Office Hours: Tips For Hatching Your Accounting Career With Grant Thornton

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September 18th was an egg-citing day at TalentEgg: we hosted Office Hours with Grant Thornton, a professional services firm providing audit, tax and advisory services to clients across Canada. Office Hours is an hour-long live chat with representatives from top employers for TalentEgg members.

Cathy MacDonald, Melanie Bedioui, Erin Ostridge and Allison Pasique from Grant Thornton answered students’ questions regarding Grant Thornton’s career opportunities, application process, company culture, career growth, resume tips and more!

If you missed the live event, you can read the complete transcript below:

TalentEgg Taryn: 
Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Taryn and I’ll be moderating today’s chat. Our guests today are Cathy, Melanie, Erin and Allison from Grant Thornton!

Over the next hour, you can submit your questions about career opportunities at Grant Thornton, learn how to stand out during the recruitment process and get tips for successfully hatching your accounting career.

Cathy, Melanie, Erin and Allison, could you please tell the audience a bit about yourselves?

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario):
Hi, my name is Allison Pasique. I am a Talent Acquisition Manager for the southern Ontario business unit, responsible for both campus and experienced hires. Melanie Bedioui, our southern Ontario HR Consultant, is also with me and we will do our best to answer your questions!

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Hi, my name is Erin Ostridge and I am the HR Consultant for Prince Edward Island. With me I have Cathy MacDonald, the Regional Human Resources Manager for Atlantic Canada.

Comment From Rafay Aman
How easy is it for a first-year Accountant to specify which industry or clients they would like to work with on different engagements?

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Hi Rafay, it depends on the office that you work in and the clients that they serve.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
We advise not to specialize in any certain industry within the first few years. Every Staff Accountant is assigned a coach who oversees your professional development and will work with you to identify an industry focus.

Comment From Michael Smith
Hey Allison, Melanie, Erin and Cathy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions today. I was wondering if you could discuss the three specific qualities that an ideal applicant would possess. Thanks!

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada):
The three qualities we look for are: the ability to balance work and study, the ability to build relationships with both clients and colleagues, and a general curiosity about clients and the industry.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Michael, if we had to pick the top three qualities, we would say that we are looking for intellectually curious candidates, strong networkers and critical thinkers.

Comment From Umer Jamal
I am a recent graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University. I wanted to know what is a typical year like for a new graduate at Grant Thornton? Some co-op students I’ve spoken with mentioned they worked on different service lines, such as Audit, Advisory, Tax and Forensics. Are there really opportunities in these other lines that new hires get to experience?

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Umer, great question. Thank you! Depending on business needs for various service lines, there might be short-term secondments in Advisory and Tax.

Comment From Shegufta Shezin
Hi, I am a fourth-year accounting student at Ryerson University. I was wondering if your firm is offering any summer internship in the GTA at the moment? I have checked the list, but I have not found any GTA jobs for the summer. If not, could you please tell me when they will be offered?

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Shegufta, at this point we are not hiring summer interns. Should our business needs change, we will post summer opportunities in January. Please keep your eye on our campus careers website.

Comment From Janice Qin
Could you please provide some tips for the Grant Thornton statement of interest?

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Janice, thank you for your question. We receive this question quite often on campus. In your statement of interest, we would like to know why you are interested in pursuing your accounting career with Grant Thornton.

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Hi Janice, the statement of interest is an opportunity to summarize your strengths and aptitude for the role. We are looking for insights about your personal interests, community involvement and related experience.

Comment From Yvonne
Hi Allison, Erin, Cathy and Melanie. It’s a pleasure to chat with you all. As a BComm student studying at Queen’s University, my program only allows the flexibility of working in the summer. Looking at the current opportunities for CA students at Grant Thornton, internships in the summer seem to be limited (mostly fall and winter). Any chance more summer opportunities will open up?

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Thanks for the question, Yvonne. In the Atlantic Region, we do hire students for the May to August term. The competition is high for a small number of positions, but we are always open to applications from appropriate students. Please keep an eye on our careers site for applicable job listings.

