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Intern Insight August 9, 2013

Today is the last day of my penultimate week as an intern at Stephano Slack.  My work in the past couple weeks has been diverse and expansive and I’ve enjoyed the exposure to new types of projects.

This week I worked with two of our employee benefit audits in a similar-but more extensive-capacity as I did before.  I used the information that they provided us (their employee census and their employees’ W-2 forms) to update the testing information for each client’s 25-person sample.  After updating numerous worksheets with the new sample employees’ information, I created individual confirmation letters for each employee.  Confirmation letters are sent directly to the employees themselves so that they can independently verify that their company is withholding the correct amount of money from them.  This is slightly time consuming – not to mention that licking fifty envelopes isn’t extremely pleasant – but it goes great lengths to insure that any audit opinion we issue is correct.

Some of my work this week included more research.  IRS instructions for filling out forms can be slightly ambiguous at some points, and this can require research for a more in-depth walkthrough or explanation.  In this case, we couldn’t decide how to measure the size of a 401(k) for tax return purposes on Form 5500.  We didn’t know whether the form was asking for the number of eligible participants or active participants.  After digging around the IRS’ archives, I found slightly more extensive instructions; as we originally thought, the IRS states that the number of active participants is a better indicator of the actual size of the plan than the number of eligible participants.

Today, I had the opportunity to do something I haven’t done this summer: give a presentation to the firm.  In my first blog I discussed making changes to how we use ProfitCents, one of our major analytical software programs.  Every Friday, we have what’s called a “Lunch-and-Learn,” where staff accountants that have completed CPE seminars that week present their findings.  I had about twenty minutes of this two-hour period to myself to walk everyone through our new system.  It gave me a huge sense of pride to be able to present something like this to my far more-experienced coworkers and to be able to help the firm operate more efficiently day-to-day.

This week, I had the pleasure of attending our firm Phillies tailgate and game.  In addition to being a nice event, it let me spend some time with my coworkers outside of a work environment.  I got to know them all better, and it was a pretty incredible feeling knowing that I had become a “part of the team” in such a short time.

Sadly, next week is my last full week as an intern at this firm.  Next week will be my last entry for the summer.  This entry will include a description of day-to-day life at the Firm, life as an accounting intern, and the acclimations that are required when switching from classroom culture to a 9-5 culture.  Hopefully, this will help to enlighten college students or aspiring accountants to understand what it might be like to work in an accounting firm.  Feel free to contact me at kpollack@stephanoslack.com if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for these blog posts. If I cannot answer any of your questions, I will make sure they are directed to the appropriate person.

Thanks for reading.

Kurt Pollack

August 9, 2013