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Accounting Internships

Andrea Davisson, Tax Intern at Wipfili

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I am currently a full time tax intern with Wipfli CPA’s and Consultants in Green Bay.

Wipfli focuses on four segments of accounting: Audit, Business Advisory Services (BAS), Information Technology, and Tax.  Because the tax season requires so many hours in such a condensed time, most of their interns focus primarily on tax. 

I had some tax preparation experience, through the VITA program, before starting my internship but most of those clients were low income with relatively simple returns.  Wipfli has a wide range of clients from individual, to small business, to corporate accounts.  This variety of clientele allows for a wide range of learning experiences for interns like me.

Obtaining My Internship

From the moment I decided that I wanted to be an accountant, I knew that I wanted an internship in public accounting.  From that day, I researched many different public accounting firms to find the ones I was most interested in applying for an internship with.  I was able to make connections with Wipfli managers and partners while attending many UW Oshkosh College of Business events.

 I first met Wipfli staff at a Career Fair and was able to talk to them about my prior experience with QuickBooks.  This was important to them because many of their small business clients use QuickBooks and that is how the files are received.  I met them again at Networking Night and was able to reconnect with the same people I met at the Career Fair.  I also met with Wipfli staff at CPA night, and conducted an informational interview with the partner in charge of the eastern division at Wipfli. As I developed these relationships, it made it easier to stay connected and soon received an interview for a full-time internship with Wipfli. 

I was well prepared with facts, questions, and the contacts I had made when I walked into the interview.  All of this preparation helped me to be confident during the interview, and later, accept the full time tax internship position in the Green Bay office.

What I learned

One of the main things I have learned is what work will be like as a public accountant.  It has been a great experience and I know I will take every bit of knowledge I have gained and use it in the future.  Every day I encountered new challenges and experiences and learning to handle these professionally really helped me to grow.

I am very happy to have the opportunity that Wipfli has given me.  They invest a lot of time and money to train the interns.  We had a full week of training in Madison, and continuous learning at the office.  Seeking feedback is an important part of the Wipfli culture which makes it very easy to approach others about my performance.  Seeking feedback can be very difficult, and this internship has helped me to embrace feedback instead of fear it. 

I also learned that I truly enjoy public accounting, but I am still very interested in private.  Now that I know what to expect in public accounting, it will help me in future interviews, and to create a work life balance.  I would like to have a private accounting internship so that I have a full comparison of the two main areas of accounting. 

 

Bailey Wunderlich, Accounting/Finance Intern, Pierce Manufacturing

Bailey Wunderlich

How did you obtain your internship?

I obtained my internship through my network. My roommate worked at Oshkosh Corporate and her manager indicated to her there was a position open at Pierce. She presented him my resume and he directed it to Pierce. Fortunately, I received a call in the next few days and was able to interview for the open intern position.

How were you able to connect with other interns?

There are four interns in the finance department and luckily we have all had many opportunities to get to know each other. We work very close together so everyday we are able to connect on projects we are working on and cross train with each other to further our knowledge on the systems and processes used. Oshkosh Corporation also has numerous intern events throughout the summer allowing us to meet interns from different departments and segments.

What is the most important thing you learned while working at your internship?

I learned the importance of asking questions. Many times a project would be explained to me and I would feel I completely understood. Yet, the second I got back to my desk and started working on it a million questions would come up. I was nervous to bother my manager with continuous questions, but I learned questions are essential. It allows you to get the work done right the first time and further educates you about the project you are working on. 

Advice for Students to Find an Internship

My recommendation for students to find an internship is to network as much as possible. It takes numerous conversations with an employer for them to remember a face and name. Therefore, my advice for students is that it’s never too early to start networking. 

