Blog Archive

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making the Most of Your Internship

Written by Greg Cohen
Consulting Intern
Miami, FL

Eight weeks into my internship, I can say I have learned more through my time with McGladrey than I have in my last three years in college. When you walk into your internship, be open to everything and anything you are exposed to, meet as many people as possible and excel at every task you are given. By following those simple guidelines, you will get the most out of any internship you get.

Working at a public accounting firm is a very eclectic experience. It doesn’t matter if you are a tax, audit or consulting intern, you will leave everyday learning far more than solely about your line of business. We serve clients and to do so, we have to learn and understand their business to provide them with the highest quality deliverable. Especially in consulting, where you breakdown a client’s internal processes, you end up understanding much more than testing internal controls, but about the nature of that business and what they do. The spillover to everyday life is incredible. I have spent a large portion of my internship working with financial institutions, and I did not know a fraction of what I have learned in regards to what goes on behind the scenes. Opportunities are always there for you to take, even as an intern, and you should take advantage of them whenever you can. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet with an industry or line of business that you are not familiar with; it can only help you in the long run.

Here’s a quick fact about McGladrey: we have more than 6,700 people in 75 cities nationwide. With a reach as far as McGladrey, you are bound to cross paths and work with someone from another office or state. Luckily, on my most recent engagement I had the opportunity to work with over 15 people from 5 different offices and even someone from an international RSM partner firm. Despite the fact that you are hard at work, you build strong friendships with the people you work with. Between Cuban coffee breaks and acquiring an appreciation for “truck music,” I have had a great time meeting such intelligent and diverse individuals. Don’t be hesitant to befriend the people you work with or engage in a conversation with them; you never know what will come from it. That leads me to my next point— put yourself out there! As an intern, everyone wants to meet and learn about you, and you should want to do the same. If there’s a networking event or company social, make sure to attend it. This entire experience isn’t just about proving that you’re a hard worker, but it is your chance to find out if McGladrey is a good fit for you. Get yourself out there and make sure that people know your name. Remember if you choose to go full-time, you will be spending a lot of time with the people you work with. Get to know them and let them get to know you.

You aren’t expected to know all about tax, audit or consulting when you start your internship. That’s why you are here; but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your hardest to excel at everything you do. At the end of the day, you want to get as much exposure to your future career as possible and determine if it is for you. The best way to do that is give it your all. Most importantly, always strive to get as much feedback as possible from your supervisors. If you know what you need to improve, you can work on it right away. If you’re on an engagement that extends over two weeks, set up periodic feedback meetings with your in charge manager or supervisor. It shows initiative and that you’re open to constructive criticism. Showing that you are interested and engaged is a good indicator of your performance when it comes down to it. Remember, there’s more to your internship than just showing up to work on-time everyday—take advantage of each aspect and make the most your internship!
Florida Gator associates, interns and externs

Friday, July 19, 2013

From Day 1 on…

by Kelly McLaughlin
Tax Intern
Orlando, FL

Kelly McLaughlin
Hello! My name is Kelly McLaughlin, and I am currently pursuing a Masters in Taxation degree at the University of Central Florida. To pick up where my fellow intern, Greg, left off, I would like to begin with my first day as a tax intern at my home office in Orlando, Florida. I was familiar with the office through recruiting events I attended, but in the days following orientation in Baltimore and leading up to our first actual day at work I was extremely nervous about walking into the office and making a mistake or looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. 

Upon entering the office, we could hear the HR Manager, Sherri, talking to the two other interns. We knew Sherri from several recruiting events at school, so she was a familiar voice we were happy to hear! When we walked into the conference room, I saw that the interns from Jacksonville were streaming live on TV! It was exciting to see that they, as well as, 60 other interns were going through the same thing at that same time.

The day turned out to be very easy going and I had nothing to worry about, as Sherri and the other managers we met were so helpful. We mostly did administration items, such as getting a tour of the office, meeting everyone, seeing where my desk was (exciting!), learning how to navigate through the Intranet and filling out a few online forms for our employee profile and payroll (woohoo!). Everyone we met told us to not hesitate if we had any questions, and that they were all there to help us. We were taken out to lunch by a few first and second year staff, which was a great opportunity for us to pick their brains and to get to know the people we would be working with for the next two months.  

