An Interns Perspective
The media portrays internships a certain way. I can recall watching movies and television shows where interns would be sitting at their desks waiting for something to do or would be sent out to run errands for their superiors. The articles tell you to expect incredibly long hours and a lot of tension. There’s also the classic perception that all interns do is go get coffee for the office. Even though you’re given expectations when you sign on, I don’t believe anyone truly knows what to expect from an intern position (unless you’ve already interned before). I went into this internship with a lot of questions on what I should expect. Which was warranted, as most of these portrayals are vastly different from what actually occurs.
I accepted my internship with Copeland near the beginning of 2020. Although it was a while ago, I remember my interview was held entirely online. I can recall being incredibly nervous for my first interview over Zoom (primarily concerned about technical difficulties), but when the screen refreshed, one of the managers popped onto the screen using a virtual beach as a background. This first experience with Copeland told me everything I needed to know about the individuals that work here. Copeland has the most incredible team of people who always come together to get things done and aren’t afraid to have fun while they do it.
When most people think of taxes and an internship they don’t think of the word “fun.” Those ideas don’t coincide. However, Copeland has a very relaxed and fun environment, even throughout the most high-stress time of the year, busy season. I interned during the 2022 busy season, and I learned an astonishing amount during those five months. I might have even had some fun during it.
Busy season began at the Wayzata Sailing Center. As COVID continues to be relevant concern, the sailing center provided an opportunity for everyone to get together without cramming together. We spent about a week at the sailing center, covering all the training materials and getting everything set up. We began by working on “practice companies,” which are less intimidating than jumping directly into an actual return. You have to work up to that, and as you go through your internship you continue to work on more difficult things and increase your expertise. Copeland provides many opportunities for you to expand your range and try new things. People here work on things ranging from preparing a “simple” individual return, an estate or gift return, a “complex” business return, or even a return with over half of the fifty states included on it. Throughout your progression into more challenging returns, you have a lot of questions.
During the busiest time of the year, when working 55-hour (sometimes longer) weeks, you continue asking questions. In the early morning you ask, “Where’d you get that donut?” During the later nights, the music comes on you ask, “Why’d you choose country music? Can you put on something else?” And at weekly dinners you ask, “Do you want my chocolate chip cookie?” or “Is it PotAto or PotOto?” Of course, you’ll also ask the more typical questions. “Why are we doing it this way?” “How come you put that number over there?” “Can you show me that again please?”
One of the biggest takeaways from my months as an intern was to continue to ask questions and be curious. Never stop asking questions. There will always be things you don’t know, but there are so many incredibly knowledgeable resources at Copeland and they’re always willing to help you out. Now, as my internship has concluded and I continue work at Copeland, I come into work every day ready to keep asking questions.