Name: Steven Leith
Degree and university: University of East Anglia, Mathematics
Work Title: Senior Manager with Grant Thornton UK LLP’s media and entertainment team.
What do you actually do? We deliver financial reporting services and advise our clients on how to best grow their business. We pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ business and the sectors in which they operate.
One of the main priorities of this role is developing and maintaining relationships with our clients. The ability to meet and even exceed the needs of our clients is vital to our role and the service we provide.
Another one of my priorities is growing and developing the team. There are many talented people at Grant Thornton and we ensure that training and development is available to them throughout their careers.
Why did you decide to go into the Financial sector? I was always interested in maths and business and so studying mathematics at university was a natural choice.
While at university, I completed a number of internships at Grant Thornton to supplement my degree. I worked within a number of different capacities at the company and found that I really enjoyed the people aspect of audit and accounting and wanted to pursue a career in it.
How did you find out about your course? The ACA is a globally recognised professional accounting qualification, and as such has obvious benefits. I realised during my internships how important it was to be qualified to a standardised level that was transferable across many sectors and industries. In terms of career progression it opens doors to a number of opportunities.
Would you undertake further training to progress your career? Absolutely, learning never ends. At Grant Thornton we have a dedicated training facility in Bradenham, Buckinghamshire that is available to us throughout our careers. Training and development is embedded in what we do and it is vital to staying on top of your game.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides? Relationship building and working with clients over the long term is a part of my job that I really enjoy. Over time you become very familiar with clients, their business, and their industry. It is fascinating to see how different organisations work.
There will be times when you have to work long hours but if you are committed and interested in the job and enjoy the work then it does not become an issue. The concept of "work-life balance" is championed at Grant Thornton and so I am able to manage my time around other commitments in my life.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? Being technically good is very important. Staying ahead of the competition and really knowing the sector you work in is also important. Again, relationship building is key and to make it to the top you have to be a high performer in these areas.
What advice would you give other graduates coming into this sector? My advice to young graduates is to be dedicated and enjoy the job. Successfully completing the training and accounting exams requires hard work and a strong work ethic but you will have some fun along the way!
Is there anything you wish to add? This qualification and job can be very interesting because of the diversity of the work. Because of the continued growth at Grant Thornton you can work in different areas of the business and pursue your interests.