We recently sat down with interns Mathangi Sathianathan and Cassandra Chen to learn about their internship experience at Sloan Group and can easily see why these two women were chosen from among the numerous job applicants. Our top-notch interns tell us about their experience, their favorite thing about their chosen profession and what they hope the future holds.
What University do you attend and when will you graduate?
Mathangi: I attend the University of Waterloo and will graduate in December 2016.
Cassandra: I attended the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. I just graduated on June 6. It feels good to be free!
Is this your first internship? Why did you choose Sloan Partners?
Mathangi: This is my third internship. My first two internships were government-focused, and I wanted to work at an accounting firm so I could apply what I learned in school to real-life situations. At Sloan, there are partners with different experiences and focus, and I thought it would be a great place to learn.
Cassandra: This is my first internship, and I chose Sloan because I thought it would be a good opportunity to jump into CPA work. I wasn’t actually on a path to be a CPA until recently. I had a double major in economics and statistics, and along the way I realized I wanted to be a CPA.
Overall, what has your experience with Sloan Partners been like?
Mathangi: Being able to apply what I’ve learned over the past four years has really been great. Since Sloan is a medium-sized firm, I got many opportunities to work with partners and managers a lot more than I would be able to at a larger firm and that has allowed for a wide range of experiences.
Cassandra: It’s been an interesting one and a great one. I was able to apply some of what I learned in school, but a lot of it was new to me, especially the tax portion. I learned a lot from everyone around me. This experience has built a lot more confidence in my work and my personality.
Tell us one thing you learned through your internship.
Mathangi: No matter what kind of job you do, I think employees are what make coming to work every day more enjoyable. The supportiveness that everyone shows here and the motivation that they give you to continue and aspire to be the best you can be makes the job more desirable.
Cassandra: I find it interesting working with clients because every individual and situation differs from one to another. One of the managers here has me working with non-residents, so I have been doing some U.S. tax accounting which is very intriguing to me.
What is your main accounting focus at Sloan?
Mathangi: My focus has been with tax work, which is the area I am most interested in. Tax work is engaging although it may seem repetitive to many. If I were to complete a tax return, and a manager or partner did the same return, they could do it completely different with the same amount of information. No matter what you do, every day is different.
Cassandra: During my time at Sloan, I have been working on personal and small corporate taxes. Although they both have perks and are complex, I enjoy learning from my mistakes and having assistance from colleagues. I had many interactions with clients when doing personal taxes.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Mathangi: I would say the most rewarding part of this job is helping the small business clients. They come to the firm with a dream to start their own business, and we get to help them with that. We assist them with the accounting and tax portions. The fact that we can help them make their dreams come true is rewarding. They get to do what they love to do, and we get to do what we love to do, so it becomes a win all the way around.
Cassandra: I think the most rewarding part of this job is how accomplished I feel after completing business with a client. You are able to make the client feel confident in the work you do and they are pleased when they see the results of your efforts.
And now a few personal questions. What made you decide to become an accounting/tax professional?
Mathangi: When I was in high school, a CA attended one of my classes and described the experience of being an account as “magical.” After his presentation, I knew accounting was something I would enjoy pursuing, so I enrolled myself in a few courses the following year. To many, accounting may seem tedious and repetitive, but that is far from what it actually is. When working with a business, you get to know the ins and outs of their business — human resources, purchasing, sales, etc. — so you get a wide range of experiences. That kind of work ties my organizational and analytical skills with helping people in general, which I always enjoy.
Cassandra: Many of my family members work in this field. My Mom and my Dad work as an accountant/bookkeeper and a controller. Since most of my cousins are accomplished Chartered Accountants, they would share a lot of stories with me. Upon hearing these stories, they became my inspirations. After graduating, I had to make a choice between CPA and Actuarial Studies. I feel like I made the right choice. Since I am able to adapt easily to different circumstances, it made the transition simpler.
What is your favorite thing about your profession?
Mathangi: I would say my favorite thing is the wide range of clients we get to work with – especially during tax season which often results in working directly with the individuals. Many of your clients will not be in the accounting profession which allows us the opportunity to continue learning while completing their taxes. Working with individuals and entrepreneurs will definitely keep you on your toes!
Cassandra: The most satisfying feeling for me is when something balances and you have some sort of real number in the end. That would be the main difference between accounting and actuarial science. Accounting gives me more confidence in my work because you are dealing with real numbers. Actuarial work is more than just numbers; there is always a meaning and interpretation behind predicted values. And that is what makes it so much harder.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests outside of the office that you’d like to share?
Mathangi: I enjoy working out and reading. I also enjoy volunteering with kids. To see them running around, so happy, and not have a care in the world, it reminds you of the simple pleasure in life. Their innocence always puts a smile on my face!
Cassandra: I really enjoy playing the piano. I started around the age of four. I also spend quality time with friends and family. Every now and then I practice Kung Fu. It makes me feel driven and empowered as a young lady. Kung Fu is used for self- defense, and redirecting another person’s energy elsewhere. As opposed to other martial arts that are a lot more offensive.
What are your long-term plans after graduation from university?
Mathangi: Upon graduating from university, I plan to obtain my master’s degree of accounting – a continuation of my current program. Also, I plan to get my CPA designation. When I enter the workforce, I would like to find a job with a firm rather than in government work. With government work you often work on one project for longer periods of time which may stunt my growth in learning. On the other hand, working at a firm, things are constantly changing. As such, you never know what your day is going to be like!
Cassandra: I am open to working in either a firm or doing government work. With the economy not doing so well, I would be happy just finding a steady job in my field!