Adding up career experience

July 18, 2011

By Andrew Kerr ’11, accounting

Accountants and auditors often serve as fodder for jokes, but people rarely have any idea what we do, beyond "bean counting."   Auditors serve a vital role in capital markets, attesting to the accuracy of financial statements provided by public companies. Simply put, auditors ensure that the numbers you read in a 10-q, or a company's annual financial statement, are accurate. Stakeholders rely on this information when making business decisions.  When this information is misleading, it can have devastating effects. Take the collapse of Lehman Brothers or Enron, for example.

This summer I am an assurance intern with the Peoria PwC (PricewaterHouseCoopers) office, a Big Four accounting firm. PwC is one of the largest accounting firms in the world and audits some of the best-known companies.

The word I would choose to describe my internship experience so far is “whirlwind.”  My first week, I was off to Chicago for training. For week two I was back in Peoria, working for a Fortune 50 client and by week three I was volunteering with the office in the community. I have yet to count a single bean!  In the coming weeks I will travel to Iowa for an engagement and if I am offered a full time position by the end of the summer I will be invited to the Intern Development Program, for a week of training at Disney World!  Needless to say I am working very hard to make a good impression.

So far there has not been an "average" day in the office. I arrive about 8 a.m. and leave sometime after 5 p.m., but those are they only constants. In my short few weeks here I have helped the team on several different engagements, which have required me to pull from my diverse academic experiences at Bradley. One day I may be proofreading a 10-k that will be released to the Securities Exchange Commission at midnight, the next I am working on valuating pension assets, and the day after working on setting up a database for our next audit. Every day I have the opportunity to learn from and conquer new challenges.

Everyone on the PwC team has been friendly and eager to help me acclimate to the office. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far with the firm and I am excited to see what the rest of the summer holds!