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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! 

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