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Real Business : Issue 1 2009
cpa australia’s internship program provides the platform for students to network and develop, so if you are given this highly sought-after opportunity, think big, put in the hard work and make the best of it! program part; auditors are needed to witness the procedure when all the coins are being taken out of the jackpots. What did you find most useful about the experience? shirley shuai shao ng, lee & associates – dfk What are you studying? I’m completing a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting and corporate finance) at the University of Adelaide, and will be graduating at the end of 2009. You were recently posted as an intern in Singapore. How long was the internship? Nine weeks of the summer break was spent with Ng, Lee & Associates – DFK, a long established mid-tier certified public accounting firm in Singapore. It provides assurance and business advisory, tax consulting, management consultancy, corporate secretarial services and financial planning. It is a member of DFK International, a worldwide group of independent accounting firms and business advisers. What tasks did you perform there? Much to my delight, I was posted to the audit and assurance division of the firm. I spent the first few weeks doing statutory audit and familiarising myself with the basic audit methods and principles. After that, I was involved with two onsite audits doing transaction testings, reasonableness testing for some of the balance sheet and profit and loss items. During January when annual stock takes took place, I experienced the “getting down and dirty” part of being an auditor by counting boxes in a steamy warehouse. Lottery machines taking is another fun REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 1, 2009 The on-the-job training and hands-on experience definitely opened my eyes. I think I will be able to approach my final year of university with a practical and solution-oriented mindset. Along with the adjustment to a new country and business environment comes the great benefits of a broadened horizon and gaining exposure to various business processes and approaches. Many of my colleagues and fellow interns have been true inspirations. I believe life’s great experience is about people, and this internship program put me into a sea of such talent. The time I spent working and interacting with them has been absolutely thrilling. What was most challenging? For me, it is definitely getting up at 7.00 am every day – besides that, the physical and mental transition to a full-time working adult, settling in a new environment and building my entire social network from scratch has been challenging and rewarding. Specifically, communication with clients is one area that I see myself improving in the future. It requires skills, talents and mutual respect. I admire my seniors for asking the right thing at the right time and in the right order when auditing at client’s base. In what industry or areas do you see yourself working after graduation? I would consider auditing as a good entry point for me. This internship allowed me to experience the stimulating and hectic life of an auditor. I was exposed to many internal control systems of different companies and interacted with clients in different fields, which was a profound and intensive learning process and, at the same time, a lot of fun. You are also deputy director of community service for the Golden Key International Honour Society at the University of Adelaide. What is your involvement? I organised the Daffodil Day fundraising and sold chocolates on campus to raise funds for Ian Thorpe’s Foundation for Youth. It is a terrific organisation to get involved with. What advice do you have for other CPA Australia Internship Program students? Be proactive. Sometimes the best assignments do not just come to you; you have to look for them and ask for involvement. There is a fine line between asking for too much and letting the firm know you have clear objectives set for yourself and have come to learn as much as you can. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot to learn from mundane tasks. From the photocopying, I learned never to leave files out of sight as they might be private and confidential and it is always better to be safe than sorry; from casting (simply summing the figures up) for more than 20 audit reports, I mastered the “art” of blind-using calculators, and it significantly boosted my efficiency. Even getting lunch orders and coffee for colleagues opens doors – next time they have something interesting to delegate, the intern who could remember everyone’s preference and always deliver on time would be top of the list. CPA Australia’s Internship Program provides the platform for students to network and develop, so if you are given this highly sought-after opportunity, think big, put in the hard work and make the best of it! l 7
Issue 2 2009
Issue 3 2008