Skip to main content


Thought I'd take a second to answer this question posted in the comments section - "how much work do u realistically expect an intern to get done?"

Well, if you can perform tasks that require common sense and logical thinking, that's good enough. We really don't expect you to dive into revenue recognition, and totally understand that interns have no prior audit knowledge since we've all started at the bottom of the audit pole. But when it comes to formatting something in excel, and performing other simple tasks like tying out numbers from one sheet to another, we'd expect you to do that, (as long as your seniors are half-decent at explaining tasks). If your senior can't explain how to fit a key into a lock, then it's on them.

Hope everyone's enjoying busy season so far!


Anonymous said…
I think that is a reasonable expectation. However, I would not set the bar that high for my own boss. She is hopelessly lost when she tries to put in a dollar amount in excel and it displays as a date. Oh well, and that is just the beginning....
notfordisplay said…
True. It's almost like some people have never worked on excel in college
Anonymous said…
I know this is off topic, but I have a question for you. What is training week like as a new associate like at a big 4 firm. I have heard some crazy party stories and was wondering if you could share your experience with us. I have also heard is lame with a bunch of "team building" exercises. I'm especially interested because I start next fall with a NYC big 4 firm in the fall and want to know what to expect.
Anonymous said…
I am interning now, in busy season!
I am sure that you have heard it before: they don't expect you to know anything. It really is true. Just follow directions (if your senior can explain things well, it makes it that much clearer).
The work is incredibly boring, especially as a staff. But, you learn a lot in a small amount of time, and you will be amazed at how much you learn after a month. It will all come to you, so long as you are open and try to understand why you are doing what you are asked to do.
Anonymous said…
I have a question that I hope you can answer. I am interning now, in audit. I have never been so bored in my life. I am getting plenty of work, but the work seems so meaningless and unfullfilling. Tic, Tie, copy/paste in excel, check this, check that. It is all so boring and lacking substance. I realize that as an staff auditor, this is what you do, but is the essence of auditing really just that? Wondering if Advisory tax or risk management would be more to my liking..
Kel said…
I think that they're *supposed* to not expect you to know much, but when I interned, I ended up with a manager who didn't understand why I couldn't just do what he wanted without him explaining the task, and without having me ask any questions.

I still don't have an answer for how to deal with that.

For things that you can control: they expect you to:
1. be relentlessly positive,and
2. to hang out until they're ready for you to fetch them dinner, even if they don't have any actual audit work for you to do.
CA Karan Batra said…
Well, this is very much a reasonable expectation... But in many countries, Accountants try to expolit the Interns... although the work expected from them is not tough, but the Accountants many a times overburden the Interns rather than hiring new employees
Anonymous said…
the intern does not know that some stacks of papers have to be stapled together.
notmatt said…
Im actually going into my third year of college and have pretty much never had to use excel. Sounds like its time for me to sign up for workshop classes!
Anonymous said…
Everyone starts from scratch in audit. We have all been there. Depending on the team, interns sometimes get treated like the pledge of a fraternity. 99% of the time, it's all in good fun and certainly not meant to demoralize or discourage. keep a positive attitude and be a good sport when you find yourself as the butt of a joke. I have never felt like our interns got taken advantage of. The fact is there is a lot of work to do and someone has to do it. If my team is working till 1am and I have something stupid boring that I need to get done, it makes sense to delegate it to an intern. Not because I think they're dumb or incapable of more challenging tasks but in the interest of time, either they do it or I do it and spend time explaining another task to the intern. It works that way on every level, it's just the nature of the business. When I have more time, I am happy to slow things down and try and teach something new so the intern can have a more valuable experience but in busy season, it's tough.

My advice to interns would be above all keep a good attitude. Everyone wants to leave just as badly a you do. Your work matters! Even if you start to feel like a trained chimp, just remember that you are saving someone else from doing that task and they appreciate it! Lastly, always try to understand what you're doing and why. You will learn so much more that way rather than the "push that button" mentality.

Popular posts from this blog

auditing vs consulting

I was wondering if you could break down the career opportunities in auditing and consulting (in a big 4). I know that consulting pays more in a big 4 and has more interesting work, but it seems that auditing has extremely good exit opportunities (Financial controller, CFO etc). Any thoughts on which is better in the long run?

Well there's different consulting services offered by public accounting companies - the most popular being IT consulting and risk consulting. There are also other consulting services offered, but these two hire the most. Do they pay more? Yes, but not by much. Not enough for you to say: Shoot, the $$ is a huge reason for me to move over. Is the work more interesting than audit? Yes. You're actually looking over a company's processes and telling them what to do instead of what not to do (audit). Everyone I know who's made the switch likes it waay better than audit.
In the long run though, choosing audit vs consulting really depends on what you want t…

should you choose to audit financial services?

I'm trying to decide whether to audit financial services companies or non-financial services companies. What would you say are the pros and cons of either industries? Do individuals who choose non-FS have less career mobility within the firm or if they decide not to stay with the B4 after a few years?
Really depends on what you'd like to do after (unless you really love auditing). If you want to a controller,etc. at a p/e firm or a hedge fund down the road, you'd want to go into financial services. The pay won't be too bad, especially if you get a share of the insane bonuses they dole out. If you want to audit industries with tangible products and want to get a better understanding of the operations of such businesses, then other industries are the way to go.In terms of mobility outside the firm, auditing other industries is the way to go since you have plenty of options when you exit the audit world. For example, in 2008, after Lehman collapsed, it was incredibly hard …

Should I leave after 2 years as senior?

I'm currently working in KPMG Philippines, will about to start my fourth busy season and it'll be my second year as a supervisor/senior. I would like to know if it'll be a good idea to go work for a private company by this time. My only concern is that work outside audit may not be as enjoyable for me. However, I am starting to get tired of too much workload. 

At this point, stay until you get a year as manager under your belt and then leave. You could leave now and start as a senior accountant somewhere only if it's not a regular operational job where you'll do the same thing every time. Over the next few years, you'll pick up a lot of soft skills and technical skills that will be critical to your growth. If your only goal is a 9-5 workday and the money isn't all that important to you, then leave now, but if you can tolerate the workload for 3 more years, stay. It'll benefit you a lot long term.