Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer Co-op Interns 2017

Colleen Pikus, Overland Park Police Department Intern, Accounting 

My internship with the Overland Park Police Department has been an amazing experience. My roles have mainly been to focus on learning and observing. I don’t have many day-to-day responsibilities due to all of the safety and privacy regulations that govern the department. 

During my internship, I participated in the police officer’s fitness test, fire arm training, shooting firearms, police car simulators and defensive tactics. I rode along with the traffic officers, who deal with all types of traffic violations such as speeding, failing to yield, and accidents. I experienced COPPS which stands for “Community Oriented Public Policing” and those officers are responsible for building relationships throughout the community. In the latter half of my internship I experienced the Patrol Unit and CAU or Criminal Analysis Unit. CAU was my favorite unit because they get to help the team understand financial crimes, property crimes, and persons’ crimes throughout the whole city. In my future, I could see myself working with the financial crimes unit so it was obviously very interesting to work with them.

This photo was taken during my week participating in the traffic unit of the Overland Park police department. During my week with traffic I experienced the police officers giving out traffic ticket violations, dealing with crashes, and also dealing with intoxicated drivers. This is only one unit out of several units in the Overland Park police department. In this photo a Police Officer convinced me to get a photo on one of Overland Parks new traffic motorcycles. I learned so much about traffic safety and received a lot of valuable advice from the police officers in the traffic unit. 


Tahnee Cooper, Commerce Bank Data Analytics Intern, Applied Mathematics & Psychology

Hi, my name is Tahnee Cooper and I’m an applied mathematics and psychology major. I am currently an intern at Commerce Bank in the Enterprise Analytics and Business Intelligence department. I sought out an internship because of the gap between learning about data in the classroom and actually working with data in the industry.
This internship has been an eye-opener for me in terms of what I thought the world of data looked like. The majority of time is spent on cleaning up data sets and interpreting what the line of business is actually wanting. The hardest obstacle I have had to overcome is learning not only a new program (SAS) but learning an entire new industry: banking. If I had one piece of advice to offer, it is to never stop asking questions. There is no shame in not knowing the answers; in fact, it should be expected that you don’t know all the answers as an intern. Asking questions shows that you are engaged and have motivation.
In addition, don’t be too hard on yourself—it can be easy to focus on the skills you are lacking because of a new environment but you have to recognize your strengths, too. I was pleased that in a meeting with my mentor, a trait that I thought I needed to improve on was the trait that my mentor pointed out as one of my strengths. This leads to my next point—ask for feedback. This shows initiation and offers you an opportunity to improve. Aside from the data skills I have obtained, learning the ins-and-outs of business etiquette has been one of the most beneficial skills I have learned.
To close, my internship with Commerce is to thank for the increase in my skills and the awareness of what a good company consists of. Internships offer exposure to the “real world” and offer valuable experience. Despite the difficulties associated with diving into the big data world, the exposure I have gained is irreplaceable.

Desiree Sandie, PricewaterhouseCoopers Core Assurance Intern, Business Administration 

While the real work may have started during my second week, the real challenges hit during my third and fourth weeks. These challenges included adapting to a greater work load and to a new supervisor.
            During my second week, I was in the process of learning how to test interest income. And when I say learning to test interest income, I mean I was just scratching the surface. I hadn’t yet understood the why I was selecting certain transactions from certain spreadsheets. Nor had I come to understand what made certain transactions stand out from others. I had only just gotten familiar with the different spreadsheets and how to manipulate them in excel to achieve a simple answer. However, once the third week came around, I was suddenly testing two different types of interest income for two different audits.
            To make things slightly more challenging, I was transferred from working under one associate to another. The two associates had very different approaches to completing their work and very different styles of teaching. The first associate created a laid-back environment where I learned about the testing procedures one step at a time. The second introduced a much more rigid working environment where an explanation was expected to be given once and understood. Despite my taking notes during the initial explanation of the two different audits, I found myself questioning whether I was testing the transactions for the different types of income properly. The briefing was so, I guess, brief that the various steps to testing the different types of income became muddled in my mind. I began to doubt that the work I was doing was correct, so I asked questions. As I asked questions, I realized that my new associate was frustrated with how unsure and confused I was. That frustration only intensified the lack of confidence I had in my work. However, I continued to work and ask questions. Eventually I realized that the associate wasn’t so much frustrated with the fact that I was asking questions, but that there was a misunderstanding about my level of experience.
The second associate had thought I had more experience testing interest income. Therefore, she was explaining the steps and procedures at a higher level without breaking down the information to the basics. It took me a while to come to this realization because I was working so hard just to understand what she was saying to me and I didn’t know how to explain that I didn’t understand. Eventually though, I did realize and I was able to explain what I didn’t understand and ask questions that would help me progress with my work.
This learning curve of adapting to a new teaching style while trying to complete new tasks took the better part of two weeks to get through. And to be quite honest, I’m not fully through the learning curve. I’m still working to understand the reasons why I’m looking for certain transactions and evaluating them against different levels of materiality. I’m not satisfied only knowing to pull certain base income amounts from one spreadsheet to paste into another spreadsheet with a formula. And I’m not satisfied with the relationship I have with my newly assigned associate mentor/teacher. So, I’ll continue to work, better my communication skills, ask questions, and build a better rapport with my new teacher, which I hope will aide in developing my understanding of auditing as a whole.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring 2017 Intern Updates

