My adventures in public accounting began on a cold winter evening in December as I traveled to my first interview with HW&Co. I was in search of a challenge, and a platform on which I could build my career. Ideally, I would attain a full-time staff position within a public accounting firm.
When I arrived at HW&Co., I was greeted at the door by the receptionist and guided into a conference room where my interview would take place. It seemed like business as usual. I was alone for no more than two minutes, but my nerves made it seem much longer. The door opened, and I was greeted by the Human Resources representative with a handshake and a smile that put me more at ease.
Throughout the interview, I met with three individuals, all of whom were more interested in my personality rather than my educational or career accomplishments. I began to tell them that I was looking for an entry-level, full-time position. The interviewers told me that entry-level staff are not typically hired before proving themselves through a spring internship. Previously, I was never able to complete a spring internship due to my collegiate athletic obligations and I was not opposed to the idea of an internship. This opportunity would allow me to reflect on who I was, what I wanted for myself and my career, and what value I could bring to the organization. Overall, the interview was very personable, professional, and made me feel as if I was already a member of the company.
One day after the interview, I received a call from the Human Resources Director at HW&Co. and was offered a spring internship position. I was ecstatic! I signed the employment paperwork as soon as I could and mailed them to HW&Co. for finalization.
I was not fortunate enough to have met the other interns or any of the staff prior to my internship, so I would essentially be going in blind. In addition, I needed to find a place to live for the duration of the internship and find a way to cover the monthly costs of living alone. It was a big step, but I was more than prepared and ready to face these roadblocks head-on.
Throughout the first week of the internship, the interns and I were introduced to the software that we would be using for the busy season. I thought to myself, “This is your time to shine.” I got to meet all of the other new interns and staff, and we had a dinner on the first night provided by HW&Co. I took in as much of the information as I could during that first week. I took pages of notes, asked questions, and reviewed content with my peers after the learning sessions. I started to get the hang of operating and navigating the software and I felt that I was ready for the busy season audits.
My very first audit was located in Columbus, which was a hefty 3.5 hour drive through morning rush-hour traffic. It was a brisk, dark and cold morning in mid-January. I arrived at the client just before 9 a.m., ready to go with my coffee in one hand and binder in the other. As we started on the audit process I drew a blank. Everything I had learned went out the window and nerves were beginning to build up. It felt like there was a white noise all around me and the room seemed to be heating up. That’s when the job manager rested their hand on my shoulder and said, “Relax, you’re going to be fine.” I took a deep, calming breath and we started on the first audit procedure. I was walked through each and every task that needed to be completed for each section of the audit and as the day progressed I started completing work papers at a very efficient rate.
Throughout the next few audit jobs, I took what I had learned and applied it throughout every future audit. If something was not known, a question was asked, and an answer was given. If I could pinpoint one thing that drew me towards HW&Co., it is the ineffable passion of the staff and their willingness to help anyone with any issue at any time.
When April arrived busy season started coming to an end. I and the other interns were completing audit submissions and seeing less and less work come across our desks. We spent hours each day trying to find work to do. We started to think, “What happens after the internship concludes?” There were a lot of unknowns, but regardless of what happened next, one thing was certain: the level of application and professionalism that was applied throughout this internship would no doubt aid in strengthening my future career. Whether or not a job offer came after the internship, the experiences themselves proved to be some of the most beneficial months of my life.
I was fortunate enough to receive an offer for full-time employment about 4 weeks after the internship wrapped up. I accepted without any hesitation for a few reasons:
- HW&Co. proved to be everything I was looking for in a company: a high degree of professionalism, application of knowledge learned in school, promotional opportunities, community involvement, and an overall high level of camaraderie.
- I greatly enjoyed my public accounting experience with the people at HW&Co. and loved the idea of working with them for many busy seasons to come.
- I have never been more comfortable in an office when I see the CEO walk through the halls; there is a very high level of propriety and autonomy.
If you are in search of an organization that will put you and your goals first, then look no further than HW&Co.: a solid, reputable company with a tremendous reputation within the healthcare industry and a seemingly endless list of accomplishments. HW&Co. is highly recommended by current and past clients as being one of the best CPA and Advisory firms in the greater Northeast Ohio area.