Norma shares her impression of her internship now that it ended and her opinions of the auditing profession. Becky shares her life updates and her excitement for her upcoming job!
To CPA or NOT to CPA? Public vs Private?
What if you could run an experiment?
Take twins, with identical DNA, life experiences, education, GPAs, majors, internships, and careers as accountants. Then have twin A go private and have twin B become a CPA and go public.
Follow Becky Steiger and Norma Steiger on their separate journeys in the private and public accounting worlds! Together they will compare and contrast their experiences and goals in the accounting profession.
[00:13] Becky: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the Accounting Twins podcast. My name is Becky.
[00:17] Norma: And I'm Norma, and we're excited that you're able to join us again. I'm super excited. For this week's episode, we're going to be talking about the of my internship at seabiz end all be all of Becky's health issues and just the overall experience that I had during my internship. I'm really excited for you guys to hear it, and I hope if you're students that you're able to gain something from what we're talking about this episode.
[00:39] Becky: And if you're a doctor, I really hope you can confirm that this is the end of all of my health issues. So, Becky, do you want to start about your health issues? I finally got my gallbladder out. Did I say gallbladder? Wow. I finally got my gallbladder out. Imagine an organ the size of a pair being taken out of your belly button. It's been a week and a half, almost two weeks, and I'm still in pain. But I also norma, I think you can corroborate on this. I literally have the world's lowest pain tolerance to everything.
[01:13] Norma: Yes, it was very interesting taking care of her. I'm not going to lie. Oh, yeah.
[01:18] Becky: She was definitely like my little nurse. She would give me food and get me ice packs and just I should have had a bell and been like, ding, ding, ding. Norma, I need some help.
[01:27] Norma: My mom looked for one while you were asleep one day. Did she really? Yeah, because we were tired of you yelling our name.
[01:34] Becky: I was sleeping a lot, and I'm a stomach sleeper, and I couldn't sleep on my side or my stomach for, like, about a week. And it was the worst pain ever. My neck was in so much pain. We have this little reclining chair in our living room, and I literally slept on that for two nights because it was the only thing that would make me sleep comfortably.
[01:54] Norma: And then I would nap there during the day. Yeah, it was fun taking care of her. It was a little sad. I had to go move Becky into her apartment, and she couldn't carry anything, do anything. I quite literally, truly unpacked her. So that was the time. But it was also just super sad because we're no longer together. She's in Phoenix right now and I'm in Tucson.
[02:13] Becky: So sad.
[02:14] Becky: It's so sad. Okay. The funniest part, though, was when we were unpacking and like, okay. I literally couldn't even take my backpack. That's how little I was allowed to lift. And so normally had to take everything into my room. She was unpacking all my clothes, putting them away, and I was just sitting on my bed on my phone with an ice pack. And I go. Norma, is there anything I can do? And she goes, can you not talk to me for just five minutes? I'm not mad, but I just don't want to talk to you.
[02:38] Norma: Yeah, I was tired. I had done a lot of stuff for her that morning, so I just needed five minutes for myself. Ball is well now she's in Phoenix. She is starting her job.
[02:49] Becky: I just ended my internship.
[02:51] Norma: It was great.
[02:52] Becky: I know Norma sound like she really loved it. I'm happy for her.
[02:55] Norma: So when we ended the last episode, you guys hear me complain about my AirPods and how I lost them. Well, here's an update. I found them 2 hours after recording the last episode. I found them in my lunchbox. I don't know how.
[03:08] Becky: In your lunchbox?
[03:10] Norma: Yes, I know what the I know.
[03:13] Becky: All right.
[03:13] Norma: Yeah. But also another update. I had my exit interview and it went very well. I know how you all knew how I was getting. I guess I was just a little bit nervous about it. How it's not that I necessarily am not good with feedback. I just don't like receiving feedback because I do almost personally because I feel like I'm such a good person and I just hate receiving it. But I took it very well. Yes, there was some things that I needed to work on, such as taking it a little bit slower and working on everything. But I think it was a very good ex interview. I got some really good constructive criticism, some really good, like, I guess praise in a sense or how I did well with what I had. So I think it was just a very good interview. There's definitely some stuff that I need to work on. And honestly, everything that I thought that they were going to tell me I needed to fix, they told me. So it was really good because not also did it show that it is a problem. Also, I'm just self aware of what I need to do. So, like, going forward, if I think I'm not doing something well, I know to fix it myself.
[04:07] Becky: I agree feedback is a little hard for us, but we're such people. Pleasers. And we want to do such a good job internally that we will go back and we will fix every little mistake because we not only want our supervisors to be proud of us, but we want to be proud of ourselves, knowing that we can put out really good work. Yeah.
