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Q&A: What an accounting internship at Abdo is really like

April 3, 2024

We know what our internship program is like; we designed it as a way for young professionals to get real-world experience in our firm’s tax, audit, and government financial management departments. But we’re not the ones who participate in it. To get a clearer picture of the program, we sat down with two 2024 interns to get their takes on it.

Here’s what Hannah Anderson, a 2023 graduate of Bemidji State University, and TJ Buller-Russ, who will graduate from MSU Mankato in December 2024, had to say about being an intern at Abdo.

Responses edited for clarity.

How did you come to be an intern at Abdo?

Hannah: I was invited to do Abdo Accelerate in 2022 and had actually interviewed for an internship beforehand. After I graduated, I was excited to head back to Abdo for my internship.

TJ: I’m a nontraditional student who went back to school and honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to do an internship. (I was working full-time and going to school.) But my significant other’s best friend works at Abdo and had said great things about the firm, so I looked into the internship program. When I found out it was paid, I realized it could be an option for me.

What department or industry did you specialize in?

H: My extracurriculars in school were focused on nonprofit and government accounting, so I chose to work with Abdo’s government group.

T: I was on the tax side, so I was involved in 1040 individual returns and 1099 filings.

What surprised you most about your internship?

H: How fun an accounting firm can be! People seem to be of the opinion that accountants aren’t fun, and that working at an accounting firm means sitting in a cubicle. But we have a lot of fun and do a lot of joking when we’re not working.

T: I had never worked in an office setting, so I didn’t fully know what to expect. But at Abdo it was way more flexible than I thought it would be. I had the ability to work from home and the office. And if something came up with school, I could work around it and make up time at home if needed.

What was your favorite part about your internship?

H: I loved going out on fieldwork. I went to small towns all over Minnesota, where we’d meet with clients in person. I really enjoyed communicating with clients and asking questions.

T: It was cool to see how schooling relates to work. Before I did an internship, I wasn’t able to see how the whole picture tied together.

How did your expectations for the internship differ from reality?

H: That I was actually doing real work. I fully participated in projects, which meant I was going through work papers and doing analyses. And I was never asked to grab coffee for anyone!

T: Same. I was surprised at how hands-on the internship was and that I got to do actual work. I would draft returns and get pointers on how to fix them, which was really helpful.

How did the internship shape your plans for the future?

H: It’s given me a good idea of the type of environment I want to work in. Initially I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy government accounting and auditing, but having this experience has made me confident in choosing it as my path.

T: For me, the internship confirmed my interest in the tax side of things. I learned I really enjoy data input and figuring it out solutions. I also really appreciate the flexibility of tax work; I can work from home or anywhere during tax season.

What was the most valuable thing you learned in your internship?

H: That it’s OK to ask questions. All throughout school, I had the mindset that I’d figure things out for myself. But at Abdo, if you’re struggling with something, you can just ask someone for help. Everyone was so helpful, which made it easy for me to ask.

T: The value of teamwork. It’s a relief to know you don’t have to be an expert and, like Hannah said, be stuck figuring out answers for yourself. The culture at Abdo is such that everyone helps one another, which is awesome.

Interested in applying for an internship at Abdo or learning more about the program? Contact our team or fill out an application today.



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