The following day was completely different! As the only tax intern in the office, I no longer had the comfort of being with the other interns, and I was sent off on my own. My buddy, who is the person you are paired with during the entirety of the internship to answer any questions and help get you situated in the office, was ready with items for me to work on and we jumped right in to preparing a tax return (scary!). The client has several timeshares in each of the seven states they were located, and each individual location has to submit a tax return. After a few walkthroughs I was allowed to handle the rest on my own. The day flew by, as did the next two weeks, as I was busy learning the tax software, learning about the client, and learning how to actually process the returns, albeit easy returns. My buddy was there through every step to answer any questions or explain any information I didn’t understand. 

ZOOm Air
On Friday, June 28th, the office had “The (Way) After Busy Season Summer Outing” at the Central Florida Zoo. Our first event was a Scavenger Hunt through the zoo. We were split up into groups of ten, given a team name (we were the Two-Toed Sloths!) and handed 25 clues. Each one described an animal in the zoo, which we had to locate and write the name of the animal on our sheet of paper, within 50 minutes. Some of the clues required us to take a picture in front of the animal’s exhibit; one even required all 10 of us to be in the picture while someone from our group took the picture. Talk about getting close to your co-workers! Following the Scavenger Hunt we had lunch, while a few partners talked about their annual partner meeting that recently took place, goals for the upcoming year and the new committees we would be starting in the office. It was pretty exciting to see where the company was going in the future, and how eager everyone was to help the company reach that point. After lunch, we split up into groups according to the activity we wanted to take part in: Zip Lining, Outdoor Laser Tag or a leisurely stroll through the zoo. Having gone to the zoo several times before, I chose something new: Zip Lining. The zoo has different ropes courses through the tree tops in what they call “ZOOm Air Adventures,” consisting of platforms attached to trees throughout the property, which you reach using rope bridges, zip lines, suspended disks, rope ladders and many more. The ZOOm Air really gives you the feeling of being an animal in the tree tops looking down at all of the zoo visitors!
Laser Tag

Another intern and I were done with the zip lining around 2:00 PM and were on the way out of the zoo when we saw some of our co-workers at the laser tag course, put on by Battlefield Live Orlando. It was like no laser tag I have ever seen. The course was set up similar to a paintball course: with tents on each end to hide in, barrels and walls in the middle to hide behind and a flag to capture behind each tent. The participants wore camouflage hats and vests that had sensors and they held laser guns that made shooting sounds. Once someone was hit three times the gun would play “Man down!” indicating the player was out. It was very funny watching the teams fight each other and take the objective of protecting their flag so seriously. Who knew working for an accounting firm would be this fun! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Day in the Life: Tax Senior Associate

Interview with Shaun Cuthbert
Tax Senior Associate
Tacoma, WA
by LoriAnn Boyer, Sr. Talent Acquisition

Shaun Cuthbert, CPA
As a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for McGladrey, it’s my job to share with prospective hires what life at McGladrey is like. I’m sure candidates must think “She’s just saying that life at McGladrey is so amazing because she wants to hire me.” Yes, I want to hire you; however, if you’re serious about a career in public accounting, who better to get to know than our employees! I recently sat down with Shaun Cuthbert, Tax Senior Associate in our Tacoma office. Here’s what he had to say about his career with McGladrey.

How did you first come to be a tax professional with McGladrey?

After separating from the Army (I served as a Combat Medic in A Co., 2/3 Infantry from 2001-2007), I began my career with McGladrey in Internal Client Services as a receptionist/ backup production processor. Through exposure to tax returns, I became curious about the profession itself, and expressed interest in exploring it further. The partners and directors in the tax department were very supportive, and gave me the opportunity to do some basic data input into ProSystem. The powers that be must have seen some potential, as they increased the difficulty and complexity of the work they were giving me to do, and decreased my admin workload to accommodate the tax work. I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree with a Business Admin minor in order to satisfy the requirements needed to sit for the CPA exam (I had well over 100 semester hours from previous schooling) so that I could make official my decision to pursue a career in accounting. And here I am - now a CPA and a Tax Senior Associate in the Tacoma, WA office.

Which tax group do you work in?

I am in the Family Wealth Services/High Net Worth group, so I prepare a lot of 1040s, 1041s, 709s, and 1065s.

What is a typical “Day in Life” at McGladrey like?

