Office Hours: Exploring Grant Thornton’s Career Opportunities For Students & Grads

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The Accounting industry has a ton of great opportunities for students and recent grads to hatch their careers!

On February 25th, we teamed up with one of the top companies in this field, Grant Thornton, to host a live online Office Hours Q&A. Their five guest experts combined their eggs-pertise to help students and grads figure out how to hatch a successful career. Over 60 minutes, we covered a diverse range of topics from career opportunities, the hiring process, and more!

Missed the event? That’s okay – we have the full transcript for you here!


TalentEgg
Hi everyone – welcome to Office Hours with Grant Thornton! My name is Veronica and I’ll be hosting today’s event.

Over the next 60 minutes, we’ll be answering as many of your questions as we can about the Accounting industry and career opportunities at Grant Thornton.

Many of you have submitted questions in advance, which is great! If you haven’t done so, or you have additional questions you’d like to ask, feel free to submit them during the live Q&A at any time.

Before we begin, I’d like to introduce our guest eggs-perts from Grant Thornton. Why don’t you all introduce yourselves?

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Everyone! My name is Krista Lamkey and I am the Manager of Talent Attraction Operations for the firm. I joined Grant Thornton in April of 2015 and have the privilege to work closely with the various recruiting teams across Canada since joining the team. I am really excited to be here today and to answer your questions!

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hello! My name is Poonam Gajjar and I’m a Recruiter at Grant Thornton. I’m responsible for hiring students for our campus roles as well as for hiring experienced candidates across Ontario, and I’m very excited to be answering your questions over the next hour!

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi Everyone, my name is Blair and I work in the Atlantic region taking care of Campus and Experienced hire recruitment! Thank you all for joining us today – I’m very excited to hear from everyone!

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi everyone! My name is Yana Marakhova and I am the People & Culture Consultant, Attraction for Western Canada. I’ve been with Grant Thornton for almost a year now and have loved every minute of it! I am really excited for be here and answer your questions today!

Comment From Katie – Tax Analyst
Hi, I’m Katie. I work out of the Halifax office as a US Tax Analyst. I am also currently in the CPA program starting Core 2 in May.

TalentEgg
Fantastic, thanks for that! Without further delay, let’s begin!

Alisha, a Business Administration major at the University of Guelph asks:
“How does Grant Thornton help prepare individuals for the CFE?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Alisha, Grant Thornton provides a mentorship program to all of our CPA students, where students are provided a coach, who has recently completed the CFE in order to help with exam preparation. Your coach will provide you with tips, training materials, study guides, and answer any questions you may have regarding the CFE. Your success is our success.

TalentEgg
Maja, a Commerce (Accounting) major at Humber College asks:
“What experience is required for an entry-level accounting position?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Maja, entry level positions require being enrolled (or graduated) from an Accounting program, as well as the desire to pursue a CPA designation. A basic academic understanding of Accounting principles is the required experience.

TalentEgg
Aiza, an Accountancy major at St. Theresa’s College asks:
“How long is the hiring process?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Aiza, the hiring process is usually a few weeks, which includes: resume screening; digital interviews; in person interviews.

TalentEgg
Paula, an Accounting major at the University of Toronto asks:
“What are the top three qualities you look for in a new graduate who is applying for a position at Grant Thornton?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Paula, that’s a great question! It is not just about having top grades, or all about work experience. It’s about showing the potential to be successful in helping our clients, and being the advisor they can turn to when it comes to decision making. We want people who will be able to find out what’s truly important to our clients and make that important to them! We want our people to be able to build meaningful relationships to help drive our client’s business forward!

TalentEgg
Zahra, a Political Science major at the University of Western Ontario asks:
“Is it possible to make the transition from Political Science to Accounting without going back to school?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Zahra, unfortunately, many accounting opportunities require new graduates to have a basic academic understanding of Accounting principles, which is provided through post-secondary education.

TalentEgg
Tenzin, a Commerce (Accounting) major at George Brown College asks:
“How would you start networking to get a co-op?”

