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Friday, February 27, 2009

The McGladrey Intern Experience - Rachel: Part 2

If you read my last blog post, you know it was a pretty intense week. Well, apparently that was just a warm-up for this week. I now have a thorough and more accurate appreciation of this profession. Accompanying this vocational understanding is a deep and profound respect for the professionals, the people who work and live this business. I have never seen (or imagined) a group of such hard-working, dedicated and committed individuals. I now know and understand the full measure and meaning of the term, "busy-season."

The longer hours began with a new client. I must begin by saying that my manager on this project should get an award for how patient she has been with me throughout this process. She gave me the opportunity to work on a completely new client – while exciting, honestly scared me to death. With no prior year as a reference or guide, I felt like a tightrope walker without a net. I would be completely responsible and there would be no whipping boy, no one to blame for mistakes. An intern’s best friend of an excuse “I just copied what they did last year” would not work here. So, I took a deep breath and dove into my work papers – which surprisingly, weren’t too bad. I even linked my return from case ware (the software that the auditors use).

I was feeling pretty good. Then, I learned my first lesson with caseware - always make sure your caseware file is accurate before you link it. Otherwise, you end up in my situation - a return that makes absolutely no sense. Luckily, my manager caught the mistake. Well, this is where it gets interesting. My version of the caseware file was not syncing with anyone else's. Although I did not know much about caseware, I did understand the number one rule: the auditors will kill you if you mess up their book balance. I was apprehensive that I had made a mistake and was going to feel the wrath of an auditor who had spent weeks on a jobsite. Thankfully, my anxiety was short lived as my manager contacted the audit team. Once again, luck was on my side. I had not messed up anything per se; there was actually an incorrect copy floating around.

After my manager relayed the importance of this caseware file being fixed, we moved on. So far, I have attempted the federal return and work papers about two or three times. This is where I have seen, felt and appreciated the patience of my manager. Either she hasn’t reached a point of utter frustration with me or she keeps it well-hidden. In either regard, she allows me to try and try again. I’m hoping her patience and tolerance extends to the partner who is reviewing my return today. Although this partner is considered very intimidating, he kind of reminds me of my dad. So, his critique can't be too bad, right? After all, I grew up in a household run by a marine. I played spy and espionage games with my older brother who later became a soldier who regaled me with stories (and horrors) of basic training. Um, now that I think about it, there are definitely some parallels. Perhaps, an accounting internship is a boot camp for the accounting profession. Sound off – one, two. Sound off – three, four….….

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