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Monthly Archive for April, 2012

Internship Spotlight: Mark Juedes, Clifton Gunderson Allen

Mark Juedes, Accounting Major

History & Background

Clifton Gunderson was founded in 1960 in Peoria, Illinois. Before the start of 2012, the firm ranked around 15th in the nation in firm-generated revenues. At the start of 2012, Clifton Gunderson merged with the similar-sized firm Larson Allen to form Clifton Larson Allen, the newest top 10 certified public accounting firm in the United States.

The firm has 90 locations throughout the United States and serves over 150,000 clients on an annual basis to bring in approximately $550 million of revenue in 2011, combined.  The main service areas for Clifton Larson Allen include audit, accounting, tax, consulting and advisory.

The primary industries include agribusiness, cooperatives, dealerships, employee benefit plans, federal government, financial institutions, health-care, manufacturing, distribution, non-profit and state and local governments. Employees within the firm generally work across one or a couple of these industries to gain expertise to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness for both the firm and the client.

My Role at Clifton Larson Allen

Throughout the spring, I have been able to experience a large amount of both audit and tax work. I started my internship in January working on audits up until the beginning of March. I was able to partake in audits for manufacturers in the paper industry, local-governments, service providers, medical production, and plastic manufacturing clients. This wide variety of experiences helped me see what kind of clients I would be most interested in working for.

For only an internship, I was provided a lot of opportunities to travel throughout the state and mid-west on audits. My most enjoyable audit was flying to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a week stay to work on the Oshkosh office’s largest audit client.

Early in January, I prepared property tax returns for both businesses and individuals using the MR & MP forms. Starting about midway into March, my focus shifted primarily to tax work. I started working on basic returns and rapidly moved on to more complex returns that included business income, partnerships, S-corporations, farm income, rental income and foreign businesses and residence. Additionally, I assisted in preparing some business returns, which can be far more complicated based upon the type and number of owners.

My Experience

Going into my first public accounting internship, I had no idea what to expect. I, like many others, was “thrown into the fire” in January and had to learn quickly. There was not much time for me to adjust to my new work place before I was being sent out to clients on audits. I embraced the time I had to improve my communication and problem-solving skills when working on these audits. Clifton Larson Allen was excellent at providing me these kinds of experiences in order to grow as a professional. Soon after my audits ended, I quickly picked up tax work. Being allowed to work on more complex returns, other than the basic returns, allowed me to become more confident in my abilities as well as become more marketable to the professional job-force.

Closing Statements

I was nervous going into my internship with all of the unknowns ahead of me. Looking back on it, this was the most invaluable experience I will ever gain heading into the work-force and by far out ranks any internship I have ever held.

A full-time experience working around 60-70 hours a week helped me “engulf” myself in the job and made a huge difference in the amount I learned, versus only working part-time or 40 hours at a regular internship. Being on the job so much forces you to pick up a lot of material that you otherwise would not have gotten the opportunity to work on or pick up. Given the opportunity, I believe all College of Business students would greatly benefit from completing a full-time internship.

Internship Spotlight: Julianna Race, Oshkosh Corporation

Julianna Race, Accounting Major

Company Overview: Oshkosh Corporation

Oshkosh Corporation is a manufacturing company which produces specialty vehicles.  The Defense segment produced military vehicles, Access Equipment produces various lifts and towing equipment, Fire & Emergency designs and builds fire and rescue vehicles, and Commercial manufactures mixers and refuse vehicles.  There are business units located in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

My Role in Corporate Finance

I work in the Corporate Finance Department of Oshkosh Corporation.  I have specific tasks that I am assigned to do at each month end close including bank reconciliations, keeping track of prepaid expenses, assisting with the compilation of the working papers, and more.  I also help with the preparation of the monthly reporting packages.

Quarter closes add additional responsibilities for me.  I am in charge of collecting all audit schedules for the company and verifying that the ledger balances match those on the schedule and that all the appropriate people have signed each schedule.  There are over 700 schedules that I need to keep track of, so it is important that I don’t misplace anything and that the books are set up in case auditors should need to review.

One of my other big responsibilities is completing Census Bureau Surveys.  There are numerous surveys that I get each month that need to be completed regarding various business units.  These can be a challenge at times because I need to reach out to people at the different business units to try to get information from them.  I like this aspect of it because it allows me to become more familiar with what each business unit actually does.

My job involves working with people in different areas of the accounting throughout the company.  I don’t have a set idea of what I want to do once I graduate, so this is a great opportunity for me.  I can talk to different people and see what their jobs actually involve, so I can get a better idea of what I may or may not want to do once I graduate.  It really is teaching me a lot.

