Intern Blog

Succeeding as a New Intern in a Remote Environment

Mar 01, 2021

Coming into Cohen & Co., I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since this would be my first public accounting internship. Not only would this be my first public accounting internship, but it would be one of the first I would experience remotely. I was afraid that it would be harder to learn and succeed in a remote environment, but I am here to tell you that is just not true!

From the moment I started interviewing with Cohen & Co., the first piece of advice that I was given was to communicate and to not be shy about it. Let me just say, that is the best advice I was given! As someone who is usually shy in a new environment, I knew that it would be a little harder for me to start reaching out to staff and managers from the get-go, but I knew how important it was for my success and for my learning to do so. I have found that communicating to my supervisors what I’ve completed on an engagement, what I am currently working on, and what is next on my list has made it easier on me and my managers to monitor my success.

The second-best piece of advice I was given here at Cohen was to ask questions. Personally, I’ve always been shy about asking questions because I never wanted to sound stupid, whether that was at school or at other jobs I’ve had. However, I quickly learned that its not asking questions that is stupid, its this mindset that is. Asking questions is the only way to learn and improve, especially as a new intern. I took this advice and embraced it from the very first day I started working on an engagement team.

Although there is no such thing as a stupid question, I’d say there’s a method to asking good questions that will impress your managers and engagement team members as well as help you learn. Go through your assigned work, try to figure out what you can from prior year workpapers and if there is something that you don’t understand or want elaboration on, then ask a question. When you ask knowledgeable questions, you impress those around you and those first impressions are key in building your network and your success at any firm.

I know that it is often easier to communicate with your co-workers face to face, but in a pandemic, we have to work with what we have. In this case, we have to use jabber or email to reach out to our managers and team members. And honestly, I’ve found holding WebEx meetings to go over any questions or concerns I have when working on an engagement to be extremely helpful.

So I guess, to pass on the great advice I was given, I would tell myself and new interns to keep asking questions and communicating (perhaps, even over communicating) to your engagement team and managers to learn and succeed in a remote environment. It can be challenging at times when you don’t receive a response right away, but know that you’ll always get the answers you need to do your best work.