My day normally starts with my rolling out of bed after a second or third slap of the snooze button on my alarm clock. After my showering, ironing my shirt and getting my gym bag together, I usually head down to the kitchen to make my morning smoothie, which I try to enjoy as I look over my days upcoming activities and appointments via my firm issued iPad.

Once I get to the office, my morning routine usually consists of firing up my computer, putting my lunch in the fridge if I didn’t forget it at home (which happens more often than I care to admit, but gives me a great excuse to eat at the awesome Thai restaurant down the street), and grabbing my first cup of coffee for the day.

I try to organize my workload for the day so that I self-review returns the morning after I prepare them. This lets me see them while I am fresh, separated a little bit from the prep. During my late mornings/early afternoons I try to clear review points I have received, or review returns I am scheduled to review. Afternoons are usually new/continuing prep work. 

Lunch time varies – depending on whether I remembered my lunch or not. A decent sized group of us frequently have lunch together, with an open invite to anyone else who would care to join us; and others frequently do. Thursdays are especially good days for lunch during the spring and summer as there is an open-air farmer’s market two blocks away that is always bursting with great food, trinkets, and locally grown fruits and vegetables (as well as fresh, locally grown, beautiful flowers to earn some brownie points at home, too!).

I am the Northwest Tax Process & Technology Program Lead, and a Navigator to a new staff person, so my days tend to be filled with more admin time and meetings than is typically normal, but I enjoy the additional tasks. I field a number of client phone calls during the course of a normal day, from requesting information, to answering questions about current year returns, to helping identify potential future planning opportunities and issues.

How does your day typically end?

My days ends with a coworker and I attending a gym to engage in some high-intensity interval-training. My drive home is usually fairly quick (albeit a bit sweaty) as I miss most of rush hour because of the gym.

What do you like about the variety of work you do?

My days are so different it’s difficult to really describe a typical one, which is really what keeps the job itself fresh and interesting. No day is the same, and each presents its own unique challenges. And I must say, my military training has really come in handy for those late-night nerf-gun battles that may or may not randomly break out during busy season :-)

If you’d like to work alongside of people like Shaun then be sure to join our Talent Community and review our job openings at Join The McGladrey Talent Community.  

We currently have the following openings in our Washington state offices.
Tax Senior Associate
Senior/Supervisor Accountant w/CPA or EA
SALT Director
Consulting Senior Associate - Risk Advisory
Assurance Supervisor - Commercial
Assurance Senior Associate - Commercial

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is McGladrey a Good Fit?

By Robyn Brooks
Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist
New York, NY

I receive a lot of great questions from students at career fairs, but one of my favorites to answer is: 
What differentiates McGladrey in the marketplace? The answer is simple – it’s our clients. McGladrey is the largest U.S. provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. 

That response usually raises a few eyebrows and questioning looks by those who aren’t familiar with the term “middle market.” When I explain that, by most estimates, the middle market is composed of roughly 200,000 firms across the country that together are responsible for one-third of our annual gross domestic product (GDP) and one-third of our total workforce, heads begin to nod. And when I continue by explaining how that market is growing – adding two million jobs during the 2007-2010 recession, and another two million since then – I can almost literally see light bulbs going off and students realize that McGladrey has strategically chosen to focus on a dynamic segment of the business population.  

Given McGladrey’s focus, you might wonder whether it’s a good for you and your skill set. That’s a great question because, just as you look for the best fit when selecting a college (taking into consideration class size, courses of study, extracurricular activities, location, etc.), you need to find the best fit for you when choosing a firm.

While McGladrey has clients of various sizes, again, its focus is on the growing middle market. This market encompasses family businesses, entrepreneurs, international companies and many brands that are household names. If you are looking for a firm that offers unlimited career possibilities but that also offers smaller culture “feel,” where your partners know your name (and a lot more about you), you might have just found you’re a good fit at McGladrey. We offer assurance, tax, and consulting services to more than 20 different industries. Just as we offer a full spectrum of services to our clients, we offer a spectrum of opportunities to our employees.