[04:25] Norma: So the type of feedback that I got that I honestly expected was just to slow down with my work. To be honest, I just wanted to finish my work faster. So it seems like I was doing my job efficiently and I made just the tiniest of mistakes, so I knew I need to slow down. That was exactly the feedback I got back. So it was good for me that I was self aware, but also that it was something other people noticed. So I'm going to be doing that going forward in my personal life and my professional life. And then I just received really great feedback. It just felt very good to know that my effort and my work ethic were being recognized by my in charge and other people that I worked with. So it was really good. And overall, from the internship, I would just say it was a great time. Becky can vouch how much I enjoyed it just by how much I spoke about it.
[05:12] Becky: She did. She talked about it a lot. Like I've said before, there were times we didn't talk much throughout the week because we were both so exhausted, but she always was FaceTiming me with a smile when she was talking about work, and I could tell from the way that she talked about her supervisors, they also loved her as well. So I'm not surprised that she loved it and they loved her.
[05:32] Norma: So I know I keep saying about that I loved my internship, but why I loved it specifically, yes, I loved the job itself and what I was doing, but a huge part of it was that I loved the people. There were some people that, like I said, I think it was an episode two. We went to a happy hour, and I was totally okay with hanging with them outside of work and wanting to get to know them, which was absolutely great, because not only did I enjoy them inside the office, but outside of the office. And any time I asked a question, I did not feel stupid. Like, I know interns are supposed to ask a lot of questions, but not feeling intimidated for asking them, at least for me, is a huge thing, because I know that even when I get into the workforce and I'm asking people questions, I shouldn't feel intimidated. And it was just honestly great to know that I could go up to my senior, to other people, to interns, to other associates I didn't even work with, and just know that I could ask them questions.
[06:29] Becky: Exactly. Norma and I ask a lot of questions, not because we're stupid, not because we don't know what we're doing, but because we want to know everything. Like, we want to know the background, the foreground, the middle picture. We want to know the artist and the paintbrush. We want to know everything.
[06:44] Norma: Yeah. And yes, I did love the people, but I loved the culture. But I also loved the work. Like I said, I believe it was episode two or three. You don't really necessarily learn too much in your first internship, at least in my opinion. That may be different because we had a virtual internship, but the learning curve is so steep. You're learning how to do stuff during your first internship, but you're not learning the significance. You're not necessarily retaining the information. But in this internship, I learned what I was doing, why I was doing it, why it was important. So I just learned a lot. I found the job to be very satisfying because, like I said in episode three, you're given the numbers, you're just having to reverify them. And in my opinion, it kind of had a sense of euphoria. Like, wow, I was able to do this by myself. Yes. Some of it was because I was able to do this by myself for the first time without asking my senior for help. I just found it very satisfying. But what I also enjoyed the most was that nothing was the same. It wasn't mundane, like, the same information or the same type of work over and over. Yes, it was the same type of reconciliations. Like, I did rebate testing and contribution testing multiple times, at least five or ten different times for different clients, but no client was ever the same. Yes, that was somewhat of a frustrating part, because having to go to these employee benefit plan websites and trying to figure out how to work them was somewhat frustrating. But I loved how nothing was ever the same, because personally, when I had my private internship, it was all mundane to me. So I just like how nothing was the same. But I know Becky might feel different because he's going to a private accounting position where some things might be the same over again. Would you agree?
[08:34] Becky: Yes, I have a feeling it might be that, but I'm good with that because I love Excelling. It, like, one thing, but also with the company I'm working for. It's exciting. It's a great company, and I don't think my work is going to be mundane. I think it's going to be fun, but I just think Norman, I have different likes and dislikes, even though we are practically carbon copies of each other.
[08:59] Norma: Because you don't have a gallbladder, and I do.
[09:01] Becky: I also have a nose ring.
[09:03] Norma: Okay. Yes.
[09:04] Becky: So I have an extra hole in my body and one less organ. So now we are not carbon copies.
[09:10] Norma: Yeah, that's it. Yeah. But honestly, I think for someone I used to like the repetitiveness, but if you're an accounting student right now, and sometimes you're in a class, like, doing your cost accounting or financial accounting, and every few hours starting, you're like, I kind of just want to switch to something else, perhaps look into public accounting because you're doing some of the same stuff. It has the basic underlying concept, but no engagement is ever the same. So I would just say consider that. I would too.
[09:43] Becky: There are definitely pros and cons to both public and private. Like, as much as we would love to admit it, no job is ever 100% perfect. But Norma and I have found our niches that we both like, within our own jobs. Granted, not working yet, haven't done anything private. Like I've said before, when I've had that quarter life crisis, I realized what I wanted to do normal, realized that public accounting was her calling. She wanted to get her CPA she wanted to go to get her masters. I, on the other hand, did not. That sounded like nails on a chalkboard to me. And I realized what I wanted to do and then I found a job that I think is going to be perfect for me.
