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Tartu musketeers – one for all and all for one

Tartu is nicknamed the city of good ideas. In Grant Thornton Baltic’s office in Tartu city centre there are not only good ideas but good specialists, satisfied customers and high-quality services.

Grant Thornton Baltic has two offices in Estonia, the larger one in Tallinn and a smaller, 12-member team in Tartu, which happens to be all-female. The smaller size doesn’t mean lower qualities or a less diverse line-up of solutions offered. The Tartu team consists of 11 outsourcing department employees and one auditor. Besides accounting specialists, our department also staffs very adept payroll specialists.

Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu team 2022
Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu team 2022

A diverse client portfolio

Among the key clients of the Tartu accountancy office is the Estonian capital-based family-business OptiPRO, who owns the nationwide Pro Optika chain. OptiPRO has been a Grant Thornton Baltic's client for going on 20 years, and we offer them accounting, payroll and legal advisory service.

We offer payroll service to the prestigious adhesive technologies, beauty care and laundry and home care product producer Henkel. Besides Henkel staff in Estonia, we also provide payroll service to their Latvian and Lithuanian employees, abiding by the tax rules of each respective country. To perform proper payroll services for foreign employees, we also work closely with our company’s Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues.

Our Tartu team also performs payroll accounting for the Estonian branch of Wise Payments Ltd, which is a company with 1700 employees. Our automated solutions and integration of payroll software with other software allows us to service a client with such a large number of employees.

ADP clients are also key service recipients for the Tartu team. ADP is a global cloud-based HR, payroll, time and tax administration solution provider. Grant Thornton Baltic has engaged in cooperation with ADP for over 10 years. Through ADP, we currently offer payroll accounting service to 12 companies in Tartu.

We always try to be innovative in our solutions and speed up our work process. We are flexible in how we use software and we pay attention to our customers’ wishes. Naturally, our Tartu colleagues use an impressive battery of software programs, such as Acclouding, SAF, Directo, Navision, Axapta, Palk365, Taavi Palk, and Persona.

At the Tartu office, we provide services to companies with different areas of activity: for example, real estate development, animal feed production, retail of home appliances, construction and owner supervision and medical services. Our portfolio also includes foundations and different associations. As a fairly new area, we now have a few companies who are engaged in crypto assets as well. The diversity of our clients and areas of activity gives us the capability of being the top experts on the accounting market.

Obstacles are no deterrent

Since the Tartu team is small, we stick together and do not shy away from challenges. The outsourcing group manager Deiwi Aru and Elis Ansip are in charge of organizing work and assuring quality. In unexpected situations that need a quick solution, all of the Tartu colleagues are hands on and can get the better of all concerns.

One success story we can boast is payroll for a company with 200 employees where we were temporarily forced to run payroll on an Excel spreadsheet and manually file the declarations of income and social tax, unemployment insurance premiums and contributions to mandatory funded pension (form TSD). We adjusted quickly and found a way to perform payroll in the absence of a functional payroll programme.

Elis Ansip Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu 2022
Elis Ansip Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu 2022

Recognition is part of the job!

Grant Thornton Baltic has a tradition of recognizing our top performers at the annual Christmas party. In 2017, Tartu outsourcing group manager Deiwi Aru received the Accountant of the Year honour, and the outsourcing group manager Elis Ansip won the titles of Senior Accountant/Project Manager of the Year and Tartuensian of the Year in 2021. Accountant Grete Külaviir, who at the time served as senior assistant, received the award of Innovator of the Year in 2020 and in 2018, the Client Experience of the Year went to ADP team accountant Liis Pajussaar, Sille Kasvandik and group manager Deiwi Aru.

Grant Thornton Baltic is very flexible as an employer. We offer the opportunity to work from home as needed to plan our time as desired. However, we value our splendid team members and thus work together most of the time in an open office setup.

We also take note of talented fresh graduates, provide all facets of support for them and contribute to their career development. In addition, we offer support and flexible job opportunities for parents returning from parental leave. To support the development of new colleagues, we have a solid onboarding programme largely based on every individual’s own abilities and development wishes. The onboarding programme consists of various online software trainings. In addition, managers of different areas meet new colleagues and introduce their work to them. To support the development of all colleagues, group leaders conduct one-to-one conversations every month so that no concern goes unsolved.

We asked our Tartu colleagues what aspects of their work they’re really passionate about.

Eveli Jürisaar, accountant: “Supportive colleagues, great events and interesting projects.”

Stella Villemson, senior assistant, accounting: “Although I have worked at Grant Thornton barely four months, I think I have gained a pretty good overview of an accountant’s everyday work. My eyes light up when I think of our satisfied, grateful clients and when I can help out in any task a team member is working on. I like our office’s uninhibited atmosphere, flexible working time and place, our many joint events with both our small Tartu team and the parties and training course aimed at all employees of our company. Although an accountant’s work may seem monotonous and routine for some, I should say that I have never found it boring once during these four months.”

Triinu Leppik, senior assistant, accounting: “When I succeed at solving a problem and the client is happy.”

Keidy Ingel, junior accountant: “Grant Thornton Baltic is my first real job. I have been here for nearly two years now and I really don’t want to go anywhere else. During this time, I have gained an immense amount of skills, experience and knowledge. An especially big life change was the friends for life I have made here at Grant Thornton Baltic.

“Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Henry Ford. Taking Ford’s quotation a bit further, I think it’s the team and my profession that I’m most excited about here at work.”

Liis Pajussaar, senior accountant: “I like that it’s interesting here – every day is new in terms of clients and sometimes the tasks are complicated. I like that we have a relaxed, pleasant small group of employees in Tartu and in contrast Tallinn is somewhat bigger. I like that the work takes some effort and is spiced up with good humour. I am glad that I am part of a hard-working, considerate team.“

Kadi Kard, senior assistant, accounting: “What makes me come alive is when there’s work. I can’t fail to mention my co-workers (read: friends) who I spend five days a week with. What more could you ask from a job than friends, pleasant time together and a good pay!“

Grete Külaviir, accountant: “I think good co-workers are very important, since we spend a very large part of our day together. We have lucked out with our Tartu team. It would be the people alone that would keep me from wanting to go anywhere else, but the professional development has also been huge – and that, too, stems from the great, supportive team. Co-workers and professional growth – I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.”

Deiwi Aru Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu 2022
Deiwi Aru Grant Thornton Baltic Tartu 2022

Deiwi Aru, outsourcing group manager: “At Grant Thornton, we enjoy great opportunities for growth and a supportive team. Our people are cohesive and work and laughter always go hand in hand. When people think of accounting, they often imagine just tables and numbers and routine work. I can assure you that’s not the way it is at Grant Thornton. We are changing all the time and we keep up with client wishes. I started working at Grant Thornton over eight years ago and it is the diverse nature of the work and career and development opportunities that have kept me here. My eyes light up when I can support co-workers in their development and see them grow. What also moves me is when we can offer clients solutions that make their work processes more efficient and I see that clients’ eyes light up as a result.“

Elis Ansip, outsourcing group manager. “For me, people are the most important – my colleagues I spend every day at the office with and clients I have the privilege to offer service to. I started working for the company in summer 2019 as an assistant, being promoted to senior assistant quite quickly, then accountant and in autumn 2021, group manager. Grant Thornton has always allowed me to grow professionally, offering me a chance to learn something new about myself every day. In the recruitment process, I often say that we are like a small family in Tartu and I always mean it sincerely, we are not just co-workers but something more.” It’s a joy to come to the office every day and make a career with people you are close to.”

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