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Intern Insight August 20, 2013

Thanks, Kurt for sharing your experience. This has been such a useful perspective on the life and times of an accounting intern!

Today is my last day as a summer intern at Stephano Slack.  I am filled with mixed emotions; I can’t wait to return to Franklin and Marshall next week, but I will miss this summer.  It blows me away that in the middle of May I was sitting in this same desk feeling like August would never come.  For my last blog, I’d like to share my overall internship experience and flesh out the most important lessons I learned while working at Stephano Slack.

                I had had very little training in accounting (and even less in tax) when I started my job at Stephano Slack.  At the completion of my internship, I have hands-on experience with almost all of the basics of accounting.  I can create and monitor debit and credit accounts, draft financial statements, and draft tax returns.  Though these are extremely important, working for an accounting firm granted me a bit of intuition for understanding the subtle interactions between numbers and money.  I’ve learned how our clients make money; and, when they’re not making money, how they stay afloat.  All of these skills will do me well in my professional and personal future.

                One of the most important experiences I had this summer was working in an office with the same people every day and seeing how they interact.  I learned that there is much more to an office than just the office itself; without people to fill it, an office can become devoid of energy and downright depressing.  I’ve never felt that way here.  Even if they don’t say it outright, the high level of communication and collaboration between employees here has led me to believe that everyone feels like they are a part of a team working towards a bigger purpose.  There is an energy to being in the office with your coworkers that is hard to describe – though it is similar to being on a sports team, or working on a group project at school, the employees here help support each other in ways that I haven’t seen in other environments.  Thinking about how many times I’ve witnessed this over the past few months reminds me of the words Mike Stephano imparted to me during my first few days here – do something better each day. Work to make yourself better. Work to service the client better.  Work to make the firm better.  I know that these are lessons I will take with me through every day of my professional life, and I don’t know where else I would have learned them more clearly.

                I’d like to make a personal recommendation to college students looking for internships.  I would speak to those looking for an accounting internship, but an intern’s experience at another firm could differ greatly from mine.  I want to emphasize how important it is to find a substantive summer internship.  To me, substantive means something like I’ve done at Stephano Slack this summer: academically challenging, rigorous, and enriching.  I never thought I would be sad that work was over, but I realize now that I’ve really enjoyed my time here.  It hasn’t even really felt like work, because I worked for a firm that was intent on making sure I developed in my personal life and my professional life.  Make sure that you end up somewhere like here – not a place where you’ll be undervalued.

                Lastly, I’d like to give a huge “thank you” to everyone at Stephano Slack who has made my time here such a positive experience.  Everyone, from partner to fellow intern, has been extremely welcoming.  When I am years removed from this internship, the skills will still be there; however, the relationships I’ve built here are what I will remember the most.

                I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog for the last couple months.  If you want to contact me personally, I can be reached at kvpollack@gmail.com.  If you wish to contact someone at the firm, please check the contact info elsewhere on our website.

                Thank you.

                Kurt Pollack

August 20, 2013