[10:22] Norma: Yeah. One of the things that I think I'm going to enjoy most about public accounting that I didn't get to experience as much as this internship, just because interns could not speak or communicate with clients directly, is being able to communicate with clients. For example, we went to three different client visits for the interns throughout the internship, which I honestly really enjoys getting to see the relationship that the public accountants have with the clients and what they do. For example, I love the fact that you're able to have a personal relationship and get to know them, but also a professional relationship. Like, yes, I'm going to love seeing and talking to everyone in the office, but being able to go to clients and do work at their sites and being able to work there, I think it's just going to be very enjoyable. And like I said, it's not mundane. I'll be able to go to new clients every week. I just really think I'm going to enjoy that. And the client site visits that we did were so incredibly interesting because as a public accountant, as you know, you get to specialize in an industry. We went to three different industries, such as manufacturing, not for profits, and other ones. I just think it's going to be so enjoyable to work on different clients and being able to be exposed to so many different clients and one internship was amazing.
[11:42] Becky: I think to each their own in that sense, not in a bad way. You really love the fact that for public, you get to go travel to all these clients. But technically I'm the client and I believe in my company's mission and all that it stands for so much that I'm okay with not traveling, getting to see the auditor I'm working with, or other things like that, which I'll talk about later. But I think to each their own because you really want to go see all these clients. But I love my company as a client. Does that make any sense to you, Norma?
[12:17] Norma: You like being the people that the accounting firm comes to and I like being the accounting firm that comes to you.
[12:27] Becky: I think that's what I'm trying to say. I'm just trying to say, like, I don't mind that I'm not able to travel as much because I have a feeling I'm going to love what I'm doing and where I'm working. And granted, I know you love what you're doing where you're working, but again, no two people are the same. And even though I don't have a gallbladder, we're still the same person, but we're also not the same person.
[12:45] Norma: Yeah. And I honestly think that's one of the great things about this podcast is we are such identical people with accounting being one of the only varying things within our personalities. You're able to get almost not the same opinion, but very close values with different opinions on what to do so you're able to live almost vicariously, in a sense, before us. Most people are not going to tell you the nitty gritty details about everything. For example, if you go to a Meet the firm's event and you ask a recruiter or someone who's there, if you go to a Meet the firm's event and ask a recruiter or an employee about busy season, they're just going to tell you, oh, it's manageable. But for example, if I were working a busy season, I'd be recording an episode throughout the week and you would get to experience how my emotions are and my feelings are during that time. And I think that's a great thing for your listeners because you're going to get a 360 view of the ins and out of both of these professions.
[13:47] Becky: Exactly. And it's not because we don't like our job and we don't like what we're doing, but it's because there are highs and lows to everything. Like, nobody has ever had a 100% perfect life. I loved college. Was it always perfect? Absolutely not. So you'll be able to hear the real nitty gritty part of it. You'll get to hear it black and white. We're not going to give you the gray and make you make the decision on their own. We're going to tell you, what do we not like? What do we do like? And it's not anything against our job or company. It's literally just because if I had to do a busy season working 88 hours a week, I would cry. Just because I like my time to myself and I like sitting around and I like just relaxing at night. But nothing's ever perfect and we're not afraid to share that with you. And I'm not saying that 80 hours weeks are bad. I feel like you get to know your coworkers, you really get to bond, but also at the same time, it's like you've hit a breaking point. It's like you're running a marathon and you can see the end in sight, but it's so hard to breathe. Personally, I know that the 80 hours a week would be rough and I'd cry. But also at the end of the day, when I'd get it done, I'd get it done. There's nothing perfect about anything. There are going to be some sore spots in my job, too. There ain't no doubt about it.
[14:53] Norma: Yeah. And although I did mention maybe I couldn't do anything as not necessarily maintained, but as repetitive as maybe private accounting. To each their own. Everyone has different personalities and different work ethics. So honestly, what works for me and what doesn't work for me is the complete opposite of Becky. And that's totally fine. We're not trying to tell you should and should not do as a cones. We're honestly just giving you both sides to the story.
[15:19] Becky: Exactly. Think of it. Okay, this is probably a terrible example, but think of it like a surgeon. They could do general surgery. They could do neurology, they could do orthopedics Norman are just doing different types of surgery. Except I don't have to go to school for ten years for that. So that maybe is not the best example. But again, that just made me want to think of Grey's Anatomy. I love that show.
[15:41] Norma: I was thinking about Grace Anatomy the entire time when you were bringing up the different types of surgery, I was thinking about each different, like, doctor in Grey's Anatomy, what type of specialty they have.