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi Tenzin – Great question, I would encourage you to join or network via your university/college Accounting or Business Societies as many hold networking events with recruiters and professionals. Often times as well students reach out to me directly or to professionals throughout our offices to learn more about the firm and opportunities.

Comment From Jessica Chan
Are there any CPA training programs available?

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Jessica, thank you for your question. Grant Thornton provides a lot of support to help you prepare for the CPA. We support our student by giving them paid days off as well as supporting them financially (modules and CFE). To help you prepare for the CFE we have developed a week long training course with Densmore! Additionally, we have great mentorship opportunities within the firm as well.

TalentEgg
Diana asks:
“What kinds of training do you offer for your employees?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Diana, when you join the team here at Grant Thornton you will go through a structured on boarding and training process along with all other new hires. The formal training is usually done in the office by a team of senior staff at the firm. You will be introduced to all the GT programs and they will walk you through setting up your profiles on the respective systems. Following that, you will be exposed to formal field training where senior accounting staff will walk you through step-by-step how to complete a file from start to finish. Grant Thornton also does level training sessions where you will go to a location and meet the rest of your colleagues and go through a week long training session filled with events, dinners and presentations. As for your CPA designations, you will be provided with a mentor that will help you through any obstacles you have during your articling years.

TalentEgg
Sean, a Finance major at the University of Saskatchewan asks:
“In the past have you hired students with majors other than accounting?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Sean, we hire candidates with a variety of backgrounds depending on the position we are looking to fill. Diversity of thought is something that is extremely important to us here at Grant Thornton. Depending on the position you are interested in, the required educational background will be listed on the job description. Me personally, I have an Honours Bachelor of Science with a focus on Neuroscience!

TalentEgg
Ehireme, an Engineering Management major at the University of Ottawa asks:
“I have a brief experience in Audit, can I apply for a finance job at Grant Thornton?”

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi Ehireme, many of our finance professionals have a Audit background, as this aids them in working with our clients and understanding the materials presented to them. I would encourage you to take a look at our opportunities.

Comment From Jaspreet Khatra, University of Toronto Scarborough
Around what time of the year do you generally have campus events? I really want to talk to the people at Grant Thornton to learn about the different opportunities.

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Jaspreet, you can typically find us on Campus in September, however, we do try to attend campus events throughout the year.

TalentEgg
Mahabub, an Accounting major/Financial planning minor at George Brown College asks:
“What are some specific attributes I need to have, in order to work for Grant Thornton?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Mahabub! Great question – at Grant Thornton we look for well-rounded candidates. I actually just wrote an article about what makes a great GT candidate. You can read the article here.

Comment From jmjburton
Does Grant Thornton hire college level diploma students who have an unrelated university degree and a desire for CPA designation as well?

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi there, it would depend on what the expectations of the role are with respect to office that is hiring. We have many positions in our Privately Held Business group (non-audit) and our Tax group that do not need a university degree. However to get into the CPA program you will need a university degree to enroll. I think we have a few postings on our website that may be of interest!

TalentEgg
Benjamin, a Commerce major at Ryerson University asks:
“What cities are you currently hiring in?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Benjamin, all of our current opportunities can be found on our Careers website. We would also recommend that you set up a Job Alert so you are automatically notified of any future openings that may be a fit for you!

TalentEgg
Sinan, an Accounting major at the University of Toronto asks:
“Does Grant Thornton provide newly hired associates with a CPA program? And if so, how does the program work?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Sinan, our new grad’s typically are those who are looking to pursue their CPA designations, so as an approved CPA Training Office, we provide mentorship and study programs/materials to those who are pursuing the designation and getting ready to write the CFE.

TalentEgg
Sangin, an Accounting major at the University of Western Ontario asks:
“How can I advance my career in the Public Accounting field?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Sangin, new graduate opportunities typically provide mentorship programs for their team members. In order to advance your career within the Public Accounting field, I would recommend working with your mentor to demonstrate practical as well as theoretical accounting knowledge to support the pursuit of advancing your career and to find the right opportunities for you within you firm of choice.

TalentEgg
Hayat, a Master’s of Accounting major at the University of Waterloo asks:
“What does it take to get into GT’s tax department?”

