Networking might have helped you land an internship with Moss Adams, but don’t make the mistake of ending the networking process too soon. Building your network is a continuing part of your career. For many, this involves putting yourself out there and getting out of your comfort zone. (more…)
By Michael Hetrick, Audit Intern, Sacramento Office
Tiffany Phillips, a graduate of the University of Oregon with Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Economics, was 1 of 55 people who received the Elijah Watt Sells Award in 2013 out of almost 100,000 exam participants. To win the award, she had to pass the CPA Exams on her first attempts with an average score of 95.5+ within one calendar year, an impressive achievement.
By Michael Hetrick, Audit Intern, Sacramento Office
Interns and staff are not expected to have much accounting knowledge when they enter Moss Adams, but one skill that they can start developing from before ever landing the job is representing themselves professionally. Accounting is a service industry, and when engaging with a client or attending a networking event, staff are representing the firm. Whatever the client thinks and perceives about them will become associated with the firm, so leaving a good impression is important. To give you an idea of how to represent yourself professionally in accounting, I will touch on some ways to leave a good first impression, and I will discuss the Moss Adams business casual dress code, professional wardrobe, and grooming for men.
When you are at a client, make sure to have your VPN. Also, on your Pfx, your location should still be “The Office.” If you put “The Field”, you will not be able to check in/out work papers or sync binders.
Many of the questions you will have can be found in the Tax Handbook. Keep it on your desktop for a quick reference. File path: N:\Firm Niche\Taxadmin\Current Tax Handbook
Many audit rules can be found in the AS Quick Reference Tool. File path: Start menu → Moss Adams LLP → AS Quick Reference Tool
A tip that is helpful in viewing duplicate worksheets (e.g. Schedule K-1, Schedule E): Next > Dropdown button > Next Sheet
Axcess is case-sensitive even though it shows all entries in capital letters.
In Pfx, on the file name at the top:
[Reading] – Cannot be saved in Pfx
[Process] – Can be saved in Pfx
If you are not an Excel expert yet, we recommend to watch Youtube videos on this matter. Try watching and duplicating them but setting-up your worksheet. You want your internship to be a learning experience on how your Excel knowledge is applied in Accounting and not just how much you learned in Excel.
Among the most used formulas in Accounting are: concatenate, vlookup, if, round, subtotal, etc. Learn how move sheet among workpapers, do references, filtering, shortcuts, locking cells,etc. The more you learn about Excel, the better you become in its applications.
References: When it comes to referencing, if it’s on the left of a number, it mean ‘comes from’ such work paper (A-01). If it’s on the right, it means that it ‘goes to’ that work paper (C-01).
A list of important people to know for a tax project:
Tax Administrative Manager (assigns work)
Principal reviewer (reviews your work)
Signer (in charge of the entire return)
Buddy (who you go to for questions)
Word processor (edits the literature before submitting to IRS/sending to client)
For the tax office, lunch is generally at 11:30am. Stop what you are doing and go.
Unless you are assigned a desk, do not just help yourself to an open desk. People come and go often. Find out if that person is coming into the office that day. At the end of the day, leave it in better condition than you started in it.
Prior year tax return will be your best friend! Try to find the answer in last year before asking questions. Anything that was done in the prior year is worth checking out because it will help you understand where things go.
Reference other work papers as much as you can. It makes it clearer for the reviewer where you pulled your numbers from.
Don’t be afraid to ask more in-depth questions about the work you are doing. You will get so much more out of it if you have a better understanding.
Do not worry about going over your allotted budget. Interns charge at a lower rate than staff, and it is to be expected that you will take more time completing a project you have never worked on before. Talk to the administrative manager so they can extend it in StaffTrak.
If you pack a lunch, there is a fridge in the kitchen to store it.
Keep in mind that it can take a long time to get in contact with the IRS or Franchise Tax Board (sometimes over an hour). Be prepared to speak with governmental employees who have no requirement to exercise any customer service skills.
Use XCM to clear notes or ask questions for the tax return.
Participate in the Busy Season games every Friday at 3pm!!
The perks of driving. Make sure to file an expense report for mileage.
Find the distance between your house and the client. Also, find the distance between the office and the client. Pick the smaller of the two. That is the one you are going to expense.
Remember, you can expense the round trip, so double it.
Then, go to Webview → Expense → Click the date → Enter in all information
To print or get pdf, go to “Reports” and click the paper symbol. Then, click the printer symbol. Once you get into the menu, in the “select printer” section, select Adobe PDF and hit print. You will have a PDF of that page. From here, you may print or send the PDF to OC Expense Reports.
Bonus tip: If your drive to client happens to be longer than one hour, every minute after the hour can be counted as your work time. Work code: 1900 Travel Time
Never ask when lunch is. Your co-workers will know when it is time to eat.
There is always a choice between bringing lunch or picking up lunch and working through it, which means leaving early. Or you can go out to lunch and leave around 5:30PM. Do not ask to leave early. This is solely up to your in-charges.
Have a good place ready in mind about where to go to lunch because they will ask for your opinion. You could try to look up places around your client beforehand that way you can list some options for them when asked. Also, bring your wallet. Don’t expect to be paid for every day.
If a team member invites you out to lunch, it’s best to accept. In some cases, you will have an opportunity to meet other auditors from the office.
End of the day:
Don’t be the first person to pack up. Wait until everyone starts packing up.
Ask if you can leave your second monitor, mouse, and keypad at the client, or follow what the rest of the team is doing. You are going to come back tomorrow and there’s probably not going to be an opportunity at home for you to need these items. However, KEEP YOUR LAPTOP ON YOU AT ALL TIMES.
