Closing a Chapter

As I write my final posting of the term, I cannot help but reflect back to the beginning.  Upon accepting the offer to intern at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) I immediately began second guessing my decision.  In theory it made no sense for me to accept the position.  By May 2010, my Master’s of Science in Accounting degree requirements were already fulfilled, I had accepted an offer to join Ernst & Young as an audit associate in October and I was in the midst of my CPA exam preparation.  Neither time nor necessity really encouraged me to pursue the internship.  However, I accepted the position because I viewed it as an investment that would yield dividends in both the short and long term.  Among other things, I viewed this potential experience as an opportunity to diversify my professional experience, widen my network and enable me to obtain additional audit-related work experience prior to starting my full time career.

Among my objectives prior to starting at the FDIC were autonomy and opportunity.  I wanted to earn my manager’s confidence that I was capable of exercising the necessary discretion to decide the proper follow up procedures for audit/review findings.  I was able to do this and so much more.

Perhaps the most unanticipated benefit I came across by interning at the FDIC was the insight I gained.  I learned a great deal about both the FDIC and the auditing practice in general.  For instance, I learned the FDIC does not actually use federal government accounting standards (FASAB).  Rather they use the same accounting rules that govern private industry (US GAAP).  Additionally, although the FDIC has a $4 Billion budget it could never be accused of squandering taxpayer dollars as it is funded through insurance premiums levied on banks, not appropriations granted from Congress.  Further, I also gained insight into what the origination looked like during the height of the financial crisis.  One word, hectic.  Additionally, I learned about conducting compliance audits.  I experienced and practiced how to interact with a less than pleasant client.  Further, I learned how to gauge what a client’s tolerance for auditor may be.  It does not matter how nice a person may be, everyone has a tolerance for dealing with auditors.

Overall this experience has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.  I have had the opportunity to diversify my professional experience by incorporating internal controls and compliance auditing into my skill set.  I have refined my perspective and outlook on the possibility of working for the Federal Government.  I have broadened my network with more working professionals whose experience I can leverage to aid my professional endeavors and I gained wonderful insight into the intricacies of interacting with clients.  Even though I did not need this experience, I’m glad that I pursued it and I know it will be a great asset as I start my full time position with Ernst & Young in several weeks.

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