1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am at present an associate (trainee) based in the Commercial Audit (private-sector) department. My day-to-day role includes assisting on a variety of clients in different industries in performing their statutory financial audit each year. Typically, I will be part of a team of 3-6 people depending on the size of the engagement. At present, I am now performing testing on higher risk areas including revenues, valuations of stock and general management override of control risks. I am also engaged in interacting with different schools, maintaining the relationship between the firm and the school/college as part of our recruitment and support initiatives. I have also part-taken in business development activities to research and target potential clients that we could service in the coming future.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am currently training on the school-leaver programme in which I joined the firm straight after completing my A-levels. I am at present studying towards my final level of AAT (level 4) after already completing my AAT level 3 last year. After this year, I look forward to beginning my study toward the ACA programme and becoming a chartered accountant with the ICAEW. Both qualifications are funded by the firm entirely.
Some profession and technical skills I have developed include: Financial analysis, auditing, financial reporting, variance analysis, audit of internal controls and competence on Microsoft Excel.
Personal skills I have also gained include: Team working, leadership, professional communications, relationship building and coaching.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the programme given the wide variety of opportunities and experiences I have been exposed to from day one. Additionally, it is not simply a case of being thrown in the deep end from day one and seeing how well you survive, the support is 100% there to ensure both you and the firm are getting the best out of work available. The firm culture is open, ambitious and collaborative. This programme exceeded my expectations of what I would experience and I have found it one of the best decisions I have made in choosing a school leaver programme over university.
4. How valued do you feel by Grant Thornton?
There are many internal recognition initiative including a reward system for demonstrating the 'CLEARR' values of the firm. This includes, collaboration, leadership, agility, responsibility and resilience. Points can be awarded to individuals by their colleagues and redeemed to spend on a variety of goods and experiences - like an online John Lewis!
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The AAT programme aligns itself very well for those candidates who have not studied Accounting before. There is a clear distinction between your study progression and your firm progression. The firm also allows the taking of study leave (toil) which other Accounting firms do not offer.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support at 'Kaplan' where I study is excellent. The tutors have either come from practise and/or have an extensive level of experience in teaching their select subjects. Nearly all tutors also are qualified under the given qualification they are teaching.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Each employee is allocated a 'people manager' upon joining the firm. People managers are incredibly supportive with any issues you generally come across or any questions which arise during your time with the firm.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Very well, although I am at present living at home still and as such my salary is barely touched each month! Regardless of this, the salary is still very competitive for a school leaver programme.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are indeed a variety of clubs and societies that individuals can join. These vary from sports teams (football, cricket, netball) to the general social club which puts on work socials such as nights out which are nearly always fully-funded.
9. Would you recommend Grant Thornton to a friend?
Grant Thornton is a professional services firm. However, unlike the larger giants of our field, it is able to offer a steep growth in ones development before they qualify together with the opportunities to work on larger clients like that of the Big 4. Additionally, you are encouraged to contribute to the department and ultimately be recognised as an individual rather just a number within the firm.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Grant Thornton?
To get some real insight and valuable advice before starting and during your application, take a read of our trainee blog sight traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk. This is written by our trainees for potential trainees. Again, this is a dedicated sight for potential recruits which no other large Accountancy firm offers.
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