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Intern Insight

Stephano Slack is introducing a new weekly blog. This blog is straight from the interns, themselves. Stephano Slack relishes the chance to give college students hands on experience, so please take a moment and see what our interns have to say!

 
Follow Kurt every Friday afternoon when he publishes a new blog.

My name is Kurt Pollack, and I am a rising junior at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  Near the end of my sophomore year, it dawned on me that I needed a substantive internship for the summer if I wanted to be competitive in the job market come graduation.  I looked at internships in New York City and Washington D.C., but, ultimately, I opted for something much closer to home.  This decision and a number of meetings with prospective employers landed me at a mid-size accounting firm in Wayne, PA, called Stephano Slack LLC.

I had no idea what to expect on my first day as an intern; the only “preparation” I had for a 9-5 lifestyle was the constant warning that it is definitely “different” from college life.  This could not have been more valid.  I quickly realized that working at Stephano Slack was not going to be the type of internship where I spent my time running to get coffee and dry cleaning, with only the hope of learning something applicable to my career development.

I had very little accounting training coming into the summer; as it turned out, that wasn’t much of a hindrance to my progress on the job.  My first week was a whirlwind of training, during which I had to take in more information than I ever would during a week of classes.  I learned very quickly that the biggest difference between classes and a job is this: there is no going home to study before the test.  Though the staff were (and still are, a month later) extremely receptive to my asking for advice, I had to stay on my toes in order to keep up with the training.  This seems like it would be stressful in comparison to college classes, but, in fact, it was less so: once the first week was over, I had almost all the skills I would need to succeed in the coming weeks.  Once I understood the basics, I was quickly able to apply my new skills to more complicated projects.  I am now versed in drafting financial statements, conducting basic analytical procedures, preparing basic tax returns, and implementing a wide range of accounting and assurance software in a concerted effort to achieve those goals.  I have spent most of my time for the past month preparing our clients’ financial statements for easy integration into ProfitCents, an analytical tool that helps both our accountants and their clients understand important trends in their business activity.

In addition to learning about the “work” side of 9-5 life, I have developed a great appreciation for the environment that Stephano Slack has provided me.  I am the youngest employee in the office, but no one has ever made me aware of it.  Everyone, from partner to staff accountant, has been more than willing to help with my development as an employee, whether it has taken the form of answering a quick question or sitting down with me for a couple hours to assist in my training.  Not only that, but I have already developed friendships with the other staff that I am sure will continue into the future.

During my second week, I met with Mike Stephano – the Managing Member of the Firm – and I came to understand part of the impetus for the environment of the Firm.  He told me that every staff member’s personal goal, and the firm’s goal as a whole, should be this: do something better every day.  Every day, staff members should be honing their skills in order to better serve the client, better serve the firm, and better serve their own needs for professional development.  This culture of constant learning, teaching, and self-improvement is inherently pervasive because of the level of success it has brought, and continues to bring, to both individuals and the firm as a whole.

For the rest of the duration of my internship, I will do a weekly “blog post” with 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 questions, I will make sure they are directed to the appropriate person.

Thanks for reading.

June 28, 2013