I joined Grant Thornton as a graduate after University, having been a summer intern. I studied Economics and Accounting in Edinburgh, after realising that I didn’t have the stomach to become a doctor. I come from a family of accountants, and Grant Thornton was recommended to me as a great place to work. I interviewed with the Big 4 as well, but Grant Thornton’s interview process made me feel valued, and I found everyone to be really encouraging throughout. In contrast, one of the other firms used time during an assessment centre to do another logic test, rather than getting to know me. The test involves deciding how some circles are different from others, which felt impersonal and irrelevant to how well I do my job. First impressions matter, and I know Grant Thornton was the right choice for me.
One of my favourite things about working here is my team, they’re a really good bunch of people. As an example, when we were working in the office, one of my colleagues would always ask us what we were doing that evening, what was for dinner - that sort of thing. With fully remote working during the pandemic, we were missing that connection so I started a 5pm call. We’d use that time to talk about our upcoming evening, albeit most of us were going for yet another walk! I know my team have my back, and their support has helped me get through my exams and find my feet starting my career.
The progression opportunities here are very apparent. If you pass your exams and show an interest in progressing, you will. We have an internal programme called Unleashing Your Potential, to help us bring our best and move up in the firm.
Part of the programme is showcasing the different paths people can take after finishing their training, even if that means leaving the firm. The sessions include people who have left the Grant Thornton to go into industry for example, and some of those who came back again. We want to help people spread their wings, whether it’s internally or externally.
In my first year here, I made it clear that it was important to me to get to know our clients and to attend meetings. I got the opportunity to meet a prospective client who was buying an iconic property in Edinburgh. We won the work, and I was able to write the report covering some complex areas of tax. This is unusual for first-year hires, but it shows that the firm listens to our requests and the opportunities are there if we want them. I’ve learned that if you stick up your hand, there are plenty of opportunities available to get involved and develop at Grant Thornton.
Something I’m really excited about is the possibility of presenting to one of the big banks on sustainability and how tax incentives fit into the Green Agenda. Sustainability has never been more important, particularly for businesses. I’m determined that Grant Thornton will be playing our part by supporting our clients to ensure we are all protecting the planet for future generations.
I’d like my role in the future to involve working with the government to make sure our tax policies in the UK are engineered to encourage sustainability within the business community, and beyond.
There’s loads of “extra-curricular” networks you can join to connect with our people across the country. I’m our Environmental Champion for Scotland, which means I’m part of a national network of people collaborating to make sure the firm is pushing to meet our Net Zero targets and raise awareness of our environmental projects. I’m also part of the Scotland Sustainability team, which involves organising and executing fundraising events to raise funds for our office charity. A recent highlight was our “Pie a Partner” event which raised £2,500+ and resulted in some excellent video footage. I also help to co-ordinate our Tax Access Accountancy program, which supports school students from lower-socio economic backgrounds gain an insight into the profession. I love working in tax, but also having the time during my work week to push forward our environmental, sustainability and social mobility agendas really helps me to feel like I am fulfilling my purpose.