Sara joined the RBF team as an intern in early May 2023, working both with the Accounting & Audit and Tax departments. Raised in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, she is a rising sophomore at Lebanon Valley College (LVC) where she is majoring in Accounting. Sara’s internship ended in early August when she left the firm to play with the LVC field hockey team in Spain prior to the start of the academic year.
We talked to Sara about what inspired her to pursue accounting, what a typical day as an intern looks like, and what drew her to working at RBF.
What inspired you to study accounting?
I’ve always loved numbers and math. I took AP Statistics in high school and fell in love with crunching numbers. I also did a science fair project about baseball statistics in high school and really loved it. I fell into the business side after taking business electives in high school. My guidance counselor encouraged me to take an accounting elective, and that made me realize that accounting was something I might want to do.
I really enjoy it because some aspects of it are simple, and some are hard – it’s like a puzzle.
What does your role as an intern at RBF entail?
One of the best parts of my internship with RBF is getting to see the concepts I’ve learned in my accounting classes in action. I’ve had the chance to go where the work is, learning from both the tax and audit teams. It’s been really fun to get to do something different every day.
I’ve been able to work on different types of tax returns, which was eye-opening because I haven’t taken a tax class yet.
On the audit side, I’ve done field work and audit preparation. I’ve also been able to shadow people in the office. Everyone at RBF is so nice and willing to help.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
On a typical day, I get to the office around 9am. I check email and see if there are any tasks in my inbox. Once everyone gets to the office, I check in with Matt, Sean, or Jessica, and get tasks for the day. It might be field work or preparing a tax return. After lunch, I finish any tasks that need completing.
What are some of the most challenging things you deal with in your role?
The most challenging thing for me was working with clients, especially new clients. There is historical data on most of the firm’s audit and tax clients, like past years’ returns or past audit reports, and without that information, it was challenging to compile new information.
What is your favorite part of your internship?
Getting to work on something new every day. There are different tasks that challenge me. It’s awesome that I have this opportunity. During my first year, I started to doubt if accounting was something I wanted to do because my course load was much harder than my friends. This internship has made me solidify my choice that accounting should be my major, and I’m excited to have a cool career in the future.
What drew you to RBF as a place to intern?
I first heard about RBF at an accounting job fair at LVC, where I met Sean and Jacob. Talking to them made me feel like they’d be willing to work with me and help me figure out what I’d want to learn. I like that it’s a smaller firm because when my professors talk about the Big 4, it would intimidate me. I was also really interested in the work they do with non-profit organizations.
RBF has helped me figure out what I wanted to learn. They’ve also been flexible with my schedule because I live an hour away, and they were open to me doing a summer internship when they were initially looking for spring interns. Plus, everyone here is really nice.
What advice would you give to students looking to intern with an accounting firm?
If you were hesitant about pursuing accounting, try to get an internship for the summer. Even if it’s not an internship, even if it’s just shadowing – building your connections with accounting firms is a wonderful opportunity.
If your school offers accounting fairs, those are great. They will open your eyes to local firms that might be hiring.
Also, have a lot of confidence when going into your major and your internship. I struggled with confidence in my first year of school, but my internship showed me I know what I’m doing! You know more than you think. You can do it!