up of our commercial and public sector audit departments (of which I’m a member), is the largest by head count and this will grow once we are joined by over 50 audit commission colleagues in November 2012. The office will then be the dominant public sector audit provider in the Southwest, which is a great reason to apply for our public sector training scheme roles in Bristol.

The office has good facilities, two kitchens, one with a large plasma screen which major sporting events or for colleagues in tax the budget are screened on. We also have showers and secure cycle storage for our cycling colleagues. There’s a good deal of socialising and Bristol has plenty to offer in this regard.

Like Nick said about Southampton, the city has two large universities so night life isn’t a problem. There’s also tonnes of cultural and historic attractions, from the SS Great Britain, street art galore (as the home to Banksy) and the floating harbour with its waterside bars and restaurants. My favourite is the grain barge which is a floating pub with live music venue on the lower decks. We don’t do badly for culture either, and last Saturday I went to see the Lion King musical at the Hippodrome which was AWESOME! We’ve also got lots of sporting opportunities, I have taken part in the Bristol 10k and Bath 100 cycle sportive and a number of my colleagues compete in the Bristol Downs football league.

Many trainees live in Clifton which is a lively place to live. It’s also home to Bristol Zoo which is awesome in itself, but there’s also tonnes of cafes, bars and shops. I’m told rents are reasonable but I opted to live further out in Downend which is to the north east of the city centre where my rent is definitely great value. Being a bit further out is also ideal for me as it gives me easy access to the countryside around Bristol for cycling and walking, including the national arboretum at Westonbirt. I’m only a short bike ride along the cycle way to Bath with all that city has to offer. Even though I’m now an accountant now, I’m an ecologist by trade and can’t stay away from getting my hands dirty on a weekend, so it also made sense to live further out of town as there was a much shorter allotment waiting list where I now live.

If I had to summarise the three main reasons Bristol is a great city live and work in they’d be, in no particular order:

1) The office is growing and full of opportunities with major clients ranging from motor, retail and manufacturing companies to high net worth individuals and owner managed businesses, and we are about to become the primary supplier of audit services to public sector bodies in the Southwest.

2) The city is full of things to do in terms of nightlife, history, culture and sport. There’s always something going on.

3) The city is a gateway to the South Coast and Wales with stunning countryside all around. Oh and Glastonbury is pretty much on our doorstep!

Location Blog Special – Cambridge

Hi, my name’s Astrid and I’ve been working in the Cambridge office’s audit team for just over three years.

The Cambridge office is located on the science park at the edge of the city. We actually moved here (from the business park over the road!) last year so the office still has a brand new feel with shiny kitchen trinkets and also a pool table and television to entertain us at lunch. It’s a large three-storey building, and we occupy one side of the ground floor. The office is completely open plan which gives it a very friendly atmosphere (eg the audit partners actually sit about five steps from the audit hot-desks) and everyone is approachable.

We have quite a range of departments with around 80 employees across all of them. There is the expected audit & tax departments but then also recovery & reorganisation, corporate finance, transaction advisory services and financial planning. Again, due to the open plan nature of the office its very easy to speak to people from other departments and to gain an understanding of what everybody does. In the past we were part of the East Anglia region, so worked closely with Norwich and Ipswich. More recently though East Anglia have joined forces with the Central region, which will see us strengthen ties with Milton Keynes, Kettering & Leicester.

In terms of clients, being based in a hub such as Cambridge, we do have quite a number of research & development and technology clients. These can vary from small start-ups to AIM listed companies and the work they do is quite often mind-boggling. We do still have a range of clients in other sectors though such as housing associations, manufacturing & engineering, publishing and retail.

Being a relatively small place you do tend to get to know your peers at other firms relatively well. Trainees attend college with people from other Cambridge firms (all of the Big 4 have offices here and there are a number of much smaller firms too) and there is also a Cambridge Young Professionals Group which puts on events each month. The office is a social place and we’re actually gearing up for our summer boat party as I write.

I should say that I found myself in the Cambridge office due to other offices filling up during the application process. I had never been here before I came for my interview (contrary to popular belief, not all of the Cambridge staff went to Cambridge university), but, for lack of a better cliche, I haven’t looked back. As everyone knows, Cambridge is a historic university town and the city centre is awash from impressive university buildings and picturesque views, such as the famous view of Kings College from The Backs. Before moving, I had no idea what a ‘punt’ was, aside from perhaps placing a cheeky bet on the football, but it is also the name for a bizarre gondola-type-boat that someone stands on the back of whilst using a pole to power and steer it. Punting is a great way of seeing some of Cambridge’s hidden treasures and it never fails to amuse as punters invariably wobble whilst trying to steer, get their poles stuck in the river bed or under a bridge and, at the end it all, perhaps fall in. There are also museums, galleries, nice places to eat and the shopping isn’t half bad. Moreover, London is only a 50 minute train journey away, with at least four trains going every hour.

All in all, Cambridge is a fun place to be and the work is varied and interesting. Should you have any questions about working here, or at Grant Thornton in general, then please do follow-me on Twitter, GT_Astrid and ask away.

