After finishing my second year at the University of Virginia, I didn’t have a concrete idea as to what type of internship I wanted to have. However, I did know I wanted to get my feet wet with something business-related. Luckily, I had an opportunity to intern with GAAP Dynamics this past summer. The responsibilities of my accounting internship were clearly laid out before I started, but my involvement and experiences greatly exceeded my expectations.
After corresponding with Mike Walworth, the founder and CEO of GAAP Dynamics, I understood that I would be performing the following tasks:
- Research PCAOB inspection reports of triennially inspected accounting firms for common deficiencies
- Develop a database of accounting-firm contacts to be used in the company’s marketing efforts
- Mine recent news articles to identify relevant possible accounting and auditing issues that could aid in development or be shared via social media
- Draft tweets to send out to the company’s followers on Twitter
- Convert existing U.S. GAAP/PCAOB/SEC training materials to a new PowerPoint template
- Write articles for the company’s blog, GAAPology
While I helped with these assigned tasks, I also performed additional jobs, participated in office activities, and attended technical accounting training developed by GAAP Dynamics at KPMG’s Senior Audit University training session in Chicago. Each of these responsibilities greatly enhanced my experience.
During my time with GAAP Dynamics, I also:
- Updated the slides and leader’s guide for a training module covering reviews, compilations and preparation of financial statements for guidance found within SSARS No. 21
- Prepared a series of slides that compared and contrasted types of engagements performed by accounting firms: audits, attestation and assurance
- Created an internal database to help organize GAAP Dynamics' blog schedule, tweets and other social media posts
These tasks helped me improve my technical skills with accounting procedures, data research, social media, Excel, PowerPoint and many other areas. However, I found that the most valuable lesson I learned stemmed from my interactions with office employees and partners.
As the only intern, I was surprised, and a little nervous at first, when I was invited to sit in on staff meetings. GAAP Dynamics let me observe the interactions between team members, as I learned how the company conducted its business operations. I was also encouraged to participate in these staff meetings. I was flattered that my opinions were viewed the same as everyone else’s!
The positive office environment greatly improved my business “soft skills,” as I further developed my knowledge of running meetings, public speaking and business organization. I learned how important transparency and clear communication are to employee task coordination and the overall success of a business.
Looking back at my experience, I can better grasp what it means to be a GAAP Dynamics employee. GAAP Dynamics is a family. Everyone at GAAP Dynamics buys into the same environment — an exciting culture that focuses on creating and maintaining genuine and trusting personal relationships with both clients and colleagues. Once I entered the often referenced “trust tree” at GAAP Dynamics, I learned there is no climbing down!