Comment From Katie – Tax Analyst
Hi Hayat, it takes a good understanding of accounting, as well as attention to detail. There are many different regulations within tax so it is good to have a good research mind in order to be successful and enjoy your role, as there is quite a bit of research involved day to day! I encourage you to seek out tax professionals in order to learn more about the various sub-specialties within the tax department.

TalentEgg
Jeremy asks:
“During an accounting interview what are you assessing new graduates on, since they likely don’t have a lot of field experience?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Jeremy, excellent question! During the interview we look for a combination of traits to help us identify future business advisors. We love to see students connect their work & volunteer experience, academic success and extracurricular activities to their future accounting career. Some of the ways you can win us over is to show us that you are a great problem solver, have excellent customer service skills and care about the community you are a part of.

TalentEgg
It’s time for our poll! Be sure to vote, everyone.

What are you most interested in learning about Grant Thornton today?
  • Entry-level Accounting roles (20%)
  • Career advancement (36%)
  • Company culture (28%)
  • Application/interview tips (16%)

Less than 30 minutes left in our event. Be sure to continue submitting your questions, everyone!

Erika, a Technology Innovation Management major at Carleton University asks:
“What’s the best way to find your first job in the market?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Erika, the best way to find your first job is to try to showcase who you are and what makes you ‘stand out from the crowd’ in your cover letter and resume. This often is the first time we are ‘meeting you’ and being able to showcase what makes you a top quality candidate will help excel you forward. Another recommendation I would have would be to try to network as much as possible. Go to as many events, socials and forums as you can to learn more about prospective employers and to meet with their teams. You want to ensure that whichever organization you end up joining is a fit for your personality and is an environment that supports your personal growth and development!

TalentEgg
Zachary, a Business Administration (Accounting) major at the University of Toronto asks:
“What are the most common mistakes applicants make on their resumes and during an interview?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Zachary, some of the most common mistakes we see applicants make year over year are spelling and grammar mistakes. These types of mistakes show a lack of attention to detail and make your resume look sloppy. Surprisingly enough, another common mistake we see are applications addressed to other firms. Ensure that you take the time to review your application and tailor it to each organization you are applying too. Your resume is often the first time we are ‘meeting you’ and you want to ensure that you stand out from the crowd!

Comment From Raymond Kong
Would that mean that graduates who switched into accounting towards the later years of their studies be missing out on networking opportunities?

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Raymond, majority of the networking happens in the 3rd and 4th year for most of the students. Not to worry, you won’t be missing out on much!

TalentEgg
Emad, an Accounting student at Ryerson University asks:
“Given that I’m pursuing a position with G&T and as a 4th year student in my final semester, where can I network with Grant Thornton reps and recruiters?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Emad, that’s a great question! We try to get on campus as much as possible to meet with prospective students! Be sure to visit the events tab on our Facebook page ‘Grant Thornton Canada Careers’ to see where we will be in the coming weeks/months! We also host office visits each summer so students have a chance to visit one of our offices and meet some of the team members. The office hours posting usually goes live in June/July of each year!

TalentEgg
Sue, a CPA finalist asks:
“What are your expectations for a junior accountant?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Sue, great question! Our expectations for a junior accountant are that you come in every day ready to learn and ask a lot of questions. We expect that you have some basic accounting skills and know the major concepts but it will be a lot of on the job learning.

Comment From duaainam
Hey there! What kind of opportunities does Grant Thornton offer students who have done a major in say, Biology, in addition to an Accounting specialist? Does the company consider this to be a “stand-out” factor? —Thanks!

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi there! Grant Thornton prides itself on having a diverse team with different backgrounds. Having an educational background in a different subject area definitely catches our attention. It could give you an edge in the long run to connect better with clients who do business in that field.

Comment From Alisha, a 3rd year Accounting student at the University of Guelph
What is the best way for me to make my application stand out when applying for summer accounting roles at Grant Thornton?

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Alisha, some ways to make your profile stand out are to be sure to speak about your extracurricular activities and to ensure you demonstrate your personality in your cover letter. We look for candidates who are involved in the community, equally as much as we focus on academics.