For a while I wondered how much of the things that we learn in school really apply to what goes on in the real world.  This internship is really pulling concepts together that I may not have fully understood while going through classes.  Just recently in my Intermediate class we learned about Pension Expenses.  This idea was really solidified for me when I began working with the pension account at work.  The experience makes the concepts we learn more clear and clarifies why we do what we do.

My Advice

When I started in the COB, I dreaded the idea of the various networking events that were required of students.  I am not good at making small talk, and the thought of these events terrified me.  Last fall, I managed to make it through Networking Night and the Career Fair On the Fox, but didn’t make any lasting impressions on anyone.

Luckily, Dining with Professionals was a few weeks later.  I made sure to sit at the Oshkosh table where I was introduced to Tom Lyga.  We talked a little during the meal but again, I didn’t know what kind of impression I had made.  The following week, I attended an Accounting Club event which had Oshkosh as its presenter.  Tom was there again, and after the presentation was finished, I went up to thank him for attending the meeting.

I expressed my desire to work for Oshkosh and he told me to send him my resume and he would take a look.  I sent it to him that night, and the following week I had an interview with the company, and a few days after the interview I had a job.  I never realized how important networking was until that moment.  If it hadn’t been for the different events offered at the college, I know I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.

Internship Spotlight: Aaron Wojciechowski, Schenck SC

Aaron Wojciechowski, Accounting Major

Company Overview

“CPAs and So Much More.”  This is the Schenck slogan and explains that the firm offers a wide variety of services to clients in various industries.  Schenck is a highly regarded accounting firm and has been in operation since 1930.

Obtaining the Internship

I was selected for an On-Campus Interview with Schenck for a full time tax internship position last September.  When the firm offered me a position in their Milwaukee office, I was excited but yet uncertain about where to live.

Milwaukee did not have much to offer for short term housing, so it was difficult to find something available for the four months of tax season.  Fortunately, a family friend has a nephew who had an open spot at his apartment near the UW Milwaukee campus.  The living situation worked out to be perfect for me living with him and two other roommates.  The internship came at a great time, because I had taken a majority of the intermediate and advanced courses in the accounting major.

Tax Season Experience

Training started in the Appleton office for about a week, followed by additional training in the Milwaukee office.  There was a large amount of information to absorb in training.  A challenge for me was getting used to the software that Schenck uses on a daily basis.  To overcome this challenge, it took a lot of repetition and asking questions to get comfortable with.

For the first month I was assigned personal property tax returns to complete.  These were mixed in with various corporate and partnership returns.  Throughout all of March and into April, I mainly prepared individual and trust tax returns.  Learning about how tax laws apply to situations was interesting, and some of the information I had studied in my college courses.  I also completed projects for some of the shareholders, which was a nice change of pace from my normal workload.

The long hours of work during busy season were quite an experience.  Working early in the morning to late at night was an adjustment I had to make, but was rewarding nonetheless.  I am grateful for the experience gained working for a CPA firm, as well as the friends I made along the way.

Activities Outside of Work

Every Sunday night I played in our office’s basketball league.  We played against the Big Four accounting firms, as well as other firms in the Milwaukee area.  It was a great way to connect with some of the people at the office and play fun, competitive basketball.  The tax department held a fun paddle ball event on St Patrick’s Day.  The game is basically a cross between tennis and racquetball, with the ability for a person to play the ball off of the fence.  A nice perk to living so close to downtown Milwaukee was experiencing the nightlife.  The city has a lot to offer and I’m glad I had the opportunity to live here!

Advice

Students who are faced with the decision to relocate for an internship like I had to, should take advantage of the opportunity.  There may be a concern of not knowing what to expect, but I believe the real world experience you will gain will be well worth it in the end.

I would like to thank Schenck SC for providing me the opportunity to start my career path and also to everyone at the Milwaukee office who helped and supported me throughout my internship.  I would also like to thank the College Of Business for promoting and making me aware of the full time internship opportunities.

Internship Spotlight: Matthew Palecek, Miller Electric

Matthew Palecek, Accounting Major, with the motorcycle produced in homage of Miller Electric’s 75th anniversary celebration by famous Miller product users Orange County Choppers.

Introduction

I am a junior Accounting Major at UW Oshkosh and I currently work at Miller Electric Manufacturing Company as an accounting intern in the central headquarters building located in Appleton, WI.  Miller Electric is one of the nation’s top manufacturers in arc welding and cutting equipment.

Miller Electric strives itself on setting the global standard in product liability, quality, and responsiveness of their products since origination in 1929.  Miller Electric has kept this long lived tradition alive by keeping their consumers as the top priority for all business strategies.

