My First Day at the Office!
Yesterday was my official first day on my Grant Thornton internship. It was a fascinating day where I got to meet my fellow interns. There are around 50 across 13 offices. There are around a dozen in my office but none in my department (it’s quite small in comparison); there’s like 5 in Corporate Tax alone! The day was a general introduction, introduced our projects and the assessment process throughout the internship. We also had a talk by the CEO-elect Sacha Romanovich – who officially starts on tomorrow – on her career and the steps she’d taken. She really was a fascinating woman and being the first woman CEO of a major accounting firm is testament to her ability. She brings a huge energy to the firm and her vision for the firm in her term is fascinating and provides a great framework for the projects I’ll be undertaking in my time here (more on these later, when I’ve done more work on them)!
So today was my actual first day in an office with my own desk and own PC. It wasn’t as scary as I anticipated! I started by waiting for my buddy Rohit who took me to get my Grant Thornton laptop. I then was introduced to all of the team. It was so lovely about how people took the time to actually speak to me, even those who have probably met new people a million times. Everybody asked me about yesterday and the previous evening with such excitement. The scope of the team is very broad with new people who have been there as little as 2 weeks to more senior members who have been there for over a decade. I’m starting to realise how each person is specialised and which area of the market they are interested in. My buddy has a real interest in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) which is a well regulated financial machinery that allows groups of investors to invest in properties which are often illogical for an individual investor to take on. This provides a lot of dynamic efficiency such as lower tax rates but the way that the regulation is fitted ensures that investors receive a high dividend which is rare in normal financial situations. Other members of the team have interests in particular markets or different vehicles or even just developing in-depth tax knowledge. I guess it really shows the scope of the market and the variation in work that is carried out.
I then had to do a lot of the admin side of the role such as understanding how the company calendar works and digesting all of the emails that I‘ve been receiving over the last fortnight, despite not actually being there; this was actually really handy as it allowed me to catch up and via asking questions assess what the team is currently focussing on. I then had some spare time where I wrote a plan for one of the projects and joined an internal Grant Thornton conference call where I listened about a new radical idea that the CEO-elect has brought forward: Shared Enterprise (more on this later, sorry!). It was fascinating to listen to the ideas that they were talking about and being obviously a fresh-face I felt that I could have easily mentioned a few grievances that the firm will face on this project. I do intend to address these issues in one of the projects I’ve been set during my time with the firm.
Next came a Goals Meeting with a manager within the team. I believe that she will be my assessor across the 6 weeks but I’d guess that it is more of a collected thing as she is sat very far away from me! We discussed what I’d like to actually gain from my internship and if there were any other areas of the business that I’d like to explore. I have set quite a difficult set of goals to try and conquer in my time here but I believe that I’d really enjoy the technical side (MORSE coming out) so I hope to get through those as quick as possible. One area that I would like to focus on is the commercial side and to really understand the market which I think is probably the hardest challenge most people face here. The Real Estate market varies so much throughout the UK nevermind the whole of Europe which my team proactively deals with. Some members of the team are even working on Asian deals so imagine the scope and knowledge one would need to deal with that. I guess this reemphasises my point on the diversity and the choice you get in a firm such as this. My people manager also said that she would try and get me a few days in the actuarial department here because it is also another role that I have been considering working in although it’s quite an opaque profession. She was really focussed on making sure I got the most out of my time here which was really refreshing and showed I wasn’t just another number.
Later on, I went to a meeting with the partners in the firm about a deal that is being worked on. On my first day I was at a meeting with the partners about a very big deal for the firm; who else has that level of exposure on a first day? I feel very fortunate and it gives a very strong idea about what the long term looks like working in this area. Unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail about the actual meeting content but I seriously hope that I will be invited to the next few as I found it a very good learning experience. They kept using a lot of jargon that I jotted down in order to ask my buddy afterwards!
After that I mainly just went through some more admin and made sure that I had finished all that I had set out to do for the following day. Tomorrow morning I will be doing some research on some Chinese firms and I have several other meetings tomorrow with my buddy to get some real exposure to the compliance side of the tax job. I do apologise if any of these words are foreign to you, if they are please just pop a comment down below and I’ll get back to you!