1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an Audit Associate within Grant Thornton. On a day-to-day basis I travel to clients offices, usually a couple of months after their financial year-end and audit the companies. We provide a level of assurance to shareholders on the financial statements produced. I am usually with a small team of other Auditors, all training either with AAT or ICAEW.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am currently studying AAT level 4, an accountancy qualification. I will then go onto study ACA, an extremely well regarding professional qualification. I have developed my inter-personal skills and ability to interact with clients, which is extremely important for my role.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I immensely enjoy the school leaver programme, and I am given a lot of opportunities to develop myself.
4. How valued do you feel by Grant Thornton?
Extremely valued. Grant Thornton have invested a huge amount of resources into me and my development. We have a strong internal recognition system, whereby you can receive CLEARR points (which you can spend) and E-cards, when you've demonstrated good work.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The whole basis of the programme is to pass my accountancy exams and therefore, the structure is not that important. Often my college dates work around the audit schedule.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As much support as I request from my training manager. Each office has a training manager in which they can go and see and discuss training queries.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Grant Thornton are very supportive towards me and give me an awful lot of freedom to decide my own development. For example, I can request to try a different department for a week or two, obviously as long as it is booked in, in advance.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I commute from Swindon to Bristol on the train. The job more than meets my costs and when I travel to clients, all additional expenditure is reimbursed through expenses.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is a Grant Thornton football tournament across the country every year. We have regular office drinks & social events to attend throughout the year. Within the Bristol office there are opportunities to get involved with the princess trust charity.
9a. Would you recommend Grant Thornton to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Grant Thornton is under going a huge amount of change at the moment, most of which has occurred as a result of our new CEO Sacha. She is the first CEO of such a large accountancy firm that has capped her salary to 20 times the average, which is unheard of in the industry. Her goal is to flatten the organisation and have one where the ideas come from all 4500 employees, oppose to just the partners of the business. Which if you think about it, makes absolute sense. Why would you have ideas restricted to such a small % of the workforce, when there is an abundance of amazing ideas that previously would never have even reached the senior leadership team and therefore, have no chance of becoming a reality.
Being a school leaver, I thought that I would treated differently to Graduates. I thought this was a given, based on them having obtained a degree, it seemed fair that they might do more challenging work or have more resources invested in them. To my surprise, we are treated the exact same, to the extent you cannot tell the difference between school leavers and grads.
It's difficult to describe culture, being intangible in nature. However, the culture in Grant Thornton is fantastic, totally supportive and inclusive of everyone. It's definitely a very exciting business to be a part of at the moment.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Grant Thornton? *
Make sure you do your homework on the firm. Learn as much as possible about it. This is good because an interviewer will be able to tell and also, it will help to decide whether you really like the firm, and want to be apart of it. Specifically, read up on our CLEARR objectives and there are various blogs online that go into detail on various areas of the process.
I found the assessment center very nerve-wracking! However, keep in your head that you only have 1 day, maybe even a couple of hours to impress someone. It's crazy to think someone has to make a decision on you in only one day, when they could be spending 5+ years working with you on a day-to-day basis. Just be yourself and have confidence in your ability. One thing to note is that the assessment center is mixed with graduates and school leavers, don't let this be daunting. They recognise that graduates might have more experience to draw upon.
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