This summer has been nothing but ordinary as we are in the midst a global pandemic. However, this unique set of circumstances has provided me with an opportunity I would have never had before COVID-19. The opportunity to do an internship abroad has provided me with a great skill set that will be transferable to whatever field I pursue.
This summer I have been interning with the London Basketball Association, a registered charity in the UK with the mission of empowering underprivileged communities through encouraging healthy lifestyle choices such as participating in sports. This organization has been great and has allowed me to meet many wonderful people who strive to make a difference in their community.
My role as an accounting intern has been both interesting and challenging. We rarely work on a project for more than a few days, so we are always learning on the job. I have been paired with another CAPA intern named Natalie. This has been really nice to bounce ideas off of her and makes it feel like you are not left on your own. Originally, we were told we would be reporting to Sarah (head of accounting) but as the internship moved forward, we ended up needing to be in contact with Tony the CEO for specific projects. For many of our check in meetings we would report to both of them.
Through reporting to two different people I was able to further develop my communication skills as both of my supervisors had very different styles of communicating. Tony the CEO is very focused on the big picture and moving the company forward. This is great but a lot of times he skips over important details or is ambiguous about how he wants things done. He commonly will give us a large task to complete with no clear steps on how to complete it. This has taught me during our meetings to ask probing questions about the specifics of each task and how we should accomplish them. Sarah (head of accounting) on the other hand is much more detail oriented and lots of times will tell us exactly what to do but does not explain the reasoning behind it. Dealing with these two very different communication styles has definitely been a challenge but has provided me a professional experience to learn from.
To get into the specifics of our projects, one of our most time-consuming projects was aiding in the migration to new accounting software. The LBA has been using Sage One for the last few years but was looking for new software options. We were tasked with researching a few different software and pitching whichever one we thought would serve the organization best, for the best price. This involved a lot of back and forth with the salespeople for each accounting software asking specific questions. However, after all our research we decided that due to the ability to do payroll, the specific pricing for charities and various other factors that Sage 50 was the best software to switch too. Now that this decision has been made it is likely that we will assist in the migration of data from Sage One to Sage 50 over the last few weeks of our internship.
Another project we were given was to create a financial literacy plan that could be distributed to the kids the LBA works with and the employees of the LBA. Tony had us go about this by using a month of his spending to use has an example to get ballpark figures/ percentages and then work of that to create a template anyone can follow. We were able to get all the necessary information over a meeting and then spent a few days compiling all the transactions and spending habits in an excel sheet. After this we created a questionnaire about his financial goals moving forward and had a second meeting regarding these goals. This information was then taken into account and we created a template on excel that used formulas to show how a change in income should affect where you have the freedom to spend your money. Along the way some of the problems we ran into were that everyone has different goals and saving needs. We addressed this in the template by creating an extra sheet for savings, goals and investments.
Another one of our longer projects has been involving grant application relating to COVID-19. Each application involves requests for different financial information. This sounds pretty straight forward but because each grant asks for financial information from different time periods and different figures that involve different calculations this can be rather time consuming. Additionally, because this is for external use, we have to make sure everything is formatted nicely and labeled nicely in excel. Lots of time we have to consult with Tony about a specific question because we can’t find the information from looking at just the balance sheet or income statement.
Through all of these projects I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people across 3 times zones. Before COVID-19 I never thought I would have had this opportunity this summer. But I’m thankful I was able to develop my professional skills remotely