My name is Daniel Moore-Oats, and I’m a graduate trainee within TRS. I’m back again two years and one month since I completed the Grant Thornton (GT) internship and my last blog. So what have I learnt and what is new? … a lot! This year has been one of my fastest to date and in this blog I will aim to give you a more detailed up to date insight into: the work we do, the day-to-day role and skills required as a new graduate, the team, and then more generally how we fit into the firm.
A detailed insight into TRS work
So let’s start at the beginning. In Technology Risk Services (TRS) we conduct a broad range of work covering most sectors. As an associate you will predominantly be working on large corporate and public sector clients with some opportunities to work with our financial services team. Our work generally splits into three categories: data analytics; external audit; and advisory. The image below and this brochure show the areas where we provide services.
Data analytics involves obtaining data from our clients and then turning that data into something that can add value for our clients (either internally or externally). As a business, one of your greatest expenditures and risks is around paying your employees. These run off IT systems each month and can use large amounts of data from multiple sources which can vary significantly month to month. As a firm, utilising the skills we are taught and tools available to us, we are able to manipulate underlying data that we obtain from the clients systems. This creates valuable information such as which employees have been paid twice in a month, employees that have been paid after their leaving date, instances of duplicate bank accounts potentially signifying error or fraud and instances of where employees have had large increases in pay. These outputs we provide can be used for further investigation, potentially highlighting flaws in current systems, instances of fraud and can provide our clients with huge cost savings.
External Audit is supported by TRS as data for company accounts are all held and processed using IT systems. IT systems and controls need to be evaluated and tested in order to ensure that the figures entering the accounts are accurate. TRS are able to provide IT system testing which can dramatically reduce the amount of work for the audit team, which makes the audit process more efficient and provides cost savings to the client which in turn makes the firm more competitive.
Finally we provide advisory services, mainly in the form of internal audit reviews. This is the most interesting and challenging part of the job for me, and involves looking at the risks associated with the technology that our clients deploy and providing recommendations on how to reduce these risks. The type of review that is conducted is completely client-dependant – I recently conducted a review where they had frequent problems with their system whereby it was crashing, experiencing glitches and operating slowly. As a result the firm wanted a review to determine the causes of this and whether there were appropriate controls and processes in place to reduce these issues to an acceptable level. We identified numerous problems with the current system and processes allowing us to provide recommendations to the firm so that they could correct this going forward.
The day-to-day role of a graduate and skills required
I know that as a prospective candidate you want to know the details of what you will be doing day-to-day and what skills you will need to do it.
It is probably easier to explain the day-to-day role first. You will play a very active role in the team from early on whilst at the same time studying for a qualification. You will be expected to:
- analyse client data and create outputs
- work individually or in a team to review IT controls
- perform and document field work in line with the firm’s methodologies
- produce advice for clients based on IT best practice
- conduct research for input into proposals as needed
- help develop TRS services and internal operational processes
- and of course study for a qualification ACA or other
Having been in this role for a full year I can tell you that I have done all of the above and I have picked up a broad range of skills from scripting in data analytics to having a good understanding of hardware and software, risks, processes and controls thereby allowing me to identify gaps and enabling me to offer sound recommendations to our clients based on best practice.
What you will need as a candidate is a passion for technology and business, an ability to think strategically and see the bigger picture, as well as the ability to focus on technical elements and drill down into detail whilst thinking critically about the information you receive and process. A strong desire to learn, apply yourself and work to a high standard are the basic skills required so don’t write off this role immediately if you don’t have a technology background and for all you techies out there having one of course will help!
TRS is a national team which sits within Business Risk Services (BRS) which in turn sits within Operational Advisory. There are more than 300 BRS employees in GT working nationally with approximately 30 being TRS-specific. BRS as a group is exceptionally welcoming with a focus on fostering good working relationships within the team and providing individual support where needed. In my first week, we all went out for team dinner and drinks, which has happened on a number of occasions since. BRS as a whole gathers at intervals throughout the year to provide business updates, this also give an opportunity to bring all the teams together in London. The TRS team also has its own training events which happen annually . Both of these are accompanied by social events which are great fun and a chance to unwind with the team. Another example is of the many “team bonding” events includes the GT annual football tournament which was held in Leeds. A great couple of days out which was generously subsidised by our partner.
Where TRS fits in the firm
As mentioned above we sit within BRS, within Operational Advisory however as TRS provide a wide range of services, we support a lot of different areas within the firm, whether it be External Audit through controls testing, Forensic and investigation services through data analytics or Tax through software implementation advice. The basic idea is that we support a lot of GT areas which allows for wide-reaching participation and service line crossover which allows you as a graduate to experience and develop contacts in a lot of areas.
For anyone who has an interest in business and technology TRS is a truly exciting team to be a part of. It’s a fast-paced environment, with interesting opportunities and great prospects for growth. Whether you want to find a way to get into technology or you already have that technology foundation, this role has the potential to fit as long as you demonstrate the required skills . I have learnt so much over the last year and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else – other than maybe the Caribbean coast but that’s neither here nor there!
For all prospective candidates I wish you the best of luck applying and if you have any questions do not hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org