Internship Ambiguity

During the first two weeks of my internship experience, I had the opportunity to learn more about general accounting and tax practices in Ireland. I completed my first accounting project involving personal taxes. Additionally, I learned more about bank statements and reconciling bank accounts. I have been using Excel consistently for formatting statements, adjusting transactions, and creating control accounts. Once I completed the process for one account, I reconciled the balances for two other types of accounts. The project also included the use of tables and pivot tables to organize the data. Next week, I will be working with the bank statements for a credit union. I am looking forward to learning more about accounting as I complete projects throughout my internship.

Having a virtual internship certainly has its challenges. Add the fact that the firm is based in Ireland, and you could see how uncertainty and miscommunications could arise. Fortunately, my supervisor and other staff members are diligent about giving me clear and informative directions. All directions I have been given are through Zoom meetings, so it is easy for them to know I am understanding the task and ask questions. This is important because I am working with important Excel spreadsheets with a very large number of transactions. I am certain about what I have been asked to do when I am working on the spreadsheets. However, uncertainty and ambiguity occur when communicating with my supervisor and other staff.

The first time I experienced ambiguity in my internship was the few days before my first day. The Friday before my first week of work, I still had not heard from my supervisor about my schedule. I was nervous because I was unsure when I was supposed to start on Monday. Finally, I decided on Sunday night to email my supervisor so he would receive the email as soon as he got to work in the morning. I sent him two sample schedules to pick from or to adjust. Since Ireland is five hours ahead of our time, I woke up at four in the morning to see when he wanted me to start my first day. Fortunately, it was not until seven that I had to start. Although this situation caused me a lot of stress, I was able to handle it by sending an early email and being prepared.

Another aspect of my internship where I experience ambiguity is knowing who to contact at the beginning of work each day. Because it is an accounting internship, I often need specific instructions for each step of the process. This makes it difficult for me to work on my own for extended amounts of time. Therefore, at the beginning of each day, I must contact either one of the staff or my supervisor to find out what I am working on that day. At the beginning of the internship, my supervisor gave me an overview of the personal taxes project I would be working on. He then assigned me to one of the staff members to help me reconcile the bank statements. For the next couple of days, he would be my main point of contact and answer any questions. One day this staff member was not able to answer my message during the hours I was working. The next day, another staff member was assigned to help me but had no knowledge of the spreadsheet I was working on. This made it a little more difficult to continue working on the documents. This week, I had two different staff members asking me to join a call with them at the same time to work on different projects. After discussing it with them, I was able to finish up my previous project and then begin work on the following more extensive project. I understand that each day is different for the staff with meetings, calls, and projects. However, it is challenging to know which staff member to ask for work and questions throughout the day. I have learned to navigate this uncertainty by checking in at the end of the day so they can let me know who to contact the next day.

Although the miscommunications and uncertainty have caused some uneasiness, I have certainly learned about accounting practices throughout the first two weeks of my virtual internship. This experience will help me better connect to the material I will be learning in my courses next semester. I am excited for the next couple of weeks because I feel more comfortable in my role as an accounting intern at the firm.