Benjamin Laska, Baker Tilly

 

Obtaining my Internship

When I look back at all the time I spent networking it is no surprise that I ended up at Baker Tilly for my internship. From freshman year through my senior year I was at all the networking opportunities I could go to. I first met Baker Tilly back when I was a freshman at the Career Fair. As I learned the faces and the people from Baker Tilly it became easier and more comfortable to meet with the people of their company at events. I met with them at Dining with Professionals, Networking Night, Career Fairs, Accounting club events, Baker Tilly Spend a Day during the summer, Timber Rattlers baseball game, and many other events. I built a long-term relationship with many of the recruiters there and by the time my interview came around my senior year for an internship, I barely needed to interview because they knew everything there was to know about me and I knew so much about the company already that it was an easy choice.

Connecting with Interns

As my internship has rolled on, I have found it to be very important to my success to network along with the other interns as well. They are the ones that are in the same position as you right now and it is important to get to know them so you can relate to someone else within the company. Learning from each other is a great way to become successful starting out at a company.

Advice for those Searching for Internships

A piece of advice I would give to other students who are just beginning their internship search is that you can never network enough. Even after I have worked for my internship, I have continued to attend every networking opportunity possible and meet people. However, for those starting out I would say try building relationships early on in your college career. When the time comes where you truly need to start thinking about getting an internship, if you have been networking for several years with the same people it is going to be easier to land that internship and they know you have been taking the time to communicate and learn about their company. Start early and network often is the best advice I can give anyone, you never know when you are going to need someone you networked with for a favor.

Brittany Schmude, Accounting Intern, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Brittany Schmude

Internship Overview

I am currently the Accounting Intern for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the 2014 season. I am also a double major in accounting and finance going into my 5th year and final year at UWO.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a class ‘A’ affiliate minor league baseball team located in Appleton, Wisconsin. The 2014 season marks their 20th anniversary as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers. Throughout the season the club offers a variety of different nights for fans to come out and enjoy. The different nights range from Stars Wars night, Princess Night, Christmas in July and many others. This allows the fans to experience our goal. That is to make your experience at the ballpark the best experience for every fan. 

Obtaining My Internship

I grew up in the Fox Valley area and have gone to countless number of games. I always enjoyed myself and getting to meet Fang and getting all the giveaways. Every since I was a little girl I have always enjoy watching and being involved in sports. I also have a love for accounting but I never thought the two could go together. That was until I was a Junior in college I learned of an opportunity to combine the two. I was searching Titan Jobs for summer internship and I came across an accounting internship for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  However at the time I did not meet the qualifications, but I thought to myself next season I could apply. As this season rolled around I looked to see if the internship was posted and sure enough it was and the rest is history.

What I have learned

I have learned so much about myself and my career choice during the beginning parts of my internship. After just a couple weeks of my internship I learned that I love the private side of companies verse the public for accounting purposes.  That is the one question someone would ask me that I did not know what I wanted or liked. I also learned about myself and I adjusted to having a more responsible role. At first I was really timid and shy and didn’t want to tell anyone they were doing anything wrong. Now I know it is something I can do and it is something that I am getting more comfortable with everyday. 

Chao Lee, Voith Paper

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I am currently interning at Voith Paper, Inc. located in Appleton as an accounting intern. Voith Paper is a family-owned manufacturing company founded in 1867 with approximately 40,000 employees in 280 locations worldwide. To this day, it is still a family-owned company and one of the largest, directed by a management-holding from its headquarters in Heidenheim, Germany. The company consists of four main commercial sectors: Voith Paper, Voith Hydro, Voith Turbo, and Voith Industrial Services.

How did I obtain my internship? Resources I used?

I learned of this internship through our very own internship director, Jessie Pondell. As I was in the middle of applying and interviewing with different companies, Jessie emailed me about this opportunity and I applied for it through Titan Jobs. I was contacted by phone to go in for an on-site interview where I met and interviewed with the tax department team. About a week later, I was offered the position and started in June 2012.

What feelings did I have going into the internship?

Like many students, I was very nervous for many reasons. First of all, this was a full-time co-op dealing with high-level accounting and tax work, and on top of that, this was my first internship, so I didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t gotten very far in my education yet and I especially haven’t taken a tax course so I was afraid I didn’t have all the necessary technical skills. But on the flip side, I was also very grateful and excited going into this internship. I cared a lot about my accounting classes and work; therefore, I couldn’t wait to get hands-on experience in the field!