At the end of the day you should “check-in” all work papers, sign off on completed work papers, and sync (not express sync) the binder (even the perm folder if you worked on it). If you forget, you will prevent others from being able to edit or continue work papers.
HINT: You can check by clicking the “Engagement Today” button on your toolbar (far right). Your reviewer will call you out if they aren’t able to review!
Let your team know when you are syncing a binder or a work paper, because you can’t do it all at once.
Make sure to enter your time after each day. You will be working on multiple sections each day and you need to enter them correctly.
At the client with no work:
You will probably be asked to just shadow the staff member on the audit or do work for other clients. Be enthusiastic about it! You will still be learning something new.
The in-charge may allow you to send out an availability e-mail; however, this does not guarantee that you will have work to do either. Don’t send out the e-mail without talking to your in-charge.
In the office:
Take this time to familiarize yourself with the office. Some interns will be in the office for a week or not at all. For those that are not in the office at all, it’s very likely that you will not know where anything is.
Other stuff to know:
Ask your team how to use your second monitor. Your life will be changed for the better, I promise.
If there is a note on your work paper, make sure to always answer back. If it is just a simple order to fix something on your work paper, respond “Done” once you have made the changes to let that person know that you have seen it and have fixed your work.
If you can’t complete certain testing or other paperwork because of missing documentation, make sure to highlight those areas in yellow and leave a note so that you or another person knows what needs to be completed. Make sure to write on the note “open for highlighted items” or other specific documentation.
Attend all events and leave a good impression (e.g. Toastmasters, Culture Club, Forum W, office games, State of the Office).
When you receive an invite in Outlook, always send a response. This way the inviter can see that you accepted and can keep track of who is attending.
You can also view other staffs’ calendars in Outlook to see if they are currently busy before you go ask them questions. In order to do this, click on “calendar” on the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Click on the top where it says view open calendar. Find the person’s name and add them. This is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage so you can know where people are when you need them and whether they are busy or not.
Dress Code for Tax – Business casual every day and jeans on Friday
Dress Code for Audit – Generally the same tax; however, sometimes you may have to dress business professional and sometimes you may dress casual. You should always ask before your engagement for the acceptable attire to wear out on the field.
If you are part of an inventory observation, make sure you ask the team what kind of attire to wear.
Keep a pen and pad of paper with you whenever you are working. You should not have to ask something twice. When someone comes to your desk, take notes. When you are getting instructions for work, take notes. If you are asking questions, take notes.
Get to know everyone in the office, not just your start class. The more, the merrier!
There are appropriate and inappropriate times to talk about subjects other than the work at hand. You should focus on work, but also be a part of the conversation when the opportunity presents itself.
Know the printer closest to you. There are a lot of printers in the office, so printing to just any printer could be problematic.
You can easily change your default printer by going to Start/Devices & Printers and then right clicking on the printer closest to you. If you need a printer installed, go to Start/Moss Adams LLP/Moss Adams Help Center/I would like to add a network printer.
Offer to pay for someone else’s lunch if YOU invite THEM. Chances are they will pay for themselves and maybe even you, but it is a courteous thing to offer if they were invited.
Always lock your computer before you leave your desk for safety purposes. A keyboard shortcut to do this is [WinKey] + [L].
If you need to get a huddle room or a conference room, see the receptionist.
Compile your questions as best as possible before calling over someone to help you. Make it quick and efficient, as they are busy.
Be sure to write down the things you may need more than once and keep it close by you in order to avoid asking twice, such as important phone numbers, passwords, websites, steps to complete a task, etc.
Make sure to take detailed notes of the tasks that you are assigned to because it is easy to forget, and you don’t want to be asking over and over what you were told to work on.
Lync (Instant Messaging System) is a good way to check if someone is at their desk instead of walking all the way over.
Plan to have some downtime. There are times during an audit where the client doesn’t give enough support, which limits the amount of work for everyone. During this time, stay away from going on your personal social media sites or cell phones. One thing you could do is work on your intern project, fill out your timesheet, answer emails, or anything work related. Getting more familiar with the programs is a great use of time too.
Take a short coffee break to refresh your mind. Also, make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep the energy going for an 8-hour day.
Take a few laps around the office the first day to explore where everything is. Take note of where people’s desks are and the general layout of the office. On page 8 of this manual is a mapped layout of both floors of the Orange County office.
Try to maintain a steady workout routine. Moss Adams will try to make you gain weight. There is free food everywhere you go. Consistent exercise will keep your energy levels up throughout the day. It also helps to relieve stresses of an 8-hour day. If you are an early riser, you can get a workout in before work, but if you are not, you can do right after work. The best tip to not forget to get your workout in is to pack a gym bag in your car the night before. That way you can go before/after work without excuses. It will really help you with your energy levels.
Be willing to do any type of work, whether it is looking for documents, printing, talking to clients, etc.
Remember where you park. The parking lot can be really confusing. You can text yourself or write down in your phone what level you parked because after an 8-hour day is easy to forget where you parked (it has happened to many of us several times). However, as time goes by you start to become more familiar with the parking structure. It’s easiest to remember where you park if you park in the same spot or general area each day
Parking structure hack: Turn right you go to the next floor (1st to 2nd), turn left you skip a floor (1st to 3rd).
Clean out your car in case you are asked to drive other staff to lunch.
Ask for the understanding behind the work you are doing. Do not only focus on the mechanics of the work papers. This way, you can comprehend the work you are doing and do not have to memorize steps which you will be at risk of forgetting.
Do take notes when you are instructed to do something. You can ask, “Do you mind if I take notes? Can you please slow down a bit so I can have this noted?”
Don’t know what to talk about during lunch? Don’t know what to talk about in general? Remember the 5 F’s.
Future – Ask about their future plans.
Family and friends – Ask them to talk about family and friends.