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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.

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