What are some of my favorite projects?

The quarterly tax installments and year-end tax provisions and extensions are a lot of fun. Not only am I learning a lot about the book-to-tax process and all the tax principles and regulations that come with it, but I am also challenged and kept busy with these projects. Another project I enjoyed includes the Process Documentation project that is new this season. Documenting each tax process from beginning to end has helped me see the department’s projects and tasks in a larger picture, enabling me to easily understand how and why they do it.

My Future

I am very content in my major selection thanks to Voith. My real-world experience in the accounting field reaffirms me that accounting work involves all the things I enjoy doing. I plan to intern more throughout my remaining time at UWO and hopefully end up with the perfect career after graduation. My ability to take on work and problem-solve through the challenging responsibilities at this organization has given me the confidence and skill sets to do anything. Nothing’s impossible.

Emily Dittman, Internal Audit Intern at Sentry Insurance

Internship Overview

This summer marked the end of my sophomore year at UW Oshkosh and the beginning of my first internship through Sentry Insurance. As an accounting and finance major, I just recently began my search for a suitable internship experience. Luckily, I was hired by Sentry as an Internal Audit Intern for the duration of the summer of 2013. So far it has been a tremendous experience. I had no knowledge of audit prior to my new job and I am required to learn very quickly as I am introduced to the audit process, various software, fellow interns, and other Sentry associates.

Obtaining My Internship

The first time I heard about Sentry was while I was busy filling out scholarships my senior year of high school. I found the Sentry Leadership Scholarship under the Sentry website and decided to apply for it knowing chances were probably slim since only two people were selected. Fortunately, I received this scholarship and through it was invited to tour Sentry. I had never been inside Sentry Insurance's home office before and found the structure very impressive and a little daunting. Along with other scholarship winners, I was treated to a presentation about Sentry's well-known internship program. It was stressed throughout the presentation that Sentry usually hired students coming out of their junior year of college but I applied anyway just in case.

Two months after submitting my application, I received a phone call requesting my attendance for an interview. Although my interview went very well, all of my interviewers repeatedly commented on my lack of experience and completion of key courses. I left that day thinking there was no way I would get the internship but might have a shot the following year. To my great surprise I received a phone call from HR just three weeks later inviting me to join the Sentry staff which I graciously accepted.

Internship Progress

Already, my internship is halfway over and I am surprised by how much I have learned. I have spent many hours researching the audit process and even completed a small audit of my own within my first two weeks. Right now I am busy working on two independent audits along with completing testing for larger audits that was led by other members of the Internal Audit team. I am also busy working on writing a business plan addressing a real issue within Sentry's operations with four other interns. This business plan is part of a summer long project that will be presented to a panel of judges in August of 2013. So far, the project has been challenging but fun and very informative concerning Sentry's business model. Every day presents new challenges within my regular duties and the intern project requiring investigation that expands my knowledge of internal audit procedures.

Closing Comments

Overall, my internship has been a great experience thus far and I feel sad thinking it will soon be over. However, I would not trade the experience for anything. Not only have I been able to learn new things, but I have gathered knowledge that will contribute to my major and have met some really great people that I am sure will be part of my life in the future. The main lesson to learn through my experience is to never disqualify yourself from anything! Even though you might not have enough experience or feel like you have a slim chance of obtaining something go for it anyway. I would not have been able to complete this amazing opportunity if I had given up before I even tried. I feel so blessed to have been chosen for this internship and I hope everyone gets to experience something like it at least once in their lives.

Robert Brush, Accounting/Finance Intern, Oshkosh Corp


Overview

I am currently an intern at Oshkosh Corporation working in the corporate Accounting/Finance department. With over 280 interns company wide, Oshkosh Corp is a great first step for any college student. I am a junior majoring in Accounting. If everything goes according to plan, I will be graduating in May of 2016.