TalentEgg
Carmen, an Operations Management major at the University of Calgary asks:
“What is it about being an accountant that makes you get up in the morning?”

Comment From Katie – Tax Analyst
Hi Carmen – great question! I am a very list-oriented person, and in my role as an analyst, I always have a large to-do list every night for the next morning, which certainly motivates me to get into the office every day. In tax, the tasks vary from day to day, and there is always a new situation, and new client interactions. I really enjoy working with my colleagues, bouncing ideas around to find the best results for clients. I also love interacting with clients everyday. It is a great environment as tasks and people are all different, and it is interesting to see how you can help them.

TalentEgg
Paulina asks:
“I graduate this May. When is the best time for me to start applying for jobs?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Paulina, we hold our annual fall recruit from August to October each year. During this time we recruit for our new graduate positions with a start date of the following September. With a graduation date of May 2016 I would encourage you to visit our careers website to set up a job alert so you are automatically notified when any new graduate positions are posted as you can start applying now!

TalentEgg
Will, a student at Athabasca University asks:
“How often GT hires for non-traditional audit positions? Does GT hire people who complete courses through CPA prep?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Will, for new grads we typically hire into our Audit stream, however, throughout the year we may have junior positions that are eligible for new grads in non-audit streams. As for the CPA progress, as long as you are looking to pursue the CPA (irrespective of where you are in the process) we are able to provide support.

TalentEgg
Michelle, an Accounting major at the University of Calgary asks:
“What is Grant Thornton looking for when recruiting students for the upcoming year?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Michelle! At Grant Thornton we are always looking for well-rounded individuals that will become great business advisors. We like to see candidates who focused on more than just academics. Of course, exceptional grades are a solid foundation but we always look for previous work experience, volunteer work and extracurricular activities that highlight your personality. It’s about showing the potential to be successful in helping our clients, and being the advisor they can turn to when it comes to decision making.

TalentEgg
Laura asks:
“Do you offer jobs outside of Accounting?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Laura! Yes, we definitely offer jobs outside of accounting. We have many opportunities within our Internal Client Services team consists of Finance, Marketing, HR, Administration and IT to name a few!

TalentEgg
10 more minutes! Let’s get those final questions in, TalentEgg-ers.

Elijah asks:
“What kinds of training can you provide new grads once they’re hired?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Elijah, thank you for your question. Grant Thornton is a training office and we provide a lot of support to our new grads. The ultimate goal for the new grad is to get their designation and Grant Thornton provides support both in terms of paid days off, as well as financial support towards completing the CPA designation. We cover the cost for all first time attempts for both the modules and the CFE (Common Final Exam). Our goal at GT is to make you a well-rounded accountant and expose you to many accounting topics to help you prepare for the modules and CFE. Additionally, we have also developed a week long training course with Densmore leading up to the CFE to help you gain a competitive edge and be prepared. There are also opportunities to write mock cases that will be marked by CPAs in the office. The support network in the office is also vast – each office has a CPA mentor who is the go to person for any questions that you may have. There is also a cohort of students that will be writing at the same time as you so you have a built in study group as well as the students a year ahead who can provide you with guidance along the way.

TalentEgg
Stevo, an Accounting major at the University of Alberta asks:
“What is GT’s take on the growth of IT Risk Assurance? Is there any opportunities in that area for current graduates or experienced candidates?”

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Hi Stevo, excellent question! We have an excellent Business Risk Practice in Vancouver that focuses on IT Risk Assurance! You can check out all the current opportunities here.

TalentEgg
Mahsuma, a Business Accounting major at Mohawk College asks:
“What skills are required to join the Grant Thornton team?”

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Mahsuma – this is a very broad question! Many skills are helpful in working at GT, but I’ll try to name a few. As our business is working with people (both fellow GT team-members and clients), we need people with excellent people-skills and communication skills; GT team-members are constantly communicating with clients verbally and in writing. Additional skills to lead in your success would be Time-Management and Organization, especially in the first few years as new CPA students will be adjusting to working as a professional, balancing an ever-changing workload and studying for CPA modules. And of course it never hurts to have a strong understanding of Accounting related principals and robust computer knowledge.

