From Oxford to London:
Accountancy interns explore the profession
by Lori Simpson
Sixty-eight students are experiencing the real world of professional accounting this semester in 15 U.S. cities and London, thanks to the Patterson School’s highly successful paid-internship program.
“We continue to be extremely pleased with our internship program,&sdquo; said Interim Dean Mark Wilder, who has been helping students “test the water&sdquo; since becoming the program’s director in 2004. “It’s a growth experience that gives the students a whole new perspective on the field and places them at a competitive advantage in the job market. Then there’s the added bonus of 3 hours of academic credit and great pay, which, all together, offers students a tremendous opportunity.&sdquo;
Senior Jan Eftink reaping benefits of London internship
Senior Jan Eftink of Chaffee, Mo., is getting firsthand experience in London with Deloitte & Touche, one of the world’s top accounting firms. Unlike her fellow student interns who are learning the American ways of accounting, Eftink is being exposed to the British tax system.
“I have always wanted to travel and work in a foreign country,&sdquo; Eftink said. “I am also really excited about the job because tax is my interest in accounting.&sdquo;
Wilder coordinated the internship with accounting alum Holly Prater (BAccy 01), who works in Deloitte’s London office.
“We identified some students who were interested in going to London, and Holly conducted telephone interviews. They found some students they liked and made a couple of offers,&sdquo; Wilder said. Senior Jeannie Blair also received an offer but opted to intern at Deloitte’s Nashville office this semester. She will spend the summer interning in the London office.
Prater, who has worked in Deloitte’s London office since 2004, is in charge of graduate recruiting for the U.S. Tax Services Group within the firm. She said they received more than 50 resumes and interviewed about 30 students interested in the program before making offers to Eftink and Blair.
Not only is this a paid internship for Eftink but Deloitte is also paying for airfare and housing. However, Eftink said she chose the location because of the learning opportunity.
“I decided to work abroad for the experience and the type of work,&sdquo; she said. “Here we deal with international tax, treaties with other countries and a lot of research. We do not do individual tax returns. Most of our clients are large partnerships and corporations. I am working on two private equity accounts and a real estate investment group that owns property in five different countries.&sdquo;
Prater assured Eftink that the internship would offer “a wealth of opportunities.&sdquo;
“Our main clients for the busy season are multimillion to billion dollar private equity funds and hedge funds that are investing in everything from real estate in Bulgaria to wind farms in Germany,&sdquo; she said. “Interns not only learn the tax laws in regard to these investments, but they also learn the economic aspects of how these investments work.&sdquo;
Summing up the multiple benefits for student interns, Wilder said, “They get to take a break from school, are well-paid, and they get experience that they could not get from being in school. It’s taking the foundation that they’ve gained here and applying it to the real world.&sdquo;
Then there’s the added advantage to an internship abroad. “To live and work in another country is a great learning opportunity that will put these students ahead,&sdquo; Prater said.
“I am really enjoying London,&sdquo; Eftink said. “I have visited a few places near my flat like China Town, Covent Garden and the large shopping area on Oxford and Regents streets. I have also been to the pubs and bars, watched rugby and ice skated. I am planning a lot of other things I would like to do.&sdquo;
As a note of encouragement for students uncertain about interning, Eftink said, “I think an internship is really important if you want to work in one of the large firms because it gives you the needed experience and training to be hired full time. I believe this internship will greatly further my career in accounting.&sdquo;
Eftink expects to complete her bachelor’s degree in accountancy this summer and to then attend graduate school at Ole Miss for a master’s in taxation.
Lori Simpson is a student intern in the Office of Media and Public Relations.