For three Zinnner & Co. interns, their internships were ones they will likely never forget, as they had to overcome a challenging tax season.
When their internships began, Allen Li (Case Western Reserve University), Kyoko Tosi (Kent State University) and Brett Carney (CWRU) likely thought they were in for a normal tax season.
“We learned how to prepare individual tax returns and to issue the 1099 tax forms,” said Tosi. “We were provided with weeks of training, practice period and real work with senior's reviews.”
The work kept them busy as they began an in-depth journey into the world of accounting.
“One thing I enjoyed most was how busy I was during the internship,” said Li. “There are always clients to work on during a busy tax season.”
“I am really impressed by how well everybody gets along at Zinner, and because of this, I always felt encouraged to ask questions or seek help from the staff and even the partners,” Li added.
As February rolled into March, the interns were beginning to get comfortable with their positions and hard at work helping prepare income tax returns for individuals and trusted clients.
Then in the middle of March, COVID-19 hit Ohio.
On March 23, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a “Stay at Home” order to protect Ohioans from the coronavirus pandemic, which forced Zinner & Co. employees to work on tax returns and other financial issues from their homes.
This left the interns wondering if their internships were about to be cut short, as some accounting firms were abruptly ending internships.
Fortunately, Zinner & Co. was prepared for this type of decision and has invested in technology and equipment to allow their employees to work from home.
Just like their classmates, who were being educated online instead of in-person, the Zinner & Co. interns were expected to work remotely.
The interns were provided laptops with their accounting software, so they could work from home.
“I was so thankful that the partners allowed us to do that,” said Tosi. “This way, we were able to complete the internship program under this crazy situation. My adviser at school mentioned some of the interns at other firms had to terminate their internship early due to the “Stay at Home” order. I was very fortunate to be with Zinner.”
She missed seeing everybody with whom she worked, but the transition was smoother than she expected.
“When I had some questions, everybody was easily accessible by phone, text and emails,” she added.
While Tosi and Carney went back to their homes, Li was forced to shelter in place at the graduate student’s apartment building at Case Western Reserve.
The work gave him something to do while he was alone in the apartment and there were few people living in the entire building.
Despite the challenges, the interns learned a lot about the industry and were able to take away a lot of positives from their time working at Zinner & Co.
“I enjoyed overall real-world experience at a public accounting firm,” said Tosi. “It was a completely different experience from studying accounting at school. I also enjoyed meeting the partners, professionals and other interns, and hearing their experiences and stories.”
“I cannot begin to thank each and every person I worked with and built relationships with over the duration of my internship,” said Carney. “The knowledge, skills, and relationships built will be carried forward with me for the rest of my professional career.”