This year I decided to take on interns for the summer. I've taken on interns before, usually one or two, but this year I've decided to take on six! We knew it would be a big time commitment but I felt the experience would be invaluable.
I'll be honest, the main reason for me to do this was not because I wanted to shape America's future accountants. Instead, I saw this as a great opportunity for my team to get an understanding of managing and teaching. I had two main objectives:
To get started, we had to find the interns. This was a great project for the Jr. Associates (Sam and Angie) to start on. They were responsible for:
They did a great job in selecting the 6 wonderful interns.
After the interns were selected, I was ready to get started. The biggest reason for me to take on interns was because it was a way for the associates to improve their communication skills. Accountants, in general, tend to explain complicated things and make them even more complicated. They use accounting language which doesn't always make sense for someone who isn't an accountant. I want to change this.
I wanted my team to explain taxes in an easy-to-understand manner. If an associate can explain taxes to interns where they can follow it clearly, we can apply it to clients. This was a great platform to practice and improve the way we effectively communicate.
We took common questions that we hear from actual clients and used those as discussion topics for our interns:
We easily spent 10-12 hours a week for the internship program, but even with this large time commitment, I would recommend that any growing firm take on interns. It puts associates outside of their role as accountants and into a new role: mentors.
We're still in the middle of our 10-week internship program and so far the associates are enjoying it (and hoping the interns are as well). They get to share their knowledge with young students that genuinely want to learn; at the same time, practice improving how they communicate and manage people. There are still a few projects lined up for the interns that will help showcase their experience here. I'm hoping that by the end of this, all of us (associates and interns) have learned and experienced something that can be carried into our careers.
To learn more about our associates and interns, please take a look at their LinkedIn profile:
Sam Patel Angie Morado
Jenny Tran Nick Polati
Diem Huynh Shyla Suri
Han Nguyen Dennis Li