TalentEgg
Stephanie, an Accounting major at York University asks:
“As someone who is always looking to expand their leadership potential, what opportunities does Grant Thornton have for new-hires to demonstrate and improve their leadership capabilities?”

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
Hi Stephanie, Grant Thornton has an extensive Learning and Development program which allows team members to enhance their skills in a variety of programs. Working with your people manager to identify opportunities to pursue leadership programs or to gain practical leadership experience are always available.

TalentEgg
Amanda, a Commerce major/Psychology minor at Carleton University asks:
“Which do you prefer: project resumes or skill-set resumes?”

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi Amanda! Great question – I prefer to see a skill-set based resume. This style of resume gives the reader a clear understanding how you gained the skills that would make you attractive to Grant Thornton. Additionally, skill-set based resumes help recruiters have a better understanding of how long you/where you gained a skill which helps us find the best candidate for the role.

TalentEgg
Mikolaj, a Commerce (Finance) major at the University of Ottawa asks:
“How can I start a career with no experience?”

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi Mikolaj, Grant Thornton hires a diverse group of graduates, I have hired students with no direct accounting experience and others with 3+ co-op terms of direct public accounting firm experience. Direct experience is not required, but having transferable experience (our business is helping our clients meet their goals!) by working with people is a strong asset. When we are going through the hiring process for our Co-op and CPA student hires, we are commonly seeking out students with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, strong marks, customer service experience, community involvement just to name a few of the attributes.

TalentEgg
Geetu, an International Business Administration major (iBBA) at York University asks:
“What summer internship opportunities are available for aspiring CPAs?”

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Hi Geetu, thanks for joining the session today! Depending on the requirements of the local business unit we will post for summer positions on an as-needed basis. We do not have a formal summer internship program in Ontario but often will bring students in over the summer months to assist with the local teams. I would encourage you to visit our careers website to see the current openings at the firm.

Comment From New Graduate
Hi, as a new graduate – am I still eligible to apply for student opportunities? I’m a bit confused as to what jobs I can still apply to and which ones I can only apply to, to be considered. Thanks!

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Hi there, Great question – I would encourage you to apply for positions that you feel meet your skills and qualifications. Don’t focus too much on if they are located in the experience or campus opportunities pages as we are a flexible group of recruiters if the right person comes along!

TalentEgg
And that concludes our event. Thanks for all your egg-cellent questions everyone!

The past 60 minutes certainly flew by… we hope that you’ve taken away some valuable information from this session.

Of course, this event couldn’t be made possible without the help of Grant Thornton and their eggs-perts. Thanks for your insights – anything you’d like to say before we wrap up?

Comment From Krista – Manager, Talent Attraction Operations at Grant Thornton
Thanks everyone for taking the time to join today’s office hours session with TalentEgg! We hope to connect with many of you at campus events throughout the year. Be sure to follow our new Instagram account @GrantThorntonCareers to stay up to date with all the fun exciting things our team is doing all year long!

Comment From Poonam Gajjar – Recruiter at Grant Thornton
It was great speaking to all of you! We look forward to our next session 🙂

Comment From Katie – Tax Analyst
Thank you everyone for joining this live chat! It’s been great answering your questions today!

Comment From Blair-P&C Consultant, Attraction
Thank you all for attending today, please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn (Blair Thompson) if you have any questions after the chat! Have a great night!

Comment From Yana Marakhova People & Culture Consultant, Attraction
Thanks everyone for all your questions, it’s been a great experience participating today, and I hope we answered some of your questions about Grant Thornton! I look forward to connecting with you in the future!

TalentEgg
We hope you enjoyed today’s Office Hours session. Be sure to keep an eye out for future events on our website. You can also learn more about Grant Thornton’s career opportunities on their Employer Page.

Thanks again, everyone. Have an egg-cellent day!

Comment From jmjburton
Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.

Comment From dsouza_steph
Thank you Krista, Poonam, Blair, Yana, and Katie for your time!

Comment From Sean
Thanks for your time and advice.

Ready to eggs-plore the Accounting Industry? Explore amazing career opportunities at Grant Thornton here!

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