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A Day in the Life: Grant Thornton's new managing partner in Ireland Back
Paul McCann, who is preparing to take on the role of managing partner of Grant Thornton in Ireland in the New Year, advises companies in financial difficulty, helping them to create turnaround strategies with his team of 60 people in Grant Thornton’s advisory department. In preparation for taking over as managing partner McCann spends his afternoons meeting with the heads of each department to discuss strategies and opportunities. While meeting with the firm’s regional offices in Limerick, Galway and Kildare allows him to tap local knowledge which is ‘invaluable’ for his work in local businesses and communities.
6:00 a.m. As the father of four children (including one eight-month old baby) it almost doesn’t matter what time my alarm is set for; the kids will have woken me up by 6am.

While I’m not always as grateful as I could be for the early-morning wake-up call, it does have the advantage of getting me up and on the road early – allowing me the time I need to prepare for my day, which as I prepare to take over the position of Managing Partner of Grant Thornton in Ireland, has increased responsibilities.

7:00 a.m. Once the children are fed and watered, I drive into the office from Clontarf, so am usually at my desk, and drinking my coffee by 7 am. There is very little traffic on the road at that time, and the journey in from Clontarf, along the coast, is always a nice start to the day.
Paul McCann, managing partner, Grant Thornton

9:00 a.m. I like to use the time between arriving at the office and the phone starting to ring (at about 9 a.m. on a normal day, but occasionally a lot earlier if the Grant Thornton Advisory Department is in the middle of a particularly complex or high profile case) to catch up with the team, review our caseload and tackle my inbox.

The team is made up of 60 skilled people and our role is to advise companies in financial difficulty helping them create turnaround strategies. On any given day we are dealing with a wide range of reorganisation and recovery cases – from examinerships to receiverships and liquidations, from restructuring to administration (of Quinn Insurance Limited in 2010 and 2011) and beyond. This is an area where events can move very quickly and there are, understandably, often many interested parties involved, so it is essential that we review where we’re at as often as possible, discussing all options and working towards the best solutions. Additionally, due to the all-Ireland spread of our work, we often have to be on the road, visiting clients and assessing various cases, so taking some time in the office over a coffee every morning is something I really value.

10:00 a.m. A very large portion of the work our team is focussed on at the moment is in either banking or the property sector - unsurprising considering what has happened in the Irish economy in recent years. Both of these areas are complex and involve service providers, experts and professionals from all manner of areas. As such, once we have done our internal catch up in the early morning, a lot of my time before lunch is spent meeting with property service managers, banking officials, leaseholders, solicitors, creditors and others, working to find resolutions to difficulties facing businesses across the country.

1:00 p.m. So many of our clients are facing up to harsh economic realities, and we find that it is by focussing on fundamentals like relationship management, innovation and sound planning that we are able to provide the best support. As often as possible, I try to combine lunch with a client meeting. I like to drop in to see a client to discuss progress, developments, issues and hopefully solutions. I find the client-facing nature of my work the most rewarding. The issues we deal with impact on the lives of business owners, managers and their staff, so having that connection and working in partnership is important, and helps to keep a clear focus on what we are doing at all times.

While I have been a part of the business advisory services team in Grant Thornton since 1999, earlier this year, I was honoured to be elected the new managing partner of Grant Thornton in Ireland. I will take over the post in January 2012, following the successful tenure of Paul Raleigh (a hard act to follow, like the manager following Alex Ferguson) who is moving on to a new role with Grant Thornton International.

3:00 p.m. As I prepare to take on the function of managing partner in the New Year, I am using this period of transition to meet with as many internal business streams and leaders as possible in order to map out priorities and opportunities. As a result, I often use my afternoons to meet with our marketing and communications team; our finance team; IT; human resources and others.

Even though I have been with Grant Thornton for a number of years, during that time we have grown and expanded across Ireland. With offices opened in Limerick, Galway and Kildare in just the past few years, I feel strongly that it is important to meet with colleagues regularly to refresh and renew understanding and information. The local area knowledge and expertise I get from working with my colleagues in our regional offices is invaluable in much of the work I do with local businesses and communities.

4:00 p.m. Equally, Grant Thornton is a partnership with a breadth and depth of experience and expertise that never fails to amaze me. As such, a key part of my schedule includes regular meetings with team leads from across our many business units (which include tax, audit, business consulting, risk services, corporate compliance and forensic accounting), to discuss new services, acquisitions, appraisals, hires and opportunities.
Grant Thornton is a company always evolving and seeking to be at the cutting edge of growth and development - themes Idefinitely want to continue and develop in my time as managing partner.
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7:00 p.m. My working day usually ends at about 7 p.m. I try and get home for between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. as I like to be there when it is time to put the kids to bed – which can sometimes take longer than it should. I finding reading bed time stories to them and chatting through their days helps to switch my mind away from the economy, the cases and the challenges facing us all in 2012 (not that I’m ever fully switched off – that phone can ring at any time.).

8:30 p.m. My wife and I usually try to have dinner by 8:30 p.m. and like to watch something like Grey’s Anatomy to wind down. My perfect day would end with a Liverpool F.C. win, but successfully putting four children to bed and getting some dinner is an achievement in itself.
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