My complete Grant Thornton experience - Audit 2011

Grant Thornton

Hi, I got an offer yesterday from GT which I will be accepting and seeing as this site has been invaluable for interview prep I feel it’s time to give something back!

Application stage:

I spent about a day researching the company and coming up with my answers to their ‘essay’ questions.
Q1) Why GT? I mentioned training (bradenham), support (buddy system), range of clients, large share of AIM listed companies, emphasis on personal development.

Q2) What is audit? What is the ACA? This is again a pretty straightforward question, just do a bit of research. I said what the audit team does for a company, what I will be doing in my first year (stocktaking, interviewing staff, lots of travel to client locations, checking acounts etc), ACA takes 3 years, huge investment etc etc.

Q3) Positions of responsibility. I found this one tricky as I wasn’t captain of a sports team or any committees or anything, but think about any experiences you have from uni, work, home life. I mentioned how I had trained new volunteers at somewhere I volunteered, even though this wasn’t a big deal and never really thought about it at the time it is still good to put down! I also put down being a ‘college parent’ to a few freshers at uni, so was responsible for looking after them when they started. So it doesn’t have to be an obvious position of responsibility, just think of what you have done and why it was responsible.

Q4) Other interests. This is another straightforward question. Write as much as you can here to show you are a well-rounded individual. Any sports, travelling hobbies, instruments. I had a random award from school which I put down, but no other awards or scholarships or prizes to speak of!

Online Test Stage:

ok so I submitted my application on 30th Dec, and was invited to sit the online tests on 7th Jan. These were ok, practice on the shl site as much as you have time for, but the real tests will be harder. I failed the first numerical test I did for PWC and again for EY but since then have passed them all. Time pressure is a bit stress! I was also quite rusty on my maths as I didn’t do maths in my uni course (zoology). I also learnt from attending a PWC insight day that they grade them in a strange way, based on how many you answer and how many of them you answered correctly. So answering 10/10 correctly would mean a lot more than answering 10/20 correctly. So work as fast as you can, but don’t rush too much and DON’T GUESS ANSWERS!!! I found the verbal reasoning test relatively easy, not sure what advice I can give for this.

First Interview:

I got a phone call three days later from HR saying I’d passed the tests (yay) and I booked the phone interview for 14th Jan. They say they will ask questions about these competencies:

Credibility and communication
Innovation and change
Judgement and decision making

BUT they also asked me a commerical awareness question: ‘How is the current economic climate affecting GT and its clients?’ Luckily, I had prepared an answer for this (good for tax, good for advisory, bad for CF, bad for suppliers of the public sector, clients may lean on auditors to present their accounts in a good light but is more important than ever to make sure you give a true and fair representation of what is actually going on) but I thought it was a pretty sneaky question!

Ok so questions I can remember were:
What have you been doing since graduating? (we then spent about 5mins talking about travelling and how awesome Australia is!)
Why GT?
Why accounting?
Why audit?
What is your understanding of the role?
Tell me about a time when you had to convince someone senior than you of your conclusions?
Tell me about a time when you were under time pressure?
Tell me about a time when planning didn’t work out?
Tell me about a time when you motivated a team?
Then the dreaded commercial question: How is the current economic climate affecting GT and its clients?

I then asked him a couple of questions about work/life balance, how many grad vacancies they have in this location, and when I might hear back the results of this interview.

He then called back an hour later telling me I’d passed! They had an assessment day available for the 18th Jan, which I took, though it meant I only had the weekend to prepare! Stress!

Final interview stage:

As I applied for a regional office, it wasn’t an assessment day as such but two interviews, one with a manager and one with a partner.

The manager was really easy to talk to, seemed pretty young and friendly. He asked me some competency questions and only one commercial awareness question! I was actually overprepared for the commercial bit as I was so worried about it, I was ready to talk about a few topics including audit concentration (big four dominance, house of lords investigation, European Commission green paper, possible future reforms to audit, and there was actually an article on this in The Times on the 17th, which gave a good summary), NHS reforms (controversial), HMV (performing badly due to snow, consumer trends changing, tech advancements, people having less money), public spending cuts (affect suppliers of public sector the most, questions about whether the private sector can lead the recovery), VAT increase (look for a story on Lower Mill Estate for an eg on how GT can help companies with tax), inflation. ANYWAY they only asked for one news story affecting GT and its clients – I went with audit concentration.

Its all a bit of a blur but he asked pretty standard competency questions after this. He asked a question that I’d already been asked in the phone interview, when I have motivated a team. I told him I’d been asked that and is it alright to give the same answer, and he said yep that’s fine.

Questions included:

Tell me a time when you have motivated a team
Tell me a time when you have had to adapt your working style
Tell me a time when you have found a better way of working
Tell me a time when you had to make a difficult decision (I gave a long answer on this which also included managing conflict in a team, so he said we’d covered his next question)
We also spent time talking about my travels, and how awesome Australia is!

There must have been way more questions than this but I can’t remember them… they’re all ones found on these forums though, I had prepared answers for them all. Make sure you have more than one example for questions, or examples that could cover more than one competency so you can use it in an emergency! Oh and I asked him about how long it takes people to progress to manager stage.

I then had a couple minutes break before a third year audit trainee came to chat with me and answer any questions I had. He then showed me a tour of the office.

