Art of Accounting: Interns’ trip to Manhattan

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Last week I had the pleasure of taking four interns from my office on a “field trip” to Manhattan. I also included a senior accountant who started here as an intern.

We started at Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president; a brief tour of the New York State Society of CPAs’ offices; a stop at a Fidelity office to pick up some new account applications; a photo opportunity at the Wall Street bull statue; a walk to Battery Park; lunch at Fraunces Tavern where Washington bid farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolution; and a subway ride uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We met at our office at 8:40 a.m. and were back in East Brunswick at 6:00 p.m.

The day was thoroughly enjoyable for me, and my guests seemed to enjoy it too. Spending a relaxed day with these bright young people eager to complete their college courses so they could start their careers as accountants was a joy for me. During the day, the barrier of my position and age seemed to disappear and we had “normal” conversations about what accountants do, how they learn and grow, and how to interact with clients. I threw in many of my networking, personal development and branding tips. Brian Dethlefsen was able to field questions about his career path from intern to senior, how he spends his days, keeps current, his client assignments, how he is supervised, what he envisions his immediate and long-term professional path to be, and the typical concerns about working conditions and tax or busy season hours. Overhearing the conversations with Brian made me realize what a good move it was bringing along a young staff person the interns could relate to and feel comfortable with.

While we were at the Society offices, Joanne Barry, the CEO, pointed out the two young auditors who were occupying the conference room appended to her office. I mentioned to my group that public accounting presents opportunities for young staff to interact with clients, whereas young staff in a private company rarely get to speak to the CEO, other than a passing hello in a hallway.

As for me, based on my day with these four interns from different backgrounds and colleges, I have a strong confidence about the future of our fine profession. I highly recommend similar field trips. Try it — you’ll like it!

The accompanying photo at the Met shows from the left, me, Brian, Dakota Patanella, Monica Mari, Danielle Abraham and Anthony Imbesi. Last year’s trip was described in this blog post, which has additional details.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition.” Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at www.partners-network.com along with the Pay-Less-Tax Man blog for Bottom Line. Ed is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching end user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or emendlowitz@withum.com.

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