My Role at Miller Electric

I started at Miller Electric Manufacturing Company in September 2011 as the accounting intern for the central accounting department.  My position at Miller Electric requires me to work with multiple areas of accounting daily and to provide any support needed to other Miller accounting personnel.

My tasks consist of supporting accounts receivable, accounts payable, certain financing programs, and particular tax work for Miller Electric. My daily activities also require me to work and communicate with many different businesses working with Miller Electric to properly serve consumers.

Challenges

There is a lot of information to gather in when working at a large manufacturer such as Miller Electric and can be a little overwhelming at first.  The complexity and depth of the operations at Miller were more than I ever imagined they would be.  I am happy to say with time, hard work, and use of my education provided from UW Oshkosh I have developed nicely into my current role at Miller.  Though my development I am now excited to take more tasks on in the future to further expand my experiences at Miller.

Overall Experience

I have greatly appreciated every moment of my internship at Miller Electric.  This position has given me the view of business that you cannot produce from the classroom or in a textbook.  Miller Electric is a great company to work for and employs a great core of workers to produce an excellent work environment.

My confidence of career path choice has increased greatly for the future and I am glad to say I am excited for what possibilities are out there.  I now know I can take this great experience from my internship and mold myself into a better business professional because of it.

Internship Spotlight: Brian Krieger, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

Brian Krieger, Accounting Major

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, is a full-service accounting and advisory firm. It is an independent member of Baker Tilly International and is ranked as one of the top 20 largest public accounting and advisory firms in the United States. Its offices consistently earn “Best Place to Work” awards.

What I Do

This is my second tax season internship with Baker Tilly. My first internship was quite different from my current experience. During my first internship, I was taking a full class schedule so my hours were limited. I mainly worked on individual tax returns with limited exposure to partnerships and corporations. After my first internship, I was invited back to intern for another tax season.

Full-time vs Part-time Internships

Many accounting firms offer both full-time and part-time internships, and UW Oshkosh has worked on its accounting curriculum in order to make it easier for students to gain the experience of a full-time tax season internship without pushing back the students’ graduation date. From my experience of having both a full-time and part-time tax internship, I highly recommend the full-time internship.

During my current full-time tax season internship, I was able to experience a wider variety of projects. Some projects, such as a reviewed financial statements engagement, require an employee to be at a client site for multiple days in a row. This is simply not possible for part-time interns because of class schedules. Being part-time also limits one’s ability to prepare larger corporate tax returns because of the amount of time required to prepare them.

Having a full-time internship also expedites the learning curve dramatically. Being in the office every day and being able to focus solely on work rather than both work and school makes it much easier to learn. I actually found the full-time internship to be a lot less stressful because instead of studying or going to class after working several hours, I have been able to relax at home instead of worrying about exams and papers.

A full-time internship also gives you a more realistic expectation for a career in public accounting. I have been able to work on companies in multiple industries, meet and work with CEOs and CFOs of multimillion dollar businesses, and learn the ins and outs of the various types of legal entities (sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, fiduciary trusts, and not-for-profits).

My Advice

  • Keep an open mind

When I accepted an internship at Baker Tilly, I had no idea if I liked tax or not. In my opinion, it is impossible to honestly say that you love taxes before ever gaining exposure to them outside of a classroom. What I enjoyed about my first internship, and what I still do enjoy, is the challenge. Every day I learn something new.

Baker Tilly fosters an environment where an intern can approach anyone, including partners, and ask them questions. Not only do they answer your question, but they explain it to you in a way that you can understand it. It can be an overwhelming experience your first couple weeks as you are learning the basic foundation of tax, but as you progress, it is incredible how much you learn.

  • Culture

Find an employer that fits your personality and focuses on creating a learning environment. If you plan on pursuing a tax or audit career, the culture and work environment are probably the most important aspects to consider when accepting a job offer.

It is true, that during various tax deadlines, the typical American work-week for a tax accountant is extended. You need to be in an environment in which you are motivated to work hard, an environment in which allows you to feel comfortable communicating with senior employees, and an environment in which you can enjoy yourself.

I have worked plenty of hours this tax season, but I’ve also had a lot of fun at work and outside of work. For example, during this tax season, I’ve played basketball almost every Thursday night at a basketball court that Baker Tilly reserves, I’ve went bowling with my team twice, and have had multiple other team outings.

Internship Spotlight: Samantha Buschman, Clarity Care, Inc.

