As my three and half years with Grant Thornton comes to a close, it’s given me time to reflect back on the journey I’ve taken with FAAS from a ‘green’ fresh out of college graduate to a slightly more mature ‘young’ professional.
It all started in my final year of college where like every other accountancy major I spent hours researching and attending college fairs looking for the best jobs on offer to college graduates. I always knew that I wanted to pursue something outside of the norm for trainees and so when I found FAAS I knew it was the team to join – it was a new department offering experiences and opportunities I hadn’t seen in other firms. An interview with the FAAS team afforded me the opportunity to prove myself and so on the 13th of October 2014 I joined the best team ever!
During my time here I’ve gained a wealth of experience in areas such as financial reporting, audit, fund accounting and statutory accounts preparation. I have also had the opportunity to work in some exciting industries and with some top class clients such as Large Technology, Travel, Financial services, Aircraft Leasing, Retail companies as well as Grant Thornton’s own Media audit department.
Since day one my colleagues have been a great support not only with work but also with my career. They’ve ensured that I’ve been challenged from the start, constantly learning and progressing in my role and encouraging me while I sat my ACCA exams which I completed in October 2017 – definitely one of my proudest achievements! The studying was minus craic but everyone in the office had been there at some point and so the words of wisdom and encouragement were fantastic.
FAAS definitely isn’t all about work though and there have been some unforgettable nights (and day’s) out. I have worked both in and out of the office for extended periods of time and therefore found the sports & social events so important as they really provided the perfect opportunity to meet up with the rest of the team, most of whom I have built some great friendships with during my time here and also to really bond as a department and have some fun. Some highlights over the years would be the FAAS team building trip to Wicklow where we had the epic FAAS treasure hunt of 2016, each and every Christmas party, the Barretstown sports day which was always a great day out and for a wonderful cause and of course the two offsite visits we did to Barretstown in Kildare where we spent the day painting each other, fences, walls and building memories for ourselves while also helping those in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves – this was definitely the most rewarding job I’ve been a part of.
I was asked by a colleague what my hardest challenge was while a Grant Thornton resident and I think it would have to be my very first audit. To say I was full of nerves on my first audit is an understatement, I was nearly sick with the thoughts of facing an actual paying client for the first time. Obviously when FAAS’s own Eamonn, Sinead and Evan ended up being the ‘client’ as they were working in the stats prep team for the company I realised everything would be grand. I was also up to 90 with the thoughts of what I didn’t know or wouldn’t be able to do rather than what I did know. I was extremely lucky to have such supportive and fantastic mentors starting out in both Michaela and Ruth who were two stars and taught me so much while there which I have carried with me job after job.
As I sit here on my last day writing this there are just too many memories flooding back to name. However, these are mine to carry with me to my next chapter and those coming behind will have the same chances and opportunities to create their own. Making the decision to leave the team I’d started out with and watched grow from a fledging department of 28 to 138 was definitely one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. There were ups and downs like there are in all aspects of life but overall the experience was fantastic and my decision to depart was one that wasn’t taken lightly. Robert Frost sums it up very simply for me… ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both’.