[15:51] Becky: If there are any listeners who love Grey's Anatomy, please let me know, because I am excited for season 19. That season 18 left with quite the cliffhanger. Anyways, back to accounting, which is not surgery, because I am not going to med school. No two people are the same norm, and I chose accounting. Now we just chose subsets of accounting. I wanted to do economics first, and I realized absolutely not. So, like, whatever. No two people are the same. If everybody was the same, life would be so boring, because everybody would have the same exact job. Literally. How do we exist? Because we would need doctors. We would need accountants. Imagine a world. We were all the same person.
[16:30] Norma: As I'm wrapping up my time at CBA, and I'm about to start my graduate school, I want to give a quick shout out to everyone at CBA who helped me so much. Jeff and Olivia, I learned way too much from you. Like, you guys were amazing, and all the seniors and associates and even my interns. You really made this internship enjoyable, and I just can't thank you enough. And throughout this podcast, I know we're talking about what colleges might be able to improve upon to make students learn a lot more during their internship. I think one thing that colleges really need to ingrain into, whether it's discreetly or head on, is that you need to have a growth mindset. Yes, any profession, you need to have a growth mindset. But I think in public accounting specifically, you should, because it is such a learning. I remember sophomore year of high school, in our homeown classes, we were learning about the growth mindset. I really hated it then.
[17:27] Becky: I hated it too. I don't know why, and it's, like, something great to learn about, but I think the way it was approached was just poorly.
[17:36] Norma: Yeah, it was too forceful, and I think as a teenager, you don't want to be told what to do and not to do. I think colleges need to reinforce that growth mindset because there is such a huge learning curve to public accounting, where you perhaps will not learn if you don't have a growth mindset. Some of the feedback that I received that I think perhaps if you're a student listening to this, just keep this ingrained is people thought I had great enthusiasm and willingness to learn and had a questionable mindset to the point where it wasn't. I was questioning everything because I didn't believe it was true, but because I wanted to understand it better. Perhaps maybe you want to use that going forward. You'll be able to adjust to that huge learning curve much more easier when you go into the public world. So whether discreetly, inadvertently, however, if colleges cannot teach you all the things that are going to prepare you for the business world in corporate America, just teach you how to have a growth mindset, I think that's the most important thing.
[18:36] Becky: To be completely honest, a growth mindset can definitely help with a learning curve in the real world. So I wonder what will help with the Scoliosis curve in my back because physical therapy did nothing.
[18:49] Norma: One thing I want to talk about really quickly. I know this has nothing to do with it. I found so entertaining, a little offended at first. I found so entertaining was at the end of the internship, another intern said to me, norma, you do not seem like you're fun outside of work because you're such a serious person in work. At first, I was a little offended. I'm like, I'm a freaking ball and a half. How do I not seem fun? But then I realized it's not necessarily not fun and work. I just take my job so seriously because I wanted to do well to my managers, to my senior, and perform well. Trust me, I am great at work. I am very serious, but I'm also a lot of fun. I'm the best of both worlds. As Hannah Montana said, she's a work.
[19:32] Becky: Hard, play hard type of girl.
[19:34] Norma: When you get a mullet, it's like business in the front, party in the back. I feel like that's me. I'm very serious when it comes to work and school, but when it's outside, when I want to have my fun and hang out with my friends, I'll have my fun. So I just thought it was something so interesting because I remember texting Becky, and I was like, someone just said I don't seem fun. I was like, oh, okay. And then another intern at the beginning of the internship, they're like, Norma, I can't get a read on you because you seem so serious at work, but at lunch breaks, like you're bouncing off the walls. And I'm like, that describes me very well.
[20:12] Becky: That was so creepy. That was like.
[20:15] Becky: Well, thanks, guys, for listening to this episode. We'll see you next week. Yeah. Becky's going to be starting her job, and I can't wait to hear about it. So if you're tired of hearing me talk about public accounting, you're going to.
[20:31] Becky: Hear Becky, you're going to hear Becky.
[20:34] Norma: Talking about private accounting next.
[20:37] Becky: Don't forget to follow us on all of our social media platforms and like and subscribe. We want to hear your reviews. Give us that feedback so we can learn how to take feedback better. Because we are weird.
[20:51] Norma: Yes. All of our social media will be linked in below in the show notes. And I mentioned this in episode three, and I desperately need you all help. I just need to know how long it's going to take to study for my CPA exams. Most people say two to three months in advance, but is this studying four to 8 hours a day? Is it studying 8 hours a day? I'd love your opinion because I'm going to be a fulltime master student working ten to 15 hours a week. How long should I study for my exams and how far advanced should I register for them? That will be linked below. Please let me know. And if you really liked ASMR, let us know.
[21:27] Becky: We'll continue it again. Norman and Becky out.
[21:41] Norma: This has been a production of the Accounting Podcast Network.