After this I was given the case study for the partner interview. It was a booklet about a watch company, gave some info and graphs, I had 40 mins to come up with the 3 main business challenges facing the company, future opportunities for GT, and how to manage relationships with clients. There were more than 3 obvious challenges, pick the 3 you think are the most important, I was asked why I picked the 3 I did and were there any other challenges. I was not required to do a presentation, it was a discussion led by the partner which lasted about 20mins. I felt under pressure a lot during this, they like to make you sweat! She kept looking at me expectantly when I had nothing else to say, which led me to waffle on desperately about anything I could think of! Anyway there is not much you can do to prepare for this, other than know what services GT can offer, for businesses and individuals. At the end I asked her how long it takes to reach partner status, what do most people do when they qualify.

I was there for about 3 hours, went home, then 3 hours later I got a call offering me the job :slight_smile:

Don’t suppose anyone knows the salary? I guess it will be on the paperwork and stuff they’re sending me?

Any questions feel free to ask!


Hey Sushi4eva… congratulations on your offer…when do you start? or have you already begun? and which office did you apply to?
You above run-down of the process has been most helpful, I was just wondering if you could give me a little more insight into the case study during your AC.

I have my AC next week and Im so worried i will mess up.

Also, did you have to do a re-test of your numerical and verbal tests?

Really appreciate any help.




Hey Tan,

The case study is rather basic consisting of 9 exhibit’s. These are composed of around 4 graph’s reporting sales revenue for them and competitors and some articles refering to recent news about the company.

I did alittle analysis on the graph’s refering to there competitors and around potential growth area’s for the company. The partner spent around 20 minutes talking about why my choices and how grant thornton can help. You can use their prospectus while preparing in the AC to assist you if you don’t have much knowledge on the firm. He then spent another 20 minutes talking about motivation for the firm however it’s very informal asking the questions indirectly.

There was no more test’s to perform and I don’t think you should be to worried about failing the AC , the graduate I spoke to on the day assured me if you have made it this far your likely to make it through to the stage.

I recieved my offer on the same day and it was 4 days ago so I doubt much has changed.

Hope I have Helped


Hello everyone!

Sushi4eva and Bruin congratulations for your offers!!!
Tan good luck with your AC!!!

I am having my telephone interview next week and I have started preparing for it.
I am trying to research and answer the commercial question you mentioned that u were asked: “How is the current economic climate affecting GT and its clients?”

Could you please help me on how should I cope with this question?

Thank you in advance!!! :slight_smile:




Hi all,

Apologies for opening up a slightly old post. Firstly, congratulations on your offers.

Just wondering, how many words should I try to stick to for the application questions? I have around 200-250. But for other applications I have had only about 100 words. Should I try to reduce it ?

Your advice would be most helpful! Thank you :slight_smile:


Hi balu129,

I filled out the application a few weeks ago. I think the system restricted me to 5000 characters per response which is pretty long so don’t worry about your answer being too long. It would be better to worry about it being too short. I ranged between 350 and 600 words per response. Just write everything you feel is relevant but don’t go on and on.

I guess this thread has gone dead now. I just passed the online tests and have been informed that my application has now been put into a pool to be considered for a first round interview. I don’t know what this means exactly so if anyone has gotten this email before, please elaborate on your experience.



Hi CallmeTheDon,

I sent my application on 30th of October, I got an email inviting me to the online test which I finished last weekend. I had an email on the 7th saying I passed it. I was a little shocked, I was sure I failed the online maths test. I did the maths test for RSM Tenon (which went really) just before it and the questions were almost identical! But when I did the test for Grant Thornton I stayed too long on a couple of questions and was a bit too nervous that it lost me some time.

The email also said that I have been put into a pool to be considered for the first interview (Same as you). Have you heard anything from them? Not really sure what it means either. Considering that they replied after my application within just a day, does that mean that I had been invited to the online test by default (like some other companies) without having my application looked at? Im guessing pooled means I may or may not get an interview. I read the other threads and it seems Grant Thornton is reviewing everyone’s applications again as there have been too many this year.




Hey balu129,

GT seem to really take their time in getting back to you. Maybe it’s a test of patience or eagerness. Either way passing one means failing the other. I always fail the patience part. Managed to get booked for a telephone interview. I called them just to inquire what was going on and got an email later on that day. Not sure if it was because I called them…?? Just realised it’s been a while since you left your message. Have you managed to get booked?

GT online test was Kenexa right? I had done one of these before think it was with Mazars and I was absolutely sure I’d failed it. The Kenexa numerical tests are pretty tough timewise. However I think the pass mark is quite low-possibly 50-60% so it kinda compensates.


Hey CallmeTheDon,

Yup, GT was Kenexa. You are probably right about the pass marks.

I took your advice. I just gave them a call and managed to book a date for the telephone interview. I received an email almost immediately after that asking me to book a telephone interview (dont think I have to since I already booked one and the lady did say I will get an email). So, you are probably right, calling made all the difference.


Hey CallmeTheDon,

My application page kept saying ‘book interview’, so I called them again yesterday to confirm that my telephone interview got booked… turns out the lady I had spoken to had forgotten to ‘push the button’ so I havent been booked in. really nervous now lol. Im aware that places can get filled up fast. So i hope I dont miss out on my chance.