Halfway Point: Comfortable with being Uncomfortable
Jul 20, 2021
This week marks my halfway point with my internship at Cohen and Company working in the closely held vertical to assist in the audit of 401k Benefit Plans. This is my first real-world experience in the accounting field and my first experience in the business world in general. Before the internship started, I was met with the typical nerves and excitement of starting something new. I was nervous about fitting in with the rest of the interns, not knowing enough prior information about accounting, and navigating through the work life balance of a full-time employee. My experience thus far has been amazing and incredibly valuable. Throughout this process I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, which I believe is a valuable life lesson everyone must learn to be successful. The two biggest takeaways I have gained from my internship is the advice and experience from other Cohen employees and the knowledge and understanding of various audits I have assisted on.
I think one of the greatest aspects of an internship with Cohen and Company is the culture they foster and their genuine desire to share and mentor the younger generation. Every Friday, the interns have a conversation with a firm leader or partner at the company to learn about their experience in the accounting world and answer any questions we might have. In addition, I have had the pleasure attending lunches, happy hours, or meetings with different employees in the office. All Cohen employees will go out of their way to make sure the interns are welcomed into the firm and immersed in the strong community this firm prides itself on. Since we are so young in our career, as interns, we have the advantage to learn about the different paths professionals have taken, which then helps us navigate through our own career journey. This is information that one cannot learn in a classroom setting. At times in my college career, it can be stressful deciding what type of career path to go into with an accounting major; however, having the opportunity to talk to so many professionals and soaking up all the advice and knowledge they have to offer has been incredibly beneficial to help me determine where I see myself fit in accounting world upon graduation.
During the first week of my internship, I was overwhelmed with all the new information being taught to me. Most of the audit work I have completed is mainly about Benefit Plans. I thought I was never going to be able to learn all this information in such a short period of time. However, as I reflect on my time spent, I have realized just the amount of knowledge I have gained. I have learned about all the different procedures and practices that need to be followed to conduct an audit, various types of benefit plans and how each one works, and how to preform various testing to make sure the plan is following all the rules and regulations properly. At first, before I started any assignment, the staff, senior, or manager would have to walk me through, step-by-step on how to properly complete the workpaper. They were then met with many questions from me so I can try to understand the task at hand to complete it as efficiently as possible. I am very grateful for their willingness and genuine interest in my success as an intern. Oftentimes interns other places are given mindless work to complete without the background or understanding of the task at hand; however, that is not the case here. Everyone at Cohen understands how very little knowledge us interns have, so they are very accommodating in trying to give us a full understanding of the audit or task being done. Now that I have received in-depth training from the engagement teams I have worked on, I can now more confidently complete tasks in a shorter period with less and less questions as I go on. I am very proud of that accomplishment and I cannot wait to see what else I can learn in the second half of my internship!
Becca Koetter - University of Dayton