Location: Thames Valley, UK
At Grant Thornton: Associate director, assurance
Outside the office: Would love to visit Mars
Share a fun personal fact with us
As much as I’d love to say it was, accountancy wasn’t my first choice of career. I originally wanted to be an astronaut and applied to the European Space Agency when I was at university – unfortunately (or fortunately for Grant Thornton) I didn’t quite make the grade.
I would have applied for the Mars One trip, but my wife would never have joined me.
What attracted you to Grant Thornton?
The business provides you with the opportunity to develop to a high level of seniority quickly. The mix of clients means you can take on a leading role, working with high profile, dynamic individuals at a very early stage in your career. Having interviewed at one of the Big 4, I simply don’t think I would have gotten the same opportunities with that company.
What lessons have you learned during your time with the company?
When I joined Grant Thornton as a graduate a decade ago, I knew nothing about business or accounting. I didn’t even know what a balance sheet was so I could easily write a few hundred pages on what I’ve learned.
However, the biggest thing I’ve learned isn’t about accounting, but leadership. Our firm is full of incredibly dynamic and passionate people right through the organisation, which has given me the opportunity to observe some fantastic leaders and develop my own style.
“Our firm is full of incredibly dynamic and passionate people, which has given me the opportunity to observe some fantastic leadership.”
Have you made friends at work?
I’ve absolutely made lifelong friends. My wife joined as a graduate a couple of years after I did (and quickly moved to tax from assurance to get away from me) and one of the ushers at my wedding joined at the same time I did. Having recently graduated from the advanced manager programme, that group of lifelong friends now extends to the US, Canada, Australia and beyond.
What have been the highlights of your experience with Grant Thornton?
First, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time work-shadowing both our former and current CEO. It was very much a no-holds-barred look at how things work at Grant Thornton. I got a huge amount out of the experience.
The second was taking part in the advanced manager programme – a 12-month initiative focused on developing the leaders of tomorrow from across the globe. Around 60 of us spent three intensive weeks in Chicago, Madrid and Bangkok learning and sharing our experiences on leadership, distinctive client service and winning work.
How would you describe the culture at Grant Thornton in ten words or fewer?
Incredibly challenging, in a good way, yet hugely supportive.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received while working at Grant Thornton?
Never give anyone advice – instead help them to find a solution that works for them. People genuinely believe and are energised by their own ideas.