Before I joined Grant Thornton I was working at one of the Big 4 firms, in a niche area called Transfer Pricing. However, studying for the ACA and CTA qualifications I quickly realised that private client and owner managed businesses was an area of tax that really excited me. Grant Thornton was renowned as being one of the Midlands’ market leaders in private client, so I was immediately interested when I heard the team was recruiting.
In my experience, it feels as though other firms can try to place you within a specialist area of tax, very quickly in your career. However, as a junior, I was keen to experience a broad range of tax services, particularly those which excited me at college, before settling down into a specific specialism.
A team spirit
I’ve worked in teams in the past where it felt like there was strong competition between colleagues, not just within the same grades but across the team as a whole. In contrast, I have found the support at Grant Thornton really overwhelming. There are a number of senior members of the team that I go to with queries and not only do they always make time to speak with me, they are genuinely interested in making sure that I learn and develop. There is a tremendous level of support in the team and we all want to push for everyone to do well.
My client portfolio offers a range of smaller projects that I manage myself, as well as bigger projects that I run as part of a wider team. Some of these projects have provided an opportunity to work directly with a partner which is rather unusual and provided me with a great opportunity to build my own client relationships and accelerate my tax technical ability.
Being able to completely own a project motivates junior members of staff and makes them feel “worthy” in the team, knowing they have been trusted with a certain level of responsibility. It means by the time you reach the senior grades you have significantly more experience. It may also help with progression, because managers and partners see first-hand how you manage those projects.
As a company, we’re committed to quality for our clients, and working directly with a partner helps us to understand more about what they want from a project. We get to know that partner’s style and their methodology when running through the client process. I notice that I align with that a lot more now than I used to.
One of my favourite parts of the job is working with owner managed businesses. Often we get to hear the whole story around how they built their business from nothing and the journey (both ups and downs) to its success today. You really get invested in their passion and vision and want to help them as much as you can. Additionally, I have built really strong relationships with some of my clients and the level of appreciation and feedback is overwhelming as the client can see first-hand how we have helped them, their business and their wider family for generations to come.
As a team, we get really invested in these relationships. I have clients that send me Christmas cards, have rang me to congratulate me on personal news etc, so it transcends the usual company-client dynamic.
I love the diversity of work here. It’s a good mix of tasks that you do regularly and others that you don’t. That variety is really interesting, and occasionally you even assist with tasks that aren’t even related to tax but you have been trusted to oversee and project manage the wider business process. This gives us a greater commercial understanding of their aims, objectives and what they want to achieve, alongside our tax advice.
Which, in turn, facilitates us in providing the quality of work that we strive for.