Accounting Coop Program Offers Students the Opportunity to Gain Hands-on Experience
Tax season is possibly the busiest time of year for accountants. And this year, eight junior accounting majors decided to join an accounting firm during this busy season to gain hands-on experience as part of the new Accounting Coop Program. Most of the students chose to do the coop with the future in mind. “Simply put, you need to have relevant work experience on your resume if you want a good shot at finding a job following graduation. Employers want to make sure you can function in an office environment and that you are competent enough to handle the workload of a first-year. Plus, it opens up more networking opportunities,” said Hunter Barrett who is working at Harvey & Martin, PC.
Patrick Frazier, who is working at Katz, Nannis & Solomon this semester, felt similarly. “I wanted to experience the practical side of accounting and begin to get a feel for my future career path,” he said.
In addition to working, the students are getting credit as part of an internship course and will take two additional intensive courses when their coops wrap-up in mid-April. The students knew it would be a lot of work but were eager for the challenge. Kyle Martin, who is at Tonneson & Co., said, “I knew that if I could survive and enjoy the coop during tax season, then I would know what I want to do in the future.”
Martin and the other students first learned of the new Accounting Coop Program last spring when they were invited to attend an information session for eligible students (accounting majors with strong GPAs). They began preparing right away, taking the right mix of courses to be able to graduate on time, updating their resumes, and researching accounting firms. After an extensive interview process in the fall, they began their coop jobs in January – just in time for the start of tax season.
The students have learned a lot in their first few weeks, “I expected to have to figure out the work myself, but everyone at work has been extremely helpful and accommodating. I’m intrigued by the fact that my co-workers and clients treat me as a professional adult and not just a junior in college,” said Anthony DeAngelo, who is working at Sullivan Bille PC. There was a side benefit to the work, too. Many of the students learned about themselves in addition to learning about the job. “I was surprised to discover that some of the things I expected to like were not what I had in mind and vice versa – I expected to like taxes better but now I am more interested in doing audits,” said Carissa Healey who is working at Katz, Nannis & Solomon.
When asked what advice they would have for students considering the Accounting Coop Program, Shannon McDermott, who is at Gray, Gray & Gray, said, “Go for it. You might feel like you are missing out on the college experience that semester, but the opportunity will really benefit you in the long run.” Aimee Sinewitz, who is at DiCicco, Gulman & Co., echoes her advice, “It has been life changing and it really made me feel better about choosing Accounting as a career path. This opportunity will show you what you want in a future employer and what you will be doing for the rest of your career.”
Current students interested in the Accounting Coop Program, should contact Kimberly Valente, Student Services Specialist, at email@example.com.