As we continue to welcome and promote our summer 2021 interns, we wanted to showcase them in unique ways; one being through testimonials of their supervisors. Given this, we asked people in each department about the value of interns to GreenStone and how they are key to the success of the company.
To highlight the Accounting & Finance Department, we interviewed Mark Koester, the Director of Accounting & Finance, on how he provides interns with knowledge of the industry and prepares them for future careers.
Q: In what ways are interns valuable to your department?
A: This summer, the Accounting & Finance department has helped me welcome my first intern at GreenStone, Aidan Kowalski. Aidan’s role in our department is crucial this summer for our success, as we have one of our General Ledger Accountants out of the office. He is going to fulfill the majority of that accountants’ tasks, which is so beneficial to our team. Onboarding Aidan is going to help our department stay productive and on track throughout the summer.
Q: What are the daily tasks of interns in your department?
A: One task that Aidan works on daily is verifying wires. Every time a loan closes, we wire the money to the title company or a customer’s bank account. He verifies we are wiring the correct amount to the correct account. Another daily task that Aidan is working on is balancing GreenStone’s clearing accounts. This is not an easy task as hundreds of transactions go in and out of these accounts daily. It takes a lot of investigating to figure out why these accounts are out of balance, so it is crucial that he learns how to do this while he is here for the summer.
Q: What do you hope your intern learns about accounting after completing this internship?
A: I really hope Aidan understands that there are a lot of different roles within an accounting and finance department, plus so many other positions and opportunities you can take on with an accounting degree. I think that he will be able to get a feel for several positions within our department. Another aspect that is important for him to realize is that the sooner you know how you personally learn, the better. Everyone needs to become open to being a lifetime learner, and you need to be able to take new opportunities as they come along since they are constantly evolving.
Q: What are three things an accounting intern needs to be proficient in?
A: General accounting skills, customer service skills, and technical skills. Once you can think like an accountant, you will set yourself up for success. Learning the basics of accounting, like debits and credits is something that is needed. Developing customer service skills is also important because you are not only serving external customers, but also internal customers. The goal is to satisfy and serve all these customers well. On top of this, technical skills are very important. An example of this is knowing the basic Microsoft platforms, as they are used a lot in accounting. Having these skills coming into an internship will make it so much more meaningful, and you will be able to take in so much more knowledge at any given time.
Q: What project will an accounting intern work on that prepares them the best for their future career?
A: A project that Aidan is working on currently is daily balancing of our clearing accounts. This project is tedious and very challenging at times. Getting everything balanced to zero takes a lot of trial and error, but this task is going to allow him to learn from any mistakes he has made. Once he gets them balanced, it is a very rewarding feeling. Putting in all that work and finally getting the accounts to balance will allow him to feel successful in his position and give him more confidence for his future career.
Q: In what ways do you help your interns develop ‘soft skills’?
A: When most people think of accounting, they think of crunching numbers all day long, and this is not the case. At the end of the day, we are still serving customers. Developing good communication skills and relationships with those in your department and external customers is important. Having strong communication skills makes for a better experience not only for them, but for GreenStone as a whole. Aidan has a great attitude which becomes contagious to those in our department. Being positive, having a willingness to learn, and bringing energy into the room are key for developing these soft skills. Aidan also gets the chance to take the lead on several important tasks this summer. Since he is owning these, he will be developing both time management and critical thinking skills in a way that will help him throughout the summer and beyond.
The Accounting and Finance Department at GreenStone has one intern this summer, Aidan Kowalski.
“My internship at Greenstone has helped me develop multiple skills that I will utilize throughout my career, particularly in the essence of being able to complete projects by effectively managing my time,” states Aidan.
For more information about GreenStone’s internship program, visit: Internships (greenstonefcs.com).