How I obtained my internship

This internship found me through LinkedIn. I was at a conference in Arizona for the Student Veterans of America when Ashley Thoma sent me a message asking me for an updated resume to fill one of several positions Oshkosh Corp has to offer. After sending my resume, I was asked to participate in a phone interview followed by an in-person interview a week later. I had two interviews one with my current position and the other with the Tax department.

Challenges

The biggest challenge of my position was training. Basically my job is based on a monthly and quarterly schedule and can be completely different from one day to the next. That being said, the intern training me could only conceptually explain what needs to be done without actually seeing key steps the way they should be done. It just made it hard to learn what to do without actually doing it or in most cases only being able to see it done once. 

Connect with other interns

Oshkosh Corp understands the challenges with interns to connect with other interns. Oshkosh has set-up many opportunities for interns to connect. A few opportunities are intern volleyball teams, lunch with the CEO, and an intern softball team to name a few. I have decided to join one of the intern volleyball teams. I have meet engineering interns from MIT, Platteville, and Boston. As a group outside of volleyball, we recently celebrated a birthday.

Responsibilities

As stated above, my responsibilities are all monthly, quarterly, a occasionally yearly. My main monthly tasks are verifying exchange rates, bank reconciliations, amortizing miscellaneous prepaid accounts, and putting together an operations package for various executives and controllers. The most time consuming task is the operations packages. The main reason this is the most time consuming is because I am dependent on nine other people to complete their responsibilities prior to me being able to start. As imagined, one delay will cause a delay in the disbursement of the packages to the executives and controllers. The schedule does not have any room for the delays, which means I need to put in a few more hours on that particular day.

Stefanie Schuh, Tax intern, Schenck SC


How I Obtained my Internship

I am currently working at Schenck SC in Appleton as an intern for the tax season, and I used pretty much every resource in the book to obtain it. My first encounter with a representative at Schenck was at the Career Fair on the Fox as a sophomore. I’ve been taking every opportunity to network ever since, including Accounting Club, CPA Night, Networking Night, and UWO alumni.

Helpful Coursework

It’s amazing how much of my course work has been useful these past few months. Obviously, Federal Income Taxation has been the most helpful. No matter what issues Schenck clients throw at me, I had more than likely been exposed to it on my tax homework. Quantitative Business Analysis has also been a useful class. I don’t use Microsoft Excel incredibly often, but when I do, it’s a very complicated spreadsheet that makes me very thankful that I learned all of the tricks in QBA. It was also a good idea not to forget accounting basics from introductory courses. Many of the tax returns require digging through clients’ bookkeeping, and you need to know how the journal entries work to pull the correct numbers.

Impact on my Career Path

I’ve known that I wanted to go into accounting since I was a sophomore in high school. Throughout my first years of college, I tried narrowing my career path, but couldn’t make a solid choice between public or private accounting. I loved my corporate tax internship as a junior/senior, but I still wanted to try out public accounting to get an idea of what I wanted to do with my life before graduation. I’ve been at Schenck since January, and I know that this is where I’d like to be going forward.

My Advice to Future Interns

My experiences have allowed me to come up with a list of things I wish I knew going in to a new job. I would encourage all students to know these going into an internship:

  • Check every calculation twice. Everyone gets review points, but the ones you can avoid involve checking your work. It takes an extra couple of seconds to type it in to the calculator. It’s amazing how many small mistakes can be avoided.
  • Everything takes longer than you think. Don’t sit on a piece of work until the deadline is near. Get questions answered with time to spare in case there are more complications.
  • Get to know your coworkers and how they like to be contacted. More often than not, a busy person likes to be contacted face to face rather than an email. Some, however, prefer the email or a phone call. Find out who you’ll be needing to contact the most and ask them what they prefer. It increases efficiency in communication.
  • Ask questions/show what you did. When everyone is very busy, it’s difficult to bother them with questions. From my experience, it seems they would rather be addressed about the issue before sending it through for the reviewer to discover the mistake. At the very least, leave a note to explain why something was done.