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September 12, 2008

Accounting Intern has Experience of a Lifetime in London

By Anna Nolte

Ever since I started college as an accounting student, I have always wanted to work internationally. This summer my dream came true when I worked as an intern in the US Corporate Tax department of Deloitte & Touche in London. I boarded my flight there with butterflies in my stomach, and left my internship feeling I had gained more than I had ever hoped for.

I really enjoyed the experience of working in an office and applying the knowledge I had gained during my past 4 years at UW-Eau Claire. I loved being in London because it is such a diverse city and is so close to other European countries.Over the summer, I worked in at least 12 different currencies. As a result, the financial statements I worked with were almost never in US dollars.

My lack of knowledge and experience of a “real-world” accounting position didn’t slow me down. Rather, it challenged me to learn more. Most of the work I did was very new to me and it could often be overwhelming. I learned an enormous amount of information about tax accounting - mostly about 5471 and 8865 tax forms used for corporations and partnerships. My exposure to tax forms in Accounting 321 helped me when I was filling out corporate forms. However, these forms were different from the personal tax forms I had been filling out in class. I found I needed to enhance my vocabulary with additional “tax lingo.”

My internship gave me a wonderful sense of what it is like to be a part of an accounting team. For example, I was working with a very large client but at the same time we had a July 31st deadline for our 5471 and 8865 returns for 200 entities or more. I worked long hours during this month and put a lot of effort into this client. There were moments that were overwhelming as my team and I saw the task in front of us. However, when we finished and succeeded, we felt a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

I was even able to use my French language skills. One of my clients had investments in a French hotel chain, and so I translated the chain’s financial statements. A French auditor later looked at my translation work and commented how good it was. I had a profound sense of satisfaction from combining my working knowledge of the French language with my accounting knowledge. Furthermore, no other member of my accounting team had the skill-set to translate these statements. I had the added satisfaction of saving our team the valuable time that sending the statements out for interpretation services would have consumed.

I decided early on in my internship that I would not to be a bystander but would get involved in various social activities and groups within Deloitte. I was the only intern who joined the Deloitte Choir, and I sang with the choir at the UK Partner meeting where more than 750 partners were present. I also joined the Deloitte Christian Fellowship, where I met employees from different departments and learned about their experiences with the accounting firm. Both of these opportunities allowed me to gain a more global perspective about the company than I would have had if I simply remained in my own department.

While my summer was very enjoyable, I also faced plenty of challenges. One challenge was the large amount of new information I was presented with each day. To overcome this challenge, I had to take an organized approach to handling new information. By the end of the summer, I was confident doing a 5471 tax form and having an intelligent conversation with my co-workers about the entities that I was completing the form for.

Looking back on this summer, I learned a lot about tax accounting, and felt a great sense of accomplishment that I was able to contribute to the work being done at Deloitte. I have learned more about Deloitte and the advantages and challenges of working for a large company. I even got to travel and meet people from other countries. My internship at Deloitte & Touche was an amazing experience that I would recommend to any accounting student.

Anna Nolte is a senior accounting and French major from Wausau, WI. She hopes to work for an international accounting firm once she graduates in May 2009