"I'm encouraged to approach the job as if I were running my own business."

Ryan Li - Senior Manager

“The thing that I like most is the ownership I’ve been given over my work. I’m encouraged to approach the job as if I were running my own business.”

What brought you to Grant Thornton?

Before coming to Grant Thornton, I was working in advisory at a much larger multinational business that focuses on IT consultancy. When you’re part of something that huge, you can sometimes get lost in the shuffle a bit – your contributions and value may not be as readily felt as in a smaller organisation.

I wanted to make a positive impact and help grow a business from a people development perspective. The role I took in Operational Advisory here are at Grant Thornton gave me those opportunities.

How does Grant Thornton differ from your old job?

In my previous firm, partners were split between massive business units – you’d be working on site for months and you just lost the ability to build relationships.

I have a much closer working relationship with the leading partners in my group and practice here, and have been able to develop better relationships as a result.

It’s also much more people-centric and inclusive at Grant Thornton. I definitely feel as though our leaders value and care about individuals, both professionally and personally.

How do you think the culture affects the way you work?

There’s a lot of collaboration. It’s a small team so by nature you need people to collaborate to get it to work.

I get the sense that there’s a real team mentality – whenever a team member can help, they’ll offer to get involved. That’s definitely lent a more collaborative, collegial feeling to the team, which I value a great deal.

How has Grant Thornton helped you grow professionally?

I’ve been glad of many opportunities to augment my core skillset with experience working in practice management, pre-sales and business development.

The thing that I like most is the ownership I’ve been given over my work. I’m encouraged to approach the job as if I were running my own business. I have a strong sense of accountability for how the business is growing and the direction it’s going in, and I’ve really enjoyed that autonomy and responsibility.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m in Malaysia, advising our clients here on change management and IT implementation ahead of the Malaysian GST. It’s a groundbreaking project for Grant Thornton, in many ways – it’s a major step into the APAC region, which is a focus for us. It also underscores our IT capabilities in a big way. It’s good to be involved and to help drive a project of this size and importance.

How important has collaboration been to the Malaysian GST project?

It’s a cornerstone – it has to be. We’ve got the senior executive running the show here on the ground day-to-day and the work we’ve done to date is a testament to the potential of inter-office collaboration. We’ve got people from practices located all over the world. The Malay team’s capability is hugely enhanced by our collaboration with them. 

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I was 15, I wanted to be a rock star. The first concert I went to was Metallica – I was hooked. I went out and bought The Black Album and even got a guitar … but that dream ended when I realised how many hours of practice I needed to play like Kirk Hammett.

Which of your talents are you most proud of, outside of those you use at Grant Thornton?

It’s not a talent, but within Operational Advisory, I’m known as ‘the green juice guy’. I have a fervent, irrational love for homemade green juice. Naysayers be damned – I stick to it every day, and I’m proud of my self-discipline and dedication to good health.