I learned very quickly that there are a handful of standard reactions that come when you tell someone you are studying accounting, interning at an accounting firm, or any similar combination of words involving “accounting.” First, they apologize to you, as if you are undergoing some great misfortune; second, they ask if it’s a temporary gig until you discover your true calling; third, they just stop listening all together and find someone else to talk to, in hopes that that conversation will carry more promise and excitement. Despite all the reactions I endured throughout my undergraduate career, I actually do enjoy accounting; I genuinely enjoyed (most of) the classes and so far, I really like the work. In fact, I have a handful of friends that I was very close to in school that felt the same way about classes; however, they have not enjoyed the work so much. I think there are a couple of plausible explanations: 1. they chose tax (just kidding, kind of) OR 2. they chose to intern at a firm that isn’t DHG.
When I started setting my sights on where to apply for internships, I received loads of advice (mostly from family and friends) who had had some experience with a firm at some point in their career, whether as an employee or client. Most of what I heard was pretty standard, but one comment in particular stuck out to me. My academic advisor, who probably uses the same line on most students, said that I would find essentially the same work at all firms, but what would differ is the teams you are a part of. She could not have been more right.
There was something I heard in conversation with an associate early on in my internship experience that really caught my attention and gave me a great idea of what the environment would be like working at DHG. That day, I felt like I had been asking a TON of questions and interrupting his work endlessly. I apologized for all of the distractions, and he quickly stopped me and explained this concept. He told me that one way he might appear “ready” for a promotion to his supervisors is through teaching someone to do his job, meaning that he put in the time and effort to ensure that the interns were learning and growing in their own work. I think that motivation to encourage teaching (and learning, depending on the perspective) is so important to why I chose to intern with DHG the first (and second) time. The amount of information I have learned over the past few weeks has been incredible, thanks to the teams I have worked with. I’ve been given work that pushes me just outside my comfort zone and has enabled me to learn something new every day, in every area of the audit or review. I know that the experience and diversity of work I have gotten to do has far surpassed that of my peers at other firms.
Finally, something I noticed upon first interviewing with the firm and that has been further reinforced throughout my internships is that the relationships here are genuine. I tend to be a bit of a chatter box when given half the chance, and getting to meet so many different people in different areas of DHG has been awesome. Conversations have flowed easily and I’ve noticed how much I have in common with my peers, which is truly comforting. I hope that my friends at other firms have internship experiences as great as mine, but chances are, I am going to be the one at the end of the day bragging the most about the great experience I have had!
Tyler Knollmann first interned in DHG's Richmond office in 2015 and is now an intern in DHG's Charlotte SouthPark office. She graduated from Clemson in December and she plans to return to Clemson in August to start on her graduate degree. When she's not working, she loves to spend time outdoors exploring great areas to hike around the region.