A year in audit at Southampton
Looking back over my first year(ish) at Grant Thornton I’m surprised at how much I’ve encountered, learned and experienced in such a short space of time. The first month was very much an introductory period, meeting people from all three of the TVS offices, trying to remember names and building relationships. There’s a lot to take in during this time, but also a lot to be gained, so I’d recommend making the most of it!
I can only speak for my experience of the ACA course, which I was surprised at how quickly I was thrown into college and doing exams. These were the certificate level e-assessments, and can be stressful at the time, but I quickly found myself pulling from experience gained on the job and the exams became a little easier and, weirdly, I actually enjoyed college (a 4pm finish at was a big plus).
Around December I started to get a lot more time out on site in a far more client facing and involved role. This, for me, was a welcome change. Having started at GT at 26, I’d had a few jobs previously where I was interacting with clients and building relationships outside of the company that I worked for. Once out on site and sitting down with clients and discussing any questions, issues or variances that we have encountered I found that I was pushing and building on what I had learned at college and applying it to everyday, real life situations. This is the stage of the year that I really started to enjoy the role a lot more. It was a challenge, and I found myself out of my depth on more than one occasion but the support that is given from everyone in GT, whether in the audit team or not, was fantastic.
The culture of collaboration and the values of the firm is something that is evident from the first week. My intake had a session with our CEO, Sacha, who gave a speech and took questions from the group. For me, this was something I’d not seen in previous jobs. The passion for a vibrant economy is definitely felt at the very highest echelons of our firm. There is a huge push and much encouragement to meet and build relationships with people from different offices during these first few weeks and during weeks at Bradenham (our training facility, and one of the perks of the job. Trust me). Knowing people from other offices can be hugely beneficial as they will have encountered different issues and will have a different perspective on problem solving.
This encouragement for collaboration is most keenly felt in TVS as the three offices are working towards becoming fully integrated. I found that some of the people I met from both Reading and Oxford in the first few weeks have become my first port of call for any questions (I’m sure they’re thrilled about this as well). The Southampton office itself is a pilot for a fully agile working environment. Working from home is fully encouraged and having this flexibility with the job is something I find hugely beneficial.
The first year is a bit of a whirlwind, but I’ve found that there is so much to be gained from getting involved in as much as possible. I’m now the charity rep for the Southampton office which allows me to meet new people and run charity events along with our other reps in TVS and beyond.
My advice for any first years starting at GT whether a school leaver or a grad, just getting by and staying quiet is no fun. Make yourself heard, make the most of it. Break some eggs.