Liulu: returning to Grant Thornton
Liulu originally joined Grant Thornton in public services audit in 2018 and has just rejoined the firm as a commercial audit senior manager, after a 15-month spell at another professional services firm. We caught up with Liulu to find out what brought her back to Grant Thornton, and how she has found re-joining the firm.
I originally joined Grant Thornton’s public services audit (PSA) team in 2018 but left the firm in 2020. I was considering moving back into commercial and was contacted by a large professional services firm, I’d always wondered what working at one of the larger firms would be like so when one of the large firms contacted me it felt like the right time. After a year, I decided that it wasn’t the right firm for me and looked at roles back at Grant Thornton. Whilst I really enjoyed my time with a larger firm, Grant Thornton is my home and where I can see a future.
I was given more opportunities and felt encouraged to excel more at Grant Thornton, which is one of the main drivers behind me returning. When I worked within the PSA team, they supported my secondment to the China Desk one day a week working on business development, which allowed me to develop my career and utilise my first language as a skill to help the firm. The fact the team supported me to do this when it took me away from my day-to-day role, really showed that they cared about my development as an individual and what I was looking for. My experience over the last year is that those opportunities aren’t as available within a bigger firm, and everyone is more focused on delivering for their one team.
I also realised I had more opportunities to stretch myself beyond my current role at Grant Thornton. Whilst I was an Assistant Manager here, I was given opportunities to present in audit tenders and take part in the recruitment process, which are experiences that I wouldn’t have received at that level within another firm.
The other big pull for me at Grant Thornton is the culture, and how accessible everyone is. I could walk onto any floor within the Finsbury Square office and find myself sat next to a partner, and everyone feels approachable. There is a strong sharing culture across teams, in terms of work templates, software tips and resources. I feel everyone is working together and helping each other to achieve the best for the firm not just their team. This is something I missed when I wasn’t here. I am a very outgoing person and feel that at Grant Thornton I can be myself entirely.
The re-joining process has been great. When I arrived home after my first day back in the office my husband commented on how happy I looked, I couldn’t stop smiling. Before I started back, I met my buddy and the team arranged calls with me so that I could meet some members of my team before I joined. This meant I had a bit more knowledge about what the team does before joining. I spent my first three weeks in training and making sure I was up to speed on all the processes, which was very different to when I first joined when I started talking to clients straight away. But I think it’s great that the audit team gives new joiners this time. Partner Nick Page explained to me that they made this change to help people settle into the team during the training weeks, rather than rush straight into client work and risk feeling stressed.
Whilst I am new, in some ways it feels like I never left. I’ve already got back in touch with the Head of China Desk who called me welcoming me back and immediately put me in touch with other members of the team and invited me to Teams groups, so it felt really welcoming.