Samantha Buschman, Human Resources Major

Clarity Care, Inc. History

Clarity Care, Inc. was founded by two mothers in 1972. These mothers were worried about what was going to happen to their children who had developmental disabilities after they passed away. They then created a group called Residential Care for Developmentally Disabled which became Clarity Care in 2003. Clarity Care is now a non-profit organization that serves a large part of Northern Wisconsin.

Clarity Care has two sectors of their business: Residential and Home Health. The home healthcare services allow employees to serve clients inside of their home with their daily needs.  They make sure that all of the clients are getting the care that they need in their daily lives and activities.

The second sector of business, residential services, is more of a group home setting. There are group homes in 6 different counties. The residents that typically live in these homes are no longer to care for themselves. They are taken care of at all hours of the day, every day.

My Experience with Clarity Care

I help out with the rest of the Human Resource Management team with a number of things. So far, I have helped with interviews, application tracking, managing the company website and intranet, attended job fairs, held meetings regarding the employee wellness group, and several other HR functions.

I still have a few things left to learn, mainly regarding FMLA and Employee Benefits. I have a few more months left at Clarity Care and hope to gain all the relevant knowledge I need to be a successful HR employee.

There are 4 other interns at Clarity Care with me right now. All of us are rotating positions throughout our internship, learning the different functions of HR. It’s helpful that there are other people around that are in the same position that I am. It makes it easier to ask questions and feel more at ease whenever I’m confused on something that I am working on.

I am very glad that I am interning at Clarity Care. I think that it has taught me a lot so far in the HR field that classes couldn’t teach me on their own. The “on hands” experience has given me a different aspect of what field I am going into and I am now more excited to start my career as a HR professional.

Internship Spotlight: Adam Lochman, College Pro Painters

Adam Lochman, SCOM Major

My name is Adam Lochmann I am currently interning with College Pro Painters as a Franchise Manager. I obtained this internship throughout the UW Oshkosh website for internships, also I had to go through 3-4 interviews with my current supervisor. The resource I used to find the internship was Titan Jobs, it was a very helpful tool that I was able to use to set-up my first interview.

I was hired on with College Pro in October of 2011 and signed a one year agreement to own a franchise. The areas I will be painting this summer includes Northern Waukesha, Pewaukee, and Colgate Wisconsin.  Going into my internship I was a little scared to be running my own business and having the amount of pressure that comes with it. The thing that helped me the most was my past experience in small business management and the support of my family and friends.

For my internship thus far, I have implemented almost every College of Business course I have ever taken. It is nice to be able to translate my everyday classes into my internship, also this will help me learn more and further my experience with this company. The biggest challenge thus far would have to be the amount of time needed to succeed. Between 18 credits, playing football at the University, and now running my own small business, there has been little time to relax. Although I have been able to handle the time commitment so far, it has been tough.

The value that I feel I have brought to College Pro Painters, is my positive attitude, no matter what the situation I always try to make it fun. With this business being ran by mostly college kids it can get competitive, but no matter what happens we always seem to have fun.

I do believe that this internship has shown me that I have indeed chosen the correct career path, as a Supply Chain Operations major, I get to use those skills everyday. This summer I will have 9-12 people working for me, this experience will test my leadership skills to the max.

A typical day on the job for me consists of talking with home owners about their home’s exterior appearance. I have to be knowledgeable in every type of paint we use, how we apply the paint and the preparation and clean up of the job site. We are dealing with real home owners biggest investments, and we are responsible to make them look great. Also I deal with my personal employees, I make sure they are on track for the days tasks and are completing each task in a friendly and professional manner.

Internship Spotlight: Danielle Clark, Huberty and Associates

Danielle Clark, Accounting Major, Intern Staff Accountant

Company Overview: Huberty and Associates

Huberty and Associates was founded in the early 1940’s in Fond du Lac since then it has branched out to Ripon, Plymouth, Markesan, and Campbellsport. They offer tax planning and preparation, payroll, business consulting, and a range of other financial services for business and individual clients. Their mission at Huberty and Associates is “to provide quality financial services on a timely basis at reasonable rates.”

My Role and Experience with Huberty and Associates

My internship with Huberty and Associates began January 30, 2012 and will end once tax season is over with on April 15, 2012. My main role is to prepare individual tax returns and when time allows it I am able to perform compilation accounting work.  I also help with other office task like calling clients to let them know when their tax returns were complete in order for them to come in and sign.  Overall, I am continuously busy doing something which is nice.

When I first began I was nervous since everyone who is working here has at least fourteen years experience, where I only took one semester of federal taxes for individuals. However, everyone here is very supportive and eager to answer any questions I have. They started me out with simple tax returns and gradually moved me on to more difficult returns.  I am learning not only how to prepare individual tax returns, but also how to manage my time, interact with my co-workers on a professional level, and also develop my career path. These all play a part in developing my skills to help me in my future career.

