Top 5 Take-away’s From My Public Accounting Internship
As I prepared to enter my sophomore year of college, multiple upperclassmen advised me that I should go through the recruiting process if I was serious about eventually earning my CPA license. So, in hopes of embarking upon a journey to achieve one of my career goals, I paid a visit to the Career Development Office at Linfield College. And that’s where it all began.
I spent a month prior to recruiting season updating my resume, creating a cover letter, crafting an elevator pitch, doing mock interviews, and finally researching firms – all to prepare for what (at the time) seemed like the scariest thing I had faced in my entire life.
As I look back and reflect on the recruiting season, I can remember the exact day Matthew Hilton – Delap’s recruiting manager – called me, and I received my offer letter. Although I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect, I knew I was ready to get a taste of what it was like to be a CPA.
From the moment I stepped foot into the offices of Delap, I felt welcomed and appreciated, and the multitude of events over the course of my internship allowed me to build relationships with a variety of team members. As a result, the number of people who dropped by the interns’ office to welcome us to the firm and introduce themselves was incredible. Even eight weeks later, senior managers and partners still stopped by our office to see how we were doing.
As my time as an intern comes to an end, I reflect on the projects I’ve worked on, clients I’ve worked with, and software tools I’ve learned in the past two months. I look back and feel surprised – yet proud, of how far I have come.
To help bring some tangible takeaway moments from my time here at Delap, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 things I learned as an intern at a public accounting firm.
1. Everyone is willing to share their knowledge – you just have to ask. After only a few weeks at the office, and after I had completed one of my projects for the day, I was encouraged by my senior manager supervisor, Katie Kaiser, to walk around the office and to introduce myself to the people I had not yet met. I remember how I felt in the moment, when she made the suggestion I do this. I was terrified, nervous, and basically sweating at the thought of walking up to seasoned professionals and just introducing myself – out of the blue. But I stepped out of my comfort zone that day. I eventually sat in with a partner and learned about his journey to a successful career. This conversation has stuck with me since that day, and in hindsight, I’m grateful to Katie for encouraging me to do this.
2. Work is a lot like sports. As an athlete, you count on your teammates to have your back, push you to reach your potential, and pick you up when you fall behind. In my time at Delap, I’ve seen teams collaborate, lift each other, and work together to meet important deadlines. Over the last two months, even the interns have formed a little team of their own. We have bounced ideas off of one another, asked each other questions, and – most importantly – had each other’s back. I am grateful not only to call these people coworkers but also my teammates.
3. People assume you don’t know anything, and that is perfectly okay. The information overload I experienced in my first couple of days at Delap was mind boggling. It honestly made me question whether or not this was even the right career for me. I remember sitting in on one meeting in particular and feeling as if the people around me were speaking a foreign language. It was stressful and overwhelming – but it got easier. I learned not to be afraid of asking “dumb” questions and to take clear notes. The learning curve is steep, but the support of my team, and the moments when managers took time out of their day to walk me through each step of my assignment, kept me motivated and determined.
4. Get involved, and meet new people. When I look back and reflect on some of my favorite times here at Delap, it involves activities such as “Delap Kids Day” and “Delap FootGolf.” Seeing my peers interact with their kids at the office revealed a side to these successful professionals that is atypical of the workplace. During footgolf, I was able to see people in a competitive environment, outside of their professional ecosystem. It was refreshing to see them relax and have some fun. The opportunities I had to meet new people and get to know them outside of work are what have made my experience at Delap great.
5. Make the most of your internship – it goes by quickly. It’s tough to believe that my internship is nearly finished. I’m glad I was able to meet a variety of interesting people, and I will miss (but am thankful for) all of the coffee dates, lunches, and events that provided an opportunity for me to get to know my Delap peers. It’s exciting to look back on my time at Delap and walk away with a glimpse into what public accounting is actually like.
The hours spent at Delap have been fun, challenging, and full of laughs and memories that I will cherish forever. Ten months ago when I was preparing for my interviews with Delap, I looked at the website, and each partner/principal/senior manager had a blurb on why they chose Delap. Over and over again, the answer kept popping up on each profile – they had chosen Delap because of the people.
On my first day, I was excited (and a little anxious) to be surrounded by these wonderful people that influenced the Delap team members to choose this firm. I could have mostly agreed with their answer after my first day, but now I am 100% sure that I have the same answer after my two months at Delap: The people at this firm have made my two short months here enjoyable, exciting, and memorable.
Delap LLP is one of Portland’s largest local tax, audit, and consulting accounting firms, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon.