Very simply, the world of accountancy is extremely broad. The skills you learn while studying give you a platform to launch your career in many different directions, but it really depends on which area of accountancy you have the most interest in. In many cases the qualification you graduate with and the subjects you’ve completed will influence your decision. These factors can also determine which areas you’ll be able to get a graduate position in.
As your career progresses, you may want to become an expert in many different areas of accounting. But when starting out, it’s a good idea to focus on building your skills in one service line. This doesn’t mean your future is set in stone, but it gives you the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of one field, such as auditing or taxation.
Grant Thornton offers graduate positions across five different service lines, including Audit & Assurance, Tax, Financial Advisory, Private Advisory and Consulting. Here are some further details on each service line, and why it might be the right choice for you.
Audit and Assurance encompasses a range of different duties, from conducting internal financial audits for businesses wanting to engage in best practice to providing audit advisory services to help companies understand their obligations.
When working in Audit and Assurance, you’ll not only be conducting the financial audits that companies are legally required to undertake, but you’ll also be providing valuable information to help them make smart business decisions. A significant part of assurance is reviewing financial information and providing this information to shareholders and potential investors.
You will also work closely with clients to determine financial best practises, prepare crucial reports, and even examine business practises to ensure all areas of a company are being run efficiently and in accordance with financial law.
“I think the great thing about Audit is that you get exposure to and the opportunity to learn so much about so many different industries and therefore it gives you an opportunity to choose what industry you wish to specialise in.”
- Lauren Helin, Audit and Assurance Associate, Grant Thornton.
Working with private businesses can often be vastly different to working with large public companies. Their financial record-keeping, reporting and even taxation obligations are usually quite different, so the Private Advisory service line is quite unique. Working in this area, you’ll deal with private companies and provide a range of different advisory services. This could be anything from restructuring, insolvency, mergers, debt advisory and even business consulting services.
This area is well-suited to people with both commerce and business backgrounds because your tasks will vary considerably depending on the client’s needs. You could be helping a private company streamline their operations one day and managing creditors for an insolvent business the next.
“The real-world knowledge I’ve acquired in less than a year of work is phenomenal, and it’s awesome to be learning things that people actually use in real life.”
- Lachie Strathmore, Private Business Tax & Advisory Associate, Grant Thornton.
The area of taxation is extremely broad and may include corporate tax and advisory, private business tax and advisory, tax compliance, employment tax, international tax, tax law, GST, stamp duty & indirect tax, data analytics and even tax incentives. Companies engage Grant Thornton for a wide variety of taxation issues, whether it be handling a one-off tax problem or monitoring and controlling their tax concerns on an ongoing basis.
To work in tax you’ll naturally need great numeracy skills, but you also need excellent interpersonal skills. Most roles in the taxation service line require close dealings with clients, and most importantly, the ability to create and nurture trusting relationships. As a graduate, you’ll develop a strong knowledge of tax law and build your problem-solving skills to help companies of all sizes to meet their taxation obligations.
“My responsibilities generally include the preparation of tax return work papers and reconciliations, as well as performing research and drafting advice for clients to assist in advising them on tax law issues.”
- Will Briggs, Corporate Tax Associate, Grant Thornton.
Within the Financial Advisory service line, you could perform a wide variety of roles depending on which team you’re aligned to. Financial Advisory graduates could find themselves working on anything from helping individuals navigate bankruptcy or personal insolvency to advising clients on how to expand their business. It’s an extremely diverse specialisation and one that suits people from all backgrounds, particularly those who have a keen interest in corporate finance and general commerce.
Grant Thornton provides financial advisory services to everyone, from individuals to large corporations. Naturally, the services provided will vary for each client, making the Financial Advisory service line a diverse and rewarding career path.
“I love the very personal and human aspect of my job, I get to help real-life people going through real-life problems. For an individual going through bankruptcy, we help remove the stress of creditors chasing them.”
- Ivy Xiong, Financial Advisory Associate, Grant Thornton.
In consulting services, you’re looking at much more than just the numbers. If you’ve studied commerce or business subjects, consulting may appeal to you because of the variety of issues you’ll need to deal with. You can work with many different business types, including not-for-profit organisations, corporations and even government.
The main role of a consultant is to analyse business practises, processes and finances to help improve performance. You may also work with clients on specific projects, such as expansion or launching new product lines. Most people who work in consulting love the varied nature of their work and the new challenges they can work with every day.
At Grant Thornton, this service line is split into two key groups, being Management Consulting and Risk Consulting. The management side of things looks at performance, strategy, change management and project management, while the risk team works with clients on their risk management processes and strategies - for example: ensuring they pay their people correctly, securing their cyber resilience, spotting red flags in governance procedures and ensuring they meet their regulatory and compliance obligation.
“In Management Consulting (MC), we work with government, not-for-profit, retail and other industries to improve performance, strategies, projects and program management. Each day can be very different, particularly with the range of clients and projects I work on.”
- Gabi Taranto, Management Consulting Associate, Grant Thornton.
If you’d like to know more about Grant Thornton’s graduate programs, you can get all the information you need and apply for open positions here. You can also apply for vacation programs, which give you a great chance to experience one of these service lines for yourself. Many graduates are recruited through Grant Thornton’s vacation programs, so successful vacation placement could be the perfect way to fast-track your career.