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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.

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.