So far I have had an amazing internship; I am learning a lot more about this side of accounting and about what I am wanting in my career.  Every day I learn something new with each return because each one is unique, and then I am able to apply to future returns that have something similar. I am grateful to have gotten the experience from this internship.  I was hesitant to do a full time internship at first, but now I would urge others to do the same.

Internship Spotlight: Rudie Heling, Northwestern Mutual-The Blevons Group

Rudie Heling, Northwestern Mutual-The Blevons Group

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network-The Blevons Group

Since 1954, the offices of The Blevons Group have played an important role in the finances of individuals and affairs of businesses.  Agents and staff from The Blevons Group work with individuals and organizations to clarify their future needs.

We provide financial products and services that are designed to protect the best interests of our clients throughout life.   The Blevons group does this through products like insurance, investments, and other financial solutions.

My Experience

My experience at Northwestern Mutual has been rewarding and I feel like I am gaining the sales experience I need to succeed in the insurance business.  I utilize my communication skills and ambitious self-motivated personality to help clients achieve financial security for themselves and their heirs.

Upon being hired for the position as a Financial Representative, I needed to be licensed in the state of Wisconsin to possess the knowledge to sell the products that I would recommend to my clients.  I passed the state licensing exam for Life, Accident and Health insurance in Wisconsin after studying pre-licensing material also required by the state.

I also had to pass two Fastrack sales exams that went along with the Fastrack sales school that I attended at Northwestern Mutual.  In this class we did role-playing for outbound sales practice with each other to prepare for the real calls we would be making once all of us were licensed.

On the Job…

I set weekly goals each week in client builder meetings with my development supervisor to learn the subtle niches of the industry.  These goals also help me keep up with phoning and prospecting to make my business grow.  The work atmosphere is one of my favorite parts of working at Northwestern Mutual.  Everyone always makes me feel welcome and is willing to help me with any problem I come across.

I am happy with my internship experience at Northwestern Mutual.  They have given me a great deal of guidance to advance my skills in marketing and sales.  I feel like I improve every day, and it gets easier to talk naturally in my own language and uncover explicit needs of my clients to help them achieve their financial goals.  I highly recommend this internship to anyone who wants a great learning experience in marketing and sales, specifically outsides sales experience.

Internship Spotlight: Nick Patrick, UWO Department of Res Life

Nick Patrick, Accounting Major

My name is Nicholas Patrick and I am a senior at UW Oshkosh (UWO).  I am currently interning with the Department of Residence Life at UW Oshkosh as an accounting analyst intern.  The job environment is very welcoming at Residence Life, and I feel I am getting an in-depth look into what I may be doing in my professional career.

About Residence Life

The Department of Residence Life is a key component to the success of student at UW Oshkosh.  Residence Life works cohesively with all other departments within UWO to help students succeed and accomplish their goals.  Residence Life’s main goal is to create a comfortable, clean, well-maintained, and affordable residence hall environment.

What I do as the Accounting Analyst Intern…

As the Accounting Analyst Intern for Residence Life, I have a wide-array of tasks and responsibilities to attend to on a daily basis.  One of my larger tasks is to create a streamline accounting system that adapts to the needs of all users, as well as captures all financial information that is created on a daily basis.

The financial information that is captured will be analyzed to create projections, show trends, and relay vital financial data to users in need.  The accounting system will have the capabilities to be used by all individuals within the Department of Residence Life, and will be accessible from anywhere in the world that has access to the Internet.

Start Date

I started my internship in February 2012.  I was lucky enough to transfer from the Purchasing Assistant position, my previous position with Residence Life, into the Accounting Analyst Intern.  Both of these positions have broadened my knowledge of the accounting field, and have been a very important piece to the success of my college career.

A Typical Day as the Accounting Analyst Intern

My day usually starts off with sifting through a large amount of emails that have come in over night and from the previous day.  Next, I will check to be sure there aren’t any outstanding payments or invoices that need to be processed.  There are a few different ways invoices and bills need to be paid, and a knowledge of knowing how to process these is very important.  After paying any bills, I will usually be thinking about any additions or changes that need to be done for the accounting system that will be implemented.  This process is a daily process and needs to be kept up-to-date.  Finally, I will review any other paperwork or tasks that need to be accomplished in the upcoming day, week, or month.

The Future

I believe this internship will be a vital piece to the success of my accounting career in the future.  I feel very confident in the job I’m doing, and couldn’t imagine being in any other area of business.  I am very happy with my internship, and have full support from everyone in our department at Residence Life.


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