Tag Archives: Qualification

Guest Blog – My ACA Experience

Fifteen exams seems an awfully long way off when you start your ACA journey, but now having completed the e-assessments I am well on that journey, with ‘only’ nine exams left in three sittings.

The certificate level ACA consists of six e-assessments: Accounting, Assurance and Law are sat in the first sitting, whilst Principles of Tax, Management Information and Business and Finance are sat in the second sitting. Grant Thornton chooses to do it this way, as then you are out at college for a few weeks at a time, not sporadically in and out of the office, and therefore causing minimal disruption.

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CIPFA Specials 1 – Aditi’s Guest Blog

I’m Aditi and I joined the Public Sector Audit department at the Grant Thornton Bristol Office in August last year along with eight others. We were introduced to a wide range of new experiences in our first month, including Talent 14, Breaking Records at Bradenham Manor, and attending college at the CIFPA Education and Training Centre (CETC) in Birmingham.   In this  blog , I’m going to share my experiences of college, and shed some light on the ever-evolving CIPFA syllabus. Read this post

My first…”in-charge role (part 1)”

If you’ve read about the graduate programme on our careers website then you may have come across the following phrase…”You’ll work with some really exciting clients across a variety of sectors and could be leading clients and assignments in your second year.” When I was applying I read this and thought that this sounded like a really exciting prospect – I was impressed by the rapid level of responsibility, however I don’t think I really understood the true meaning of leading clients and assignments. Fast-forward two years and here I am, in my second year and about to start leading my first assignment tomorrow morning. This is my story of what leading an assignment really means and how I have prepared for my change in role. Read this post

Our CLEARR Values

Hey guys!

I’m Emily, I work in the audit department in Cambridge and I’m also one of the CLEARR representatives for the office. You are probably thinking what on earth is CLEARR? So, I thought I’d enlighten you as to what CLEARR is, how it makes a real difference at Grant Thornton, why we are very proud of it and what being a CLEARR representative entails…

At Grant Thornton, we share six core values across all the offices in the world so that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. CLEARR stands for:

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All You Need to Know: ATT to CTA

A major consideration when applying for a role in a professional services firm like Grant Thornton is the choice of professional qualifications. There are various acronyms floating around for professional finance qualifications and some can seem very familiar. At Grant Thornton, we offer ACA, ACCA, AAT and ICAS on the accountancy side and ATT and CTA for tax.

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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…

Open Door Policy

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’ve recently qualified with CTA from the Liverpool office where I work in the tax department.

As part of qualifying with CTA, all newly qualified trainees get the chance to have a day in London where the national leadership board fling the doors open and we get to see the various opportunities which are available to us now we’ve passed our exams.

I managed to get talking to Ian Smart, a member of our national leadership board and London Office Managing Partner (OMP). This was ideal, because I was really interested in his role and our London services. A few days later I bit the bullet and email Ian to see if he could put up with me for a few days…. I wanted to work shadow him!

Ian was really receptive and enthusiastic and thought it was a great idea and agreed with no reservation. So we set the wheels in motion, agreed an appropriate time scale for us both and before I knew it I was at the doors of the London Finsbury Square office ready for my first day of work shadowing.

Of course I was a little nervous, but Ian showed a great interest from the beginning which set my mind at ease. Ian helped me to feel like an equal and show how my development was really important.

Throughout the week I got to take part in some really interesting meetings and got an incomparable insight into the senior levels of our firm. I couldn’t believe what I was able to be involved in; me a newly qualified tax adviser from Liverpool in a London office management meeting! Who would have thought it!?

It truly was an amazing learning experience and also a great opportunity to meet lots of new people in varying positions within the firm, all of whom went out of their way to answer any questions I had and help me meet my objectives.

Having been with other firms I honestly believe this kind of ‘open door’ policy within a professional practice is so rare and its something I am really excited about.

Grant Thornton truly is a place that encourages a curious mind to flourish. The level of transparency across the board contributes to a great learning and working environment giving us all the vital ingredients to help us grow in our careers. All we need to do is ask!

The Secret Life of an Audit Manager

I joined Grant Thornton in 1984 as a trainee, studying for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators exams (which focuses on Company Law, but also includes accountancy, audit and tax). I passed the exams and was admitted as an associate member of ICSA in February 1987.

Later that year I started the ACA training, and passed the first 8 exams. Sadly, just before I sat my final 4 exams my father died – and although I went ahead and sat the exams my mind was not ‘in gear’, and I was unsuccessful in one of the four papers. The credit system did not exist back then, which meant I had to re-sit all 4 papers, which I did, but again was unsuccessful in the same paper. I tried for a third time, but got the same result.

The firm was very supportive, allowing me to continue my career with my ICSA qualification and by that time knowing the work I was capable of carrying out. By then I was an audit senior and shortly afterwards was promoted to assistant manager and then manager.

I have always been a strong believer in personal development, and working as a line manager, training manager and assessor at the Development Centres I have taken a keen interest over the years in the development of the firm’s trainees. However, I felt there was something missing for me in not having an accountancy qualification, and I was sad that the qualification had eluded me earlier in my career.

In 2006 I made the decision that I wanted to gain an accountancy qualification. I recognised that it would be hard work and challenging, but it felt an important step in my own professional development. It also felt important to honour the work that I do, and my career that, even after many years, remains stimulating, motivating and very rewarding. With the support and encouragement of my office assurance partners and Office Managing Partner, I registered with the ACCA. I would have to take 9 exams to enable me to qualify. I was surprised that they had granted me some exemptions because of my ICSA qualification – after all I had taken these exams more than 20 years earlier!

I decided to do the studying by distance learning, and the books for the first 2 exams arrived in January 2010. It has been hard work since then, keeping up with the demands of the ‘day job’ as a senior assurance manager, studying in the evenings and weekends (for all the trainees – I really do understand what trainees face!) and trying to maintain my home and social life!!

The subjects have been wide-ranging: the audit and financial & corporate reporting have been based on international standards (which has been good to learn), and I have also taken exams in financial and business management, business strategy and analysis and tax. I have enjoyed the learning, up-dating my knowledge, and reading some really interesting and informative articles (especially around business analysis).

I sat my first exams in June 2010, and was so happy when I passed them. I sat a further 2 in December 2010 (and passed), 3 in June 2011 (and passed) and the final 2 in December 2011. I got the results on Monday (13 February) and was over the moon when I read the words “pass” against both papers. In fact, I think I’m still smiling!