Comment From Vivian Li
Hi, I am a fourth-year student studying Commerce at Queen’s University. I have a question for Allison: How would you describe the corporate culture at Grant Thornton? And what made you choose the firm? Thank you.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Vivian, thank you for your question! I come from an agency background and, at a certain point in my career, I decided to move to a corporate role. Company culture was definitely at the top of my priority list when choosing a new company and I interviewed with few firms. Everyone who I met with during the interview process at Grant Thornton was very personable and it influenced my decision to join the firm. I’ve never regretted my decision. We have an “open door” policy where I feel I could walk into any partner’s office and have a conversation about the weekend or day-to-day happenings. We are all on a first-name basis and we have a very close-knit culture.

Comment From Fatima Tariq
Hello Allison, Melanie, Erin, and Cathy! As an entry-level Associate at Grant Thornton, what is the support system like in terms of helping CA students with their exams (e.g., CKE, SOA, UFE) throughout their first year of work? Thanks!

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Excellent question Fatima! We have the UFE program in Atlantic Canada and I am delighted to say that our firm offers an extremely supportive program for all of our CA students: They begin writing practice questions in January and continue with ongoing sessions, mentors and our dedicated UFE preparation in the summer. We are committed to excellence and we are very proud of the support we provide.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Across Canada, we have many customized professional development programs and initiatives to help you prepare for and write the CKE, SOA and UFE. We provide each CA candidate with a study mentor to help with case studies, exam preparation, and balancing study and workloads. Every writer is assigned to a CKE/SOA/UFE buddy, who provides support throughout the process. In addition to our comprehensive internal UFE preparation, we retain some of Canada’s top external UFE consultants to ensure that you are prepared.

Comment From Umer Jamal
Thank you for answering our questions today. I wanted to know: how much interaction do new hires have with clients on engagements?

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada):
It really depends on the business unit and the client. There will be greater interaction with smaller clients, as the student accountant may be the main point of contact with that client. With larger clients, the interaction is primarily with more senior accountants on the engagement teams.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Umer, you are directly in touch with our clients from the very beginning.

Comment From Sarah
What is the application and interview process like at Grant Thornton?

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Sarah, for the southern Ontario business unit, we conduct a phone interview and one in-person interview with two partners, or a partner and a senior manager. The decision is made after one face-to-face meeting.

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada): 
Sarah, this is a great question. The application and interview process varies throughout the business units. We like our candidates to start with our online application process. In Atlantic Canada, we want applicants to attend our networking events and, from there, we move to a more formal interview process.

Comment From Naveed_A_Khalid
Thanks for taking the time to address our questions! I wanted to know whether Grant Thornton offers secondments or exchanges with other offices to be able to get a broader experience? Thanks – Naveed.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
We are an international firm and have many secondments around the world.

Comment From Syed Mehdi Rizvi
What are the growth opportunities like within Grant Thornton?

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada):
The growth and development of our employees is extremely important at Grant Thornton. Each employee is assigned a coach who mentors them and outlines the opportunities for individual career paths. Given the diversity of our practice, there are roles in Tax, Advisory, Assurance, etc. We encourage our employees to take an active role in their own development from the beginning.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
Syed, thank you for your question. We have opportunities for you to grow at every stage of your career. Just to put it into perspective: we have many partners who joined the firm straight out of university. Please visit our website to get more information about our career opportunities.

TalentEgg Taryn: 
That’s all the time we have for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours and a big thank-you to Cathy, Melanie, Erin and Allison for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions! Do you four have any final comments?

If you’re looking for more information about careers with Grant Thornton, check out their employer profile on TalentEgg!

Cathy MacDonald and Erin Ostridge (Atlantic Canada):
We welcome your interest in our firm and thank you for taking the time to learn a bit more about us.

Allison Pasique and Melanie Bedioui (Southern Ontario): 
We would like to thank you everyone for participating in this chat. We encourage you all to visit our new campus website to get more information about our firm.

TalentEgg Taryn: 
Thanks again for joining us today, TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter feed (@TalentEgg) for upcoming Office Hours events. Grant Thornton will be hosting additional Office Hours live chats in the coming months, so there will be even more opportunities to learn about the firm and have your career questions answered.

 

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.