Tales of a Traveling Accountant: Greenville, North Carolina
Jul 01, 2019
Category: The Ohio State University
Even though you may be an intern, Cohen & Company gives you an experience as if you were starting as a first year staff here. For me, this truly came to light when I was able to travel with a team down to Greenville, North Carolina to do some work for a client. The team was comprised of myself, two seniors (Zach and Andy), and a first year staff (Kenneth). We took a flight out of Cleveland to Charlotte and then from Charlotte to the tiny airport that is in Greenville. Once we arrived, we got set up in the hotel before heading off to the first of several local restaurants that we ate at throughout the week.
The weekdays were, of course, filled with work. We went to the client’s office, got set up in a conference room with our laptops and travel monitors – an accountant can never just have one screen to work on – and got to work. Even though I am an intern, I was responsible for completing real, meaningful work – not just busy work. I was able to work fully through a couple sets of workpapers on my own, asking questions of my team when I was confused or needed help. However, the reason why we were at the client site instead of just doing all of this back in Cleveland was because we needed to ask questions, get documents to test or to back up information, etc. – after all, we were performing an audit, and a big part of it is the need for documentation. This meant that I had numerous occasions where I got to go ask questions of the accounting manager and the CFO if something wasn’t making sense or tying out correctly. This definitely gave me a different perspective on the job – I feel that most people often think of public accounting as just sitting at a desk and doing work, but an essential part of the job is the client interaction. Being able to conduct yourself professionally when asking questions pertaining to issues you found while running a test, or just simply to be friendly to those employees that you interact with, or the ones that just pop in and say hi and share some life stories, is an important skill to build.
Even though we were down there for work, we still had plenty of fun while we were down there. Kenneth taught us all that a banana peel is an oddly satisfying surface to write on. Andy and Zach shared all sorts of intriguing stories about the experiences they have had and things they have seen at the firm so far. I always recommended going to Captain D’s, a fast-food seafood chain, but no one else shared in my desire. We got to explore the Greenville food scene, from a small Mediterranean restaurant named Bateeni that was alarmingly empty but served good food, to Sup Dogs, a place that serves quality hamburgers and specialty hotdogs and that won Barstool’s Best Bar competition. We shared mints that came from the bathroom, talked about hayrides, and commented on the Southern way of life. Through all these places and experiences, we got to know each other and it made the trip that much better.
Overall, traveling was an awesome experience that showed me a different view of the public accounting world. It helped me build relationships with people here at Cohen & Company, as well as simply learn more about the firm and the people that are a part of it. Even though you may be an intern here, they make sure you don’t feel like it – and that’s a great feeling to have.