Adam Pundmann - Ong & Company CPAs Intern

My internship at Ong & COmpany CPAs is unique because I am part of a small accoutning firm that values their clients on a personal level much greater than large firms. As an intern, I am trusted to greet their clients and talk to them on their phones. I am also responsible for assembling their tax forms, recording purchases, and reconciling their accounts. 

Luke Meyer - The Winans Group CPA Intern

Most days in the office I am at a computer or laptop processing returns. Here you can see me with the box of tax returns ready to be processed. You can almost always find me with a cup of coffee to keep me focused.

Emmanuel Mangar - Hovee CPA Intern

My internship at a small firm has blessed me with a great one-on one mentor-ship in tax and has sharpened my attention to detail.

Ulziisaikhan Mcgregor - State Street Intern

This is me (Ulzii) as an intern confirming a significant transaction with a long-time customer at State Street Financial Services company. This internship allows me to participate in a global financial network and gives me the experience to launch a successful career after graduation from Rockhurst University.

Lukasz Chmielewski - Creative Planning Tax Intern

        This semester I was given an opportunity to get an outside of class experience in regards to my major, which is accounting. Last Monday, I started my training as a tax intern at Creative Planning. To give some background about the company, Creative Planning started in early 2000s as a wealth management firm, which operating and managed the assets of a total worth of 30 million dollars. Last year the company broke the amount of 20 billion and is currently the only firm in the industry, which provides the holistic wealth management. Besides the financial planning, customers can use lawyers knowledge and the experience of CPAs in regard to taxes. 
         When it comes to my responsibilities, I and the group of eight other interns are assigned to prepare nearly four thousand, 1040 and 1041 tax returns. We have flexible hours but as tax season is getting busier we are required to work full-time and some weeks een up to fifty-five hours. So far I really like my position and I have learned that the main thing is to be self-confident to be successful in this working environment.


Chris Booker - Gateway Packaging Intern

The time I have spent at Gateway Packaging has proven to be a truly rewarding experience. I went into my first day with a lot of mixed emotions about starting at this company. I was leaving the accounting firm where I had spent the last year learning from wonderful CPA’s how to pursue a career in public accounting. The people at that firm had given me my first internship and I was sad to leave them. The environment here at gateway was a completely different experience that I was accustomed too, not only is a gateway a privately-owned company, It also has 12x the amount of employees that my last firm had in the office. But wit that being said, I really enjoyed stepping into a bigger office, and into a bigger role once I got to gateway. Working at gateway has taught me how to work with a vast array of different personalities from controllers, CFOs, plant accountants, to even factory workers. At some point or another I had to work hand in hand with these different people, which showed me that every person has a different way of working, as well as, different things that motivate them to work.
The most valuable piece of advice that I learned while being at gateway came when the CFO of the company came and asked me my name, and what I was doing in the office. I told him my name, where I went to school, my major, and that I was the new intern that was hired to help in the accounting department. He looked at me and said that “I gave him the wrong answer.” I remember beginning to sweat because I was so confused on how I possibly gave him the wrong answer, I in fact gave him more than he originally asked for. He then goes “you should have said that you’re here to sit in my office and take my job,” and then walked out of the room. The advice that I took out of that was not to go into every job aiming at the CFO’s head but to work hard at whatever task that is set in front of you so that you can one day take over for the top spot.