Sound good but you’re still not sure? My advice is to anyone trying to select a firm to work for is to use some of the same criteria you used when choosing your school: Consider the environment, career paths available, the people, and the firm’s positioning in the marketplace. The best fit for you is up to you, but by doing your “homework” and learning about the firms you’re considering, you can make an informed decision.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pathways Leadership Program

By Anne Hoang
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Chicago, IL

Each summer, the different regions of McGladrey host a leadership conference for aspiring and ambitious college individuals seeking a career in public accounting. These students are chosen from hundreds of applicants after completing successful interviews; so here at McGladrey, we take much pride in bringing the brightest and most high achieving individuals across many states!

One of the goals of Pathways is to expose students to the public accounting industry and to provide them insight into what a day in the life of a McGladrey employee would entail. In the Great Lakes Region, the program was held in Chicago and was filled with various panels, job shadows, and team building activities. 

Along with classroom instruction, each year we want to give our participants a chance to relax in a casual setting and see the sights of the city, as many of them are not from Chicago. Our outing this summer was held at Navy Pier, where the students participated in a boat tour along the Chicago River, followed by dinner at a famous local staple. 

On the last day of Pathways, our participants were engaged in a group simulation in which they had to create their own accounting firms and work together to attain new clients. By the conclusion of the leadership program, our students left with knowledge of work-life and culture at McGladrey as well as a bigger professional network - from partners and associates, to peers and new friends across many colleges and universities!
Group simulation
If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity in the future, please remember to visit us on campus and connect with your local Talent Acquisition Specialist. Cheers to the future leaders of public accounting!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Path to Day 1

By Greg Cohen
Consulting Intern
Miami, FL

Before I start telling you about my internship at McGladrey, I want to share with you a little bit about myself. My name is Greg Cohen, and I am an Economics major going into my 4th year at the University of Florida. Some of my pastimes include watching Gator Football, reading about international development and posting something on Instagram or Facebook. I’m stationed out of the Miami, FL office as a Risk Advisory Services Consulting intern. Throughout my series of posts, I hope to share with you my experiences, insights and tips related to my time here at McGladrey. My goal is to answer the questions I had when I was looking for an internship and preparing to start mine here. 

My journey with McGladrey began at the UF career fair. My attention was immediately focused towards the group of people standing around the McGladrey area, so I decided to approach one of the full-time associates. This is where I got my initial exposure to the high-quality of people at the firm. We began talking about McGladrey and everything the company has to offer, but we also talked about each other. She was very interested in getting to know my personality and my interests, not just my professional and extracurricular background. It was just like meeting someone at a party. I felt comfortable and very little pressure as I spoke to the recruiters and associates. My piece of advice to anyone who is interested in talking to McGladrey at an on-campus event is very simple – be yourself! I knew from the moment I left the career fair that McGladrey was the company I wanted to intern for because I knew that the people I met that day were the kind of people I would be excited about spending 40 hours a week with.

View from Baltimore office
Fast forward through the interview process and I’m at the Southeast Intern Orientation in Baltimore, MD. McGladrey flew in about 60 of us from across the east coast to learn about the firm and meet the other interns. The first perk was the incredible hotel we stayed at. It was walking distance from the Baltimore office and it had everything you could imagine. McGladrey made sure that from the moment we got off the plane, we felt taken care of and well-accommodated. It wasn’t just them trying to impress us and make us think McGladrey is awesome (which it is!), but it reflects the culture and nature of the people you work with. You aren’t just a number, you’re a person. The people at McGladrey make an effort to get to know you; they want to build a relationship with you. The second perk was all the free McGladrey gear. I had everything I needed for my first day: pens, notebooks, staplers, t-shirts and much more. I ended up using most of it during orientation because I was learning so much and wanted to reflect on it later. We had the opportunity to listen and speak to former interns and even partners. At first, I have to admit I was intimidated about introducing myself to a partner. However, all the wonderful recruiters told us how they’re normal people just like us and to not be intimidated. Guess what? They were right! One of the best conversations I had during my time in Baltimore was with a partner. He gave me the rundown of all the different certifications I could get and career paths I could take with McGladrey. The third perk was a combination of the great meals and the view from the Baltimore office itself. 

McGladrey Gators, Greg on far right
The Baltimore office was the perfect place to bring all the interns together and get us acquainted with each other and the firm. Most of us were in a city we had never been to, and we all had the same desire to learn. I met some great people that I’ve continued to stay in touch with – interns and employees alike. Orientation was an incredible experience that taught me how to leverage and grow my network, as well as expose me to the plethora of resources I have as an intern at McGladrey.