Written by: Andrew Hopkins
Hello finance / accounting fans,
It’s been awhile since my last post; things here have certainly kept me busy. Just a quick update before I get started: I’m still loving my time up here, the work is really interesting, the people / other interns are really nice and helpful, and of course there’s always something to do here in the Big Apple (speaking of which, I found out that the nickname came from a sportswriter in the 1920’s who described a New York City horse race as drawing horses from all over the country to the Big Apple).
Going a little deeper into those topics, the project I have been working for the last couple of weeks has been the experience of a lifetime. I got the chance to work with Ernst & Young’s team currently advising the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on AIG. Well, I guess I am working for you guys also since technically it’s the American taxpayer who took the stake in AIG. This project has been an incredible learning experience. Everyday I am exposed to the latest inner-workings of the finance and accounting world, and I’m trying to pick up as much as I possibly can. Thankfully, my team has been incredibly helpful and really nice to me, from senior all the way up to the partner in charge of the deal. Unfortunately, I cannot go into any more detail on my work since it is highly confidential. In fact, until a couple of weeks ago (when the Fed released a report stating some of the help it has been receiving on AIG), no one was even allowed to mention that Ernst and Young was advising the Fed on AIG.
What I can do is explain the program that I am in a little further. I am a Transactions Support intern in the TS + program. This means that this summer, I have been interning with EY’s Transactions Support team, advising clients on either the purchase or sale of an asset or entire company. If I am lucky enough to receive a full-time offer, I will do a three-year rotation where I spend 75% of my time in audit and 25% of my time in TS. The rotation is designed to prepare candidates to obtain their CPA license as well as train staff to be effective members of the TS practice. In order to work in TS, you need to have the audit skills that allow you to analyze and understand historical earnings in order to use that information to project future revenue streams and expenses for the company.
I love working in the TS practice because it involves both finance and accounting skills and really calls for critical thinking to help advise a client on acquiring a prospective target. I can definitely see myself finding my niche within this practice and will continue to enjoy the rest of the summer.
Finally before I go, I will describe the typical seniority structure at a Big 4 accounting firm. The hierarchy for a team (which works for one client at a time) is: executive partner, partner, senior manager, manager, senior, staff and then intern (bottom of the totem pole here, but I am definitely still trusted with work that is both important to the project and very detail-specific). Just an example of a team I worked on, was made up of: an executive partner, a senior manager, a manager, and two seniors. Every member of my team has been more than willing to help explain anything that I needed. The biggest piece of advice I can give in working with a team is to always take notes when they take the time to explain a longer, or more complicated, process. It has been my experience that they never mind explaining how to do something because they all remember times when they were new at something. However, I make sure to take detailed notes and get it right the first time so as to not disrespect them by taking up their valuable time at work (only interns get paid hourly!).
Well that’s all for now readers, but be sure to look for another post in the near future as I still have a lot more to say about all the exciting things that have been going on this summer.