Accounting from a Different Perspective

Considering that I’m not a business major and have only taken one accounting class in my entire life, I felt a little incompetent walking into the office on the first day of my internship. How could I, a Data Science student at Penn State, be useful to an accounting firm? 

My internship is quite unique as it is split up into three different departments over the course of ten weeks. I spent my first three week interval working in the Audit department on their Automating Data Analytics Process Team (ADAPT), where I had the opportunity to leverage my programming and data manipulation skills on various small projects.  I spent the majority of this time writing scripts to automate certain repetitive tasks, such as organizing data and manipulating spreadsheets.  While I was given the opportunity to tackle these projects individually, I had two great mentors who guided me through the process and were always available to answer any questions.  I wrote the first script in my preferred language, Python, while writing subsequent scripts using an unfamiliar language that was based off of Visual Basic.  Utilizing both of these languages was the perfect balance between applying what I’ve learned in college with learning something new.

In addition to writing these scripts, I also attended various internal meetings and participated in company trainings and events.  While I thoroughly enjoyed working on the scripts, it was always nice to get a change of scenery and get the opportunity to learn more about the company.  The meetings gave me a chance to learn about the various departments at Schneider Downs and how each individual group fits in the firm.  These meetings and trainings were fulfilling as they showed me how to enhance my skillsets through the use of different software and technology.

My overall experience with the Audit department and Schneider Downs was very positive, as I felt like I made a meaningful impact when I completed projects.  I have always had a passion for problem solving and automating tasks, and this is exactly what I had the opportunity to do with the ADAPT team.

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