Intern Blog

Tips for Teamwork

Aug 23, 2018

Category: Wayne State University

Cohen & Company’s summer internship program has truly been a wonderful experience thus far. My favorite part of being a summer intern was the access I had to my fellow co-workers. During the summer, everyone is less busy, meaning that you have more time to have things explained to you and to ask questions – not that you will not be able to in the winter, but everyone is under more pressure during that time. While being a summer intern, I had fieldwork engagements that may have not been as long as winter audit engagements, but were just as valuable of an experience. Throughout some weeks, I was at the client half of the week and the latter half in the office.

This week my team and I worked on a fieldwork engagement that lasted three days. While short, it was an amazing learning opportunity with real client experience. By this point, I had already been on a few client engagements and felt as though the learning curve of the basics were behind me. This was perfect because although I knew how to do the job when everything ran smoothly, this time had a few more challenges. However, do not fear! As an intern, your staff knows you are going to make mistakes and complicated problems will arise, that is why they enlist Cohen & Company to help them. The firm also gives you many resources such as their “Cohen University” to review topics that were taught during your training. As long as you go in with a good attitude and a learning mindset, your team will be happy to work alongside you. During this client engagement, I had become comfortable asking the client staff what we needed from them, as well as a few inquiries for them, on my own. I became comfortable due to a few tips given to me by my fellow staff.

Just a few tips on what your team would like to see:
1.) Take notes! Do not be afraid to ask for more clarification. Treat it as though you are being testing and have to remember how to do on your own from now on. That means write it down so you do not have to ask again.
2.) Self-check your work. Before asking your senior to look, try looking over your work to see where you ran into the problem, so you can thoroughly explain your thought process. This also shows you gave a good effort and tried it on your own. This is increasingly important when you are signing off on workpapers.
3.) A good rule of thumb to use when you are unsure what you managers preference on how to approach a solution for a client, would be to tell the client something along the lines of “I have a solution, but let me consult with the rest of the team before we come to a conclusion.” It would not look good if you have conflicting information coming from your team. Plan with your team to make sure you are giving them consistent and up to date information, as well as, your team staying on the same page.
4.) Finally, the best approach to fieldwork is to try to get most of the planning and other work done before the engagement. Therefore, once you are at the client site you can hit the ground running. It allows you to run into the problems early on, that you would have otherwise ran into later on, giving you and the client time to come up with solutions and answers.

Next week I am looking forward to volunteering at The Children’s Center in Detroit. The firm likes to be involved in the community. During your internship, I am sure you will have a similar experience.