Daniel Thomson-Smith, BSc Accounting and Finance | Grant Thornton UK LLP

Daniel Thompson SmithWhat have you been doing since graduation?

My journey after university began by accepting a job as a Tax Junior in a small firm of Chartered Accountants in Stratford Upon-Avon. I saw this as an opportunity to gain a grounding in client contact first hand, and this proved the case as I was given responsibility early on as one of ten employees. My role entailed preparation and submission of personal tax returns and corporation tax returns. I also prepared sole trader accounts and partnership accounts and was responsible for meeting with my clients and being a contact for any queries. At the same time, I studied for the Association of Tax Technician (ATT) exams which I passed, giving me a good overall tax knowledge.

I decided that I wanted to expand my tax experience and so I joined Grant Thornton in 2014 at their Colmore Plaza, Birmingham Office, which is where I still work today. The name of my department is Entrepreneur and Private Client.

My team provides a tax advisory function to high net worth individuals, privately owned businesses and transaction tax services.

I personally work within the transaction side of our business, for example helping clients understand their current tax exposure on the sale of their business and providing tax advice on how this sale can be best structured from a tax perspective. This offers commercial advice to aid the decision making process.

We also work with a client acquiring a business, and advise how this acquisition could be implemented from a tax perspective.

Whilst working at Grant Thornton I have been studying for the Chartered Tax Adviser exams, which consists of four modules. I successfully passed the first two in November 2015 and took my final two exams in May 2016, therefore I am awaiting my final results with anticipation! The exams are renowned for being difficult but working within a tax advisory capacity does help for this qualification.

Have you been back to Birmingham since graduation? Are you a regular visitor?

I work in central Birmingham at our Colmore Building office but I live in the local town of Redditch. I think the striking difference for Birmingham has been the investment in the City, with the new buildings creating a vibrant environment and the tram which now runs through the heart of the city. In addition, Grand Central provides a good first impression to any visitor to our City, I look forward to the future of Birmingham.

Are you still in touch with friends that you made while you were here?

I regularly meet with a few friends from University both in a work capacity and for watching Aston Villa at Villa Park (unfortunately we have suffered this season!).

What did you learn during your time at university that you’ve found valuable since leaving?

I think self studying for a degree gives you the skills in autonomous learning which is essential to succeed in Professional exams at a later stage, as you have to manage work deadlines and study at home - all in a day's work! 

How did your time at university help your career prospects?

Quite plainly, I would not have the job I have now without a degree. At interviews it was always said that I had a degree from a good redbrick institution and was always held in high esteem.

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