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I was shocked when I figured out that I began working for Gilligan Sheppard almost four months ago. Time has gone by incredibly fast! Previously, I worked for small-scale accounting firms – as little as a team of two. So, I was prepared for a significant change, and my expectations of joining a medium to large firm like GS, were somewhat ‘stereotypical’.
My friends that come from large chartered accounting firms often complain about being stuck in ‘robot mode’ – long hours, high pressure, and less focus on employee satisfaction and team morale. But GS has truly proved to be different from the ‘norm’…
Through medium to large accounting firms, the quality of the client base is unrivaled. And from my experience, you don’t typically get this from working at a smaller gig. Here, you’re exposed to many different industries where clients are appreciative of the value that you provide. And as you begin to progress, you get opportunities to take on challenges with more complex/complicated cases. Because of the exposure, you are in a position to continue to grow, improve and up-skill.
Comprehensive training is provided when you start to work for a medium to large corporation, and effectively there are more sophisticated polices and protocols in place, where people have a clear understanding of their duties, and how they are expected to perform. This is unlike some smaller firms, where the policies aren’t so strong and you are left with many unanswered questions, which in turn effects the quality of service. Ultimately, the business efficiency is far more evident at GS!
Here, you are surrounded by many more Senior Managers and Partners that are available to assist you with complicated scenarios. Previously, I was often faced with the issue of not having easy access to resources or advice, which made it challenging to outsource the help required and maintain timely client responses. Now, I feel as though I am surrounded with learning resources, professionals and experts that are always willing to share their expertise.
Now, what surprised me the most upon joining GS, was the flexibility that mostly only small-sized firms offer, the family-like environment, and their extremely unique culture – unlike any other accounting firm I have come across…
Essentially each employee’s situation is different, and I appreciate that GS recognises that. Allowing flexible and accommodating working hours, was actually not what I had expected to see at a medium to large sized firm. During lockdown, and having children to look after, you come to realise the importance of flexibility. As I mentioned earlier, with many larger accounting firms, working long hours under high pressure is overly common, however, I have learned that GS does their best to achieve a healthy work-life balance, acknowledging our reality we live outside of the office.
Through my previous tiny team of two, there was a good relationship established between the director and I, however, when we met with other professionals, the group/teamwork often became too difficult to manage. I had pre-conceptions about how this could occur when joining a larger firm with many other teams. But I was thrilled of the team morale at GS, everyone here is confident, motivated, and always willing to perform the tasks at hand. The management team care about our happiness/wellness and therefore make it a priority. They commit to it in practice through regular team training sessions which are not only limited to professional development, but also team relationship coaching. One-on-one employee/manager catch ups are held with a focus on how to improve the team working environment.
Everyone is willing to help each other, even from different departments. This feels like a family, not just a firm.
Consistent Company Culture
GS only employ those whose values are aligned with theirs. They take the time to get to know the people during the interview and prior to bringing them onto the bus, into the GS family. The interview process is distinct from other firms, Bruce might make you sing a song, they ask ‘non-typical’ questions that would reflect your personality to focus on team fit. With everyone sharing the same beliefs, I am thriving in this company culture.
Time flies, when you’re having fun.