Intern Blog

Mishaps and Mistakes

Jul 31, 2021

Mishaps and Mistakes

Coming into this internship, I knew there would be some growing pains, some misunderstandings. Interns make mistakes – it’s part of the process. However, what I was pleasantly surprised by was how my mistakes were treated. Rather than annoyance and eyerolls, my questions and errors were met with an explanation and some advice. At Cohen, even silly questions are an opportunity to learn, not an opportunity to give grief. I’d like to tell the tale of one of my not-so-bright moments so that we can all have a laugh.

Oh-Oh? Oh, Oh-Oh.

With the nuances of this story, it comes off a little funnier when I say it out loud, but just humor me. During my internship, I got the opportunity to work through an entire audit binder for an ETF. It was my first project and it has been a great learning experience because I had the opportunity to work through various workpapers and procedures that I knew nothing about. I was working with a staff accountant who recently got promoted to a senior and he did a fantastic job of showing me the ropes. Through a few phone calls, Webex meetings, and in person tutorials, we managed to get through the binder and fell into a good routine in which he would shoot me a message about what he wanted me to work on and I would respond when I finished or ended up with questions.

As we’re wrapping up and working on the admin file, he tells me to work on the OO section. By the time I’ve made it to workpaper OO-03, he shoots me a message that says: “hey you can do 00-1, 00-2, OO-04?” Being the diligent worker I am, I hit him with a “sure thing!” message. I sign off on OO-02 and notice that he’s done OO-01 – strange that he would ask me to do something he already did, but I brush it off and figure he’d just forgotten. When I tell him I’m done, he asks if I had any questions and I say no and get to work on the next thing.

The next day, I get a message from my favorite staff-now-senior accountant asking me once again to sign off on -1 and -2. So, to jog his memory (as you clearly have to do with seniors; they’re getting older after all), I message him back that he already signed off as prep on the former and I’d done the latter. He sends me a screenshot of the binder.
I stare at it for a good ten seconds.
Oh.
O.
0.
Local girl learns the difference between “O” and “0” at 21 years old.
At least they were easy workpapers to finish.

The moral of the story here is that if you think you’ve made a silly mistake, made a fool of yourself in front of a coworker, or asked a stupid question – you’re not alone. Thankfully, Cohen is a place where people will laugh with you, rather than at you, and I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Angela Gavic
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign