Stephen Jean-Louis

Stephen Jean-Louis

Macquarie University
University of Sydney
Stephen studied Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Accounting at University of Sydney/Macquarie University

What's your job about?

Grant Thornton partners with mid-sized business clients on their growth journey, providing a range of advisory services. At this stage, I focus on the compliance activities, searching for opportunities to grow the clients’ business

My daily work is mostly centred around completing clients’ compliance work, such as tax returns, financial statements and activity statements, as do most accounting roles. This gives me the opportunity to look into how a business works, learn about it and possibly find areas for improvement. Each month I also get the opportunity to head out to an investment firm client’s office to complete monthly accounts and prepare reports for their clients.

In summary I do taxes, but it isn’t that boring or simple. There’s always something new to learn when completing a job. You’re forever coming across things you didn’t know before. It is not all work though, the social culture here will keep you occupied in and out of work. Grant Thornton look for people who will fit well with the team and represent their values, not just someone with the highest marks

What's your background?

I grew up in Western Sydney and was always active and into sport, so I naturally leant towards doing something along those lines at university. I completed a degree in health science and had the view to become a physiotherapist. However after a year off, my interests moved towards business. I wanted the opportunity to build a career in business through my next degree. With that, I chose to do an accounting degree because it is centred around business and provided a clear career path as well as a range of different opportunities within the field later in life. During this time off study I worked as a life guard, a DJ, a personal trainer, started a business, worked as an accountant, and travelled the world. All of which provided rich experiences that I am able to draw upon in my current work life.

I started at Grant Thornton in August 2016 as a graduate, and due to my previous experience, a lot of hard work and a good attitude, I was able to move up to intermediate accountant in December 2016. I always thought my wide ranging experience was a drawback as I felt it didn’t give me the depth of skills required for my job, however I discovered that actually it was a advantage as it gave me a wider range of knowledge to draw upon when solving problems. Plus, being a graduate means you can ask the silly questions!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing here are the people- every one is down to earth. I have a really good manager and my peers are always up to help or have a chat. I’ve really enjoyed the responsibility I’ve been given. It’s motivating to me to be accountable and not just be fully shielded from everything and hidden behind the curtain. I’ve met with clients, work out of the office regularly and am directly accountable for my work so I’m really focussed on building my skills.

What are the limitations of your job?

The only limitation with this job is time. Work always finds a way of taking longer than it should, but that does not translate directly to staying late every night. The culture within the accounting industry is to work long days, but here that is not encouraged or necessary. Realistic deadlines and expectations are set which mitigates the need to work long hours. 8pm is a pretty late time to be here, but I’ve heard that’s early elsewhere.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. The field you study is not the field you have to work in, there are ways to chase your interests if they stray from your field of study.
  2. All experience counts. Go and work, earn money and travel, especially while at university.
  3. Working part time and studying part time in the field you’re studying can:
  • Give you specifically related experience to draw upon
  • Give you a job to go straight into once you finish study
  • Help you understand the content you’re studying
  • Motivate you to apply yourself to study/work
  • Help you identify if you need to change your focus