Internship Spotlight – Kristen Steiner, Heinfeld Meech
Sept. 8, 2020
Kristen Steiner is an Accounting major graduating in May 2022. This past summer she interned for Heinfeld Meech as an Audit Intern remotely in Tucson, Arizona.
What was the process for getting this internship, job, or summer experience?
In the Fall of 2019, I applied for the internship through Handshake. From there, I was invited to an on-campus interview with an Audit Manager from the firm. During the interview, I inquired about a Summer 2020 intern position but was told that most individuals attend the company’s Extern experience first and then take on an Internship the following year. I was offered an Externship through email after the interview. In the Spring of 2020, I was picked to also fill the spot of an individual for the Internship that same Summer.
What was a typical day like?
Since the internship was remote, my first day on the job was partially spent driving to their Tucson office to fill out paperwork and pick up a laptop, monitor, and miscellaneous supplies I would need to complete my job. From there, my days started with meeting my supervisor for that week (they changed weekly) and going over various tasks to which I was assigned. These assignments ranged from administrative to more complex audit practices. For example, I assisted in making audit selections (both manually and through IDEA software), compiling work papers, performing audit test work, and meeting with clients (lead by my supervisor). As the internship progressed, I found myself working independently on a lot of projects, which I found very rewarding.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite aspect of this experience was the challenge that it brought. I worked on many different assignments and was kept busy throughout the entire day. With no prior knowledge of auditing, I found most of the tasks to be complex and new. I really enjoyed this because it was crucial to my learning. I liked that all of my supervisors trusted me to complete higher-level assignments and gave me feedback on my work.
If you worked on a big project, please describe it below:
My biggest project was for Yuma ESD which I assisted in making selections for, performing test work, and conducting fieldwork (meeting with the client). I was assigned to my own batch of work papers to test and worked with my supervisor to ensure they were completed correctly and on-time.
What did you find most challenging?
One of the most challenging aspects of this internship was working with the IDEA platform. Although a majority of selections that I made were completed manually, I had to work with IDEA a number of times. As I had no experience working with this software, I found it somewhat difficult to navigate. Similarly to Excel, IDEA allows you to filter documents like a General Ledger (provided by clients), however, this filtering is done through the user coding it accordingly. Due to this being a very common software used by Auditors, according to my supervisor, I highly recommend a Level Up course being offered at Eller. I feel that it may be great knowledge to have particularly for graduate students who find themselves on the audit track.
What did you learn?
Prior to this experience, I had extremely limited knowledge about what auditing was or how it operated. After my internship, I feel that I have a much better understanding of the inter-workings of the auditing practice. Some of the things that I took away include how to make audit selections (manually and through IDEA), how to compile work papers and perform test work, and an understanding of how to communicate with clients. As auditing is a very complex process, I am sure that there was much more to learn of which I did not get exposure to. Due to my internship being at the end of many client’s fiscal years, I had somewhat of a limited task list – primarily focused on audit selections. I was told that later on in the Fall, auditors begin to focus on creating financial statements. The work is mostly cyclical and employees are given various tasks depending on the time of year.
What advice do you have for other students looking for a similar experience, or advice for future students to be successful?
One of the most crucial aspects of any job is the ability to communicate well with others. Always ask questions when you don’t understand the task at hand. Additionally, once that task is completed, it is important to communicate that you are ready for new work. This shows that you are eager to learn and produce for the employer.
How did Eller prepare you for this experience?
I definitely used a lot of my knowledge from both ACCT 200 and ACCT 210 during this internship. Financial Accounting, in particular, is crucial to nearly any accounting intern position out there. (shoutout to Stussie and Altman!) Also vital to my experience were the Excel skills that I took away from BNAD 277. These skills included knowing how to apply filters to spreadsheets and how to work with Pivot Tables. (shoutout to Hunter!)
Did you feel supported by the company or organization you worked with?
I felt extremely supported by the company. Every individual that I worked with at Heinfeld Meech was extremely helpful and encouraging. I found it very beneficial to work with employees at all different levels from Staff 1 to Audit Manager. In relation to COVID-19, I was extremely grateful that they decided to continue with the internship. They did a fabulous job of integrating the experience to be fully remote. With the ability to meet and chat through Microsoft Teams, I still felt very connected to all of my supervisors.
Anything else you would like to share about your summer experience?
I had a phenomenal experience working at Heinfeld Meech. I learned a lot and was able to network with so many different employees there.