Location Blog Special – Leeds

Hi, I’m Phil and I’m an audit trainee working within the Leeds office. The Leeds office is one of the larger of Grant Thornton’s UK offices, with around 200 members of staff in total across a variety of service lines. The office itself is at No 1 Whitehall Riverside, a brand-new building alongside the River Aire, just a two minute walk from the train station and the heart of the city centre. Grant Thornton occupies two floors of the building, where other tenants include Cobbetts LLP and Bank of New York Mellon, meaning there are plenty of networking opportunities available with young professionals from other firms close by.

The Leeds office covers a broad range of clients across most business sectors (Yorkshire is a fairly sizeable region!) so it is fair to say you will have a varied workload if you come to work here. Particular commercial focuses for the office are in manufacturing, engineering, motor retail and food, which are historically strong industries in the North East region. There is also a large public sector service offering, covering some of the largest NHS Trusts and city councils in the country, so you can choose to specialise and train in this area if that is where your interests lie.

The audit department, of which I am a member, is the largest in the office. The team has about 70 staff in total, with approximately half of this number being made up of trainees, so the support network when you are studying for exams is really strong. An extension of this support is the ‘buddy system’ that we have, where trainees with 12 months or more of experience are partnered with more recent joiners to ensure the induction into working life is as smooth as possible. I know I found this to be very useful in my first few months and you find that a lot of questions your buddy will also have asked upon joining the firm! In addition, the management and partner team are very approachable should you have any queries of them; the ‘open door’ policy is another of things I enjoy about working here.

In recent years the Leeds office has taken on an increasing number of trainees, with the numbers this year increasing to 13 across September and January intakes. The majority of trainees will go into audit with around 1-2 joining the tax department, which although smaller than audit is still sufficiently large to offer a broad client base and variety of work. The high ratio of trainees to qualified staff makes for a strong social scene, which centres around our ‘Third Thursday’ drinks. These take place once a month and offer staff from all departments a chance to catch up, certainly beneficial for the auditors amongst us who spend all of their time out of the office at clients.

Leeds sits pretty much in the centre of Yorkshire, so it’s a great place both to live and as a base from which to explore the rest of the region. Sport, fashion and nightlife all have a strong presence in the city, yet a thirty minute drive can take you to the history of York or the tranquillity of the Dales National Park. As a Yorkshireman in exile for many years, it has been great to come back to the diversity of opportunity on offer here, both in and out of the workplace.

I hope that gives you a brief insight into what it might be like to work here. If you would like to know more please post on our forum here or tweet me @GT_Phil.

Location Blog Special – Cardiff

Hi everyone I’m Natalie and work in the Cardiff office. My aim as part of these location blogs is to give you an insight into this office which will hopefully aid your application process.

The Cardiff office is relatively small in relation to other Grant Thornton offices, but this was one of the selling points to myself as being part of a smaller team allows me to get to know my colleagues better with scope to take responsibility in the team. Set about a five minute drive from Cardiff city centre the office is in an easily accessible location opposite a lovely park which is great in the summer (if it ever stops raining!). One of the main benefits of being just outside town if the ease of parking and the savings on multi-storey fees!

The Cardiff office has a number of departments comprising of; commercial audit, public sector audit, tax, recovery and reorganisation and forensics investigation. The commercial audit department is made up of approximately eight trainees with a further three in public sector and one in tax. The office generally takes on three graduates a year, two for commercial and one from public sector. This can mean the posts get pretty competitive but please don?t let this put you off from applying. Tax graduates are not employed consistently each year in this office but rather when the position arises due to the small size of the team. Audit trainees joining the firm can expect to experience a vast majority of clients during their training contract across many locations. Grant Thornton are keen to involve junior team members in varied aspects of the client work, with key responsibilities from the outset, and so as a new graduate you can be expected to be involved in exciting but challenging work which always keeps the job interesting!

Like other offices the audit department “hot desk” as many of us are rarely in the office and are generally based at client sites. Our clients consist of lots of manufacturing firms but also include varied clients including a chocolatier, schools and charities. The office also specialists in auditing pension schemes. The fact that clients are varied gives us graduates a great insight into many different businesses with good opportunities to communicate with different personnel levels at each firm. Some trainees in the office are lucky enough to fly to Romania and Philadelphia each year for audit clients and so the opportunities to travel are exciting. As audit can involve quite a lot of travelling at times, a driving licence and a car is pretty essential! Since I have started I have worked across the UK and have loved the opportunity to visit different cities including Manchester, London and Belfast. Secondment opportunities are also available within the firm and a recently qualified trainee from the Cardiff office is currently on a 22 month secondment to Australia and is having a great time. The tax department however tend to spend the majority of their time in the office so if travelling is your thing audit would be a great experience.

The Cardiff office is closely linked with the Bristol office and so you can often find yourself working with a mix of staff from each office which is great for variety and sharing experiences and knowledge. This is particularly true on larger clients where more staff are required for the audit.

