An Accountant’s Life in the "Busy Season"

With tax day a little over one week away, we reached out to some of the students in the Master of Science Degree in Accountancy program to talk about their recent internship experiences during the busiest time of the year for accountants. What follows is a brief Q&A with Alyssa Benzick, audit intern at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers); Danielle Lee, audit intern at KPMG; Will Bailey, audit intern at EY; Zack Ulrich, audit intern at PwC; and Tyler Burkhardt, audit intern at EY.


Q: Tell us about your experience

Alyssa: I interned this winter at PwC and loved it.  I had the opportunity to meet many different people and work on several different clients, as well as getting my first taste of an actual busy season.

Danielle: My experience as an intern at a public accounting firm was a completely different world from any work or educational experience I had previously. The teams I was on were filled with hard working individuals who were passionate about what they do. We worked long hours at times, but it was rewarding once we accomplished what we were working towards. The internship made me want to give 100% at everything that I was doing because I knew it was what I wanted to do as my career.

Will: I had a great experience at EY. I was able to learn a lot about what an actual audit entails and how it produces value for the client. The hours were long but everyone was expecting that going in.

Zack: I would say my experience was different from others in the sense that I didn’t move around too much from client to client.  Staying on one engagement for the majority of the internship provided me with the chance to really get to know the ins and outs of how the client’s business practices were run, and it also allowed me to complete tasks that were not normally assigned to interns or even first year associates.

Tyler: During my internship I got to see different industries from healthcare to manufacturing. I really enjoyed the internship and learned so much from the experience.

Q: Is busy season what you expected?

Tyler: Yes, I came in with the expectations of working long hours and learning something new every day. I can tell you that both of those expectations were met.

Alyssa: I would say if anything I was pleasantly surprised.  I knew to expect long hours but I didn’t realize how much the time would fly by when everyone else on your team is working just as many hours.  If you have a good team, you have more fun throughout the day.

Will: It’s a lot of hard work but everyone is in it together so that makes it a lot easier. Also the time goes fast because you’re constantly working on new stuff and you end up learning a ton.

Danielle: Before I began my internship the idea of busy season was daunting. I was unsure if I would be able to work the long hours that busy season entails, and still make sure that I was doing my best work possible. As I began to work through audits as an intern, I found that the days and the weeks go by surprisingly quickly. Working a twelve-hour day seemed like a lot to me, but when I was busy the day seemed to fly by. The nice thing about a busy season internship is that I was never bored. I was constantly challenged and had more than enough work to do to fill my time. I think this allowed me to get the most out of my internship and learn a more than I thought I could in twelve weeks.

Zack: Yes, we’ve all heard horror stories of busy season…they’re all true.

Q: Were you prepared for your internship? Did anything surprise you?

Danielle: I had a good idea of what to expect, and I felt well prepared for the auditing as well as the professional aspect of the job. We went through various preparation activities such as panels, professional development, wardrobe guidance and etiquette, which allowed me to be confident in my professional demeanor and prepared to start my internship.

The thing that surprised me the most was how vital the team aspect is on an audit. I learned that in order for the audit to be successful, all of the members of the team have to have open communication with one another. I expected the job to be more individual work, but what I realized is that we were all working together to make sure that we accomplished what we needed to as efficiently as possible.

Zack: What surprised me the most was how much the people you work with can make or break the experience.  I worked with wonderful people for countless hours; they made it a fun working environment.

Will: I felt like I was pretty well prepared for my internship. I was able to get a feel for the accounting firms through office visits during the MSA program. So, when I did end up working at EY I knew the type of people I would be working with. Everyone works really hard so getting things done is really just a process of divvying up the work. I wouldn’t say there were any real surprises.

Q: How will this experience help you in getting a job after graduation?

TylerMy internship went well and I was offered a full time offer from EY on the completion of my internship.

Danielle: The great thing about this internship was that I was doing the same work that a new hire would do on an audit. It allowed the firm to evaluate my performance. I was offered a job and I am excited to start my career with KPMG this fall.

Will: Luckily, I was able to turn my internship into a full time offer.

Alyssa: I was offered a full time position with PwC during the last week of my internship.

Zack: Thanks to the hard work and determination I put in over the course of my internship, I was offered a full time job starting in September.