As trainees we are known to enjoy a few drinks after work on a Friday evening in the city centre and aim to have a good social life within the team. As an office we hold a summer party every year which has ranged from watching the 20:20 cricket last year to a comedy opera act this year with the whole office joining in and giving it a go! Christmas is also an opportunity for everyone to gather for lunch and a few glasses of wine to celebrate the holidays.

As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is a busy and vibrant city with great nightlife and many relaxed bars and restaurants. Known for the millennium stadium the city is also a great host to sport. The city centre has recently had a large new shopping centre which is great for spending your hard earned salary on the weekends but also has cultural visiting places such as the National Assembly for Wales, the Millennium Centre Theatre and Cardiff Castle.

If you have any questions about the Cardiff office please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or tweet at me through GT_Natalie.

Location Blog Special – Milton Keynes

Hi everybody. I am Fiona, one of the audit associates from the Milton Keynes office. I have started my role in January 2012 and I am going to share a bit of my life in the Milton Keynes office with all of you.

Milton Keynes office is located on Silbury Boulevard, one of the three main Boulevards in the area. The office is very easy to get to, there is plenty of parking (across the road) and both the train station and shopping centre are within 10 minute walk. We have the whole building to ourselves (well, almost!) and not surprisingly, the building is called ‘Grant Thornton House’. On the ground floor, we have our reception and various meeting rooms. On the first floor and second floor, we have our audit team (including hot desks) as well as our tax, corporate finance and HR teams. The third floor is mainly international tax, marketing and IT but this is also where we have a little break out area where people can sit and have their lunch – we also have a balcony and some benches so people can sit outside when the weather is nice.

The audit department has approximately 70 people, with around 25 trainees. In tax, the department is a bit smaller where we currently have only two trainees though this will be increasing to five from September 2012.

In terms of yearly intake, the Milton Keynes office takes approximately eight graduates and four school leavers in audit and one graduate and two school leavers in tax. Most staff in the office are young and we all get on really well.

The Milton Keynes office is part of the BBHEM business unit (soon to become Central business unit) and we therefore work closely with our Kettering and Leicester offices. We have a wide range of clients, for example, in education, housing associations, motor retailing, charities and other commercial clients. Our office also specialises in auditing pension schemes.

As mentioned above, most of our staff in the office are young, so we do have a lot of social activities. In July we have our office summer party which is amazing! This year we went to the local cricket club and we hired an ice cream van, bouncy castle, rodeo bull and also had a BBQ. The social and sports committee also organise activities like weekly badminton, squash, football, nights out?so it is definitely not all about work here! We also have a Friday ‘dress down’ day in the office.

Milton Keynes itself is a lively city, we have an impressive shopping centre and the ‘Xscape’ indoor skiing centre. Oxford and Cambridge are not that far way either and there are regular fast trains to London Euston.

I moved from a little seaside town called Skegness in Lincolnshire when I started at Grant Thornton. My accommodation is reasonably priced and it is only three miles from the office. In my opinion, the closer you live to the office, the better.

I hope I have given you all a little bit of insight on what life in Milton Keynes and our office is like. If you have any further queries about the office or the area, please don’t hesitate to query in this blog and I’ll be happy to respond.

Why I didn’t choose London…

Like Lucy, I started as part of the 2010 year intake with the exception that I started in January 2011 rather than September 2010. The late start varies in offices nationally as Grant Thornton staggers its graduate and school leaver intake. The extra time after University helped me to see the world and get the whole ‘gap year’ idea out of my head before diving into my career head first.

Whilst I went to Loughborough University, I’m a Portsmouth boy at heart so the move over to Southampton wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but now that I’m into my second year here, I feel well and truly at home in this city.

So London vs regional, that’s the point we’re getting onto here. Maybe I’ll start with this; in my opinion London is one of the best cities in the world. I love it. It’s vibrant, exciting, busy, scarily expensive, diverse and has so much to offer. I love the excitement I get whenever I get to see the beautiful architecture and fascinating history. It’s magical.

I ask myself this: if I were to be there everyday would I lose my love for the city’s magic? Would the more mundane Londoner things start to pull me down? Like getting wedged on the underground rush, struggling for a parking space, paying over the odds for a pint or living out of a one bedroom houseshare. These issues seem to be nonchalantly accepted by Londoners, but I personally think I’d struggle.

My setup in Southampton is quite different. On my admittedly non-London wage I am able to live in a nice apartment in a nice area of the city, only 20 minutes from the centre. I can see the Solent from my window, I have a secure parking space and some great B-roads not too far away. I can walk to work (through several parks) where I am familiar with everyone in my office and can be home by 5:30pm. These luxuries are dear to me and I know a move to London would generate a great deal of personal sacrifice.

I accept that Southampton doesn’t have a giant ferris wheel, nor does the Queen live here, but this city, along with so many other fantastic British cities, each offer something different in their own way. The more I visit different areas of this country, the more I realise that Britain has a lot to offer outside its capital, and the less I want to see the tube everyday.

It’s nice to know I’m only an hour away from London and, who knows, maybe in a couple of years time I’ll fancy doing a secondment to one of the Grant Thornton offices. For now though, I’m happy where I am and no giant gherkin can tempt me otherwise.