Culture Corner: New minds, new perspectives (Joyce Lu)

Each month, we usually interview a Richter partner to gain insight into how our leadership finds balance and focus in a demanding job, and what non-technical skills contribute to career success.

However! For the summer, we’re switching it up a bit. For the next few months, we will be chatting with our summer interns, to learn more about their experience at Richter, and what working life is like at the very start of their young careers.

This month features Joyce Lu, an intern in Tax & Transfer Pricing. 

You’ve been at Richter for almost two months now, tell us about your experience working here; what have you worked on so far?

Joyce Lu (JL): Everyone at Richter has been trying to make my internship meaningful for me, just as I am trying to make it meaningful for my team and for Richter as a whole. I have been assigned projects that I will be working on throughout the summer, so I am being kept busy!

I have had the opportunity to work on a few client files for tax and transfer pricing and I am really enjoying the breadth of clients, both corporate and individuals. I have done some work not only with my team here in Toronto, but with managers from the Montreal office as well. I am very appreciative that all my superiors are keeping me in mind for work that I can assist on.

What were your expectations for this internship? Is it what you expected or has anything surprised you?

(JL): I have worked quite a few miscellaneous jobs prior, but nothing directly related to becoming a CPA – so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was surprised that the firm allotted an entire week of onboarding for all the interns. I had a really good time because we were all able to bond with each other and learn a lot about the firm.

Also, I get to work with the transfer pricing team! I am really enjoying it because I get to apply the concepts from my economics courses while being exposed to the service line as a whole.

The biggest thing that surprised me was the amount of interaction I have with the partners on a day-to-day basis. It is wonderful to be able to set-up a meeting, or even knock on an open door without hesitation to get some insight on whatever I am working on.

What’s been your favorite thing about working at the firm so far?

(JL): Undoubtedly my favourite thing about working at Richter is the talent in every meeting, presentation, and encounter I have. Every person I have had the pleasure of interacting with or listening to present has been very inspiring.  Be it deconstructing a tax topic or analyzing a client file, every comment made is full of substance.

My team has included me in weekly meetings where I get to listen, ask questions, and occasionally present in.  The culture at Richter really fosters what I would define as a mutually beneficial learning and teaching dynamic. It is really great to see the member of the team who was presenting at last week’s meeting, asking questions at this week’s meeting.

What do you hope to get out of the rest of the summer? (any soft skills you want to work on or technical skills you would like to develop?)

(JL): I hope to continue learning more about tax and transfer pricing, in addition to practicing presenting to professionals. I find the concepts and files very interesting and the more exposure I get to the variety of clients, the more I am inspired to continue pursuing my CPA.

I would like to firm up my skills in the tax form preparation software that is used here at Richter – there are tons of forms that I have not had the chance to interact with yet, but hopefully will! In terms of presenting to professionals; I find it much different than presenting to my classmates. I am becoming increasingly aware of my word choice, tone, and mannerisms. Hopefully I will be entirely confident in delivering a presentation by the end of the summer.

What advice would you give to younger students looking to land an internship at a firm like Richter?

(JL): In a time where most applicants have both strong academics and an abundance of extra-curricular involvement, setting yourself apart from the crowd is hard. We often hear that our network is our most powerful resource, and it’s true! Try to set yourself apart by getting your name out there.

I met Brian (who is now my manager!) at a networking event at my university (University of Waterloo). Brian is an alumni of Waterloo, so we had plenty to chat about. With Brian’s encouragement and his kindness in introducing me to other staff at Richter – I was able to land an interview and ultimately, the internship!

My story shows the power of networking, but also an often untapped support system – alumni. Go outside your comfort zone and reach out to alumni of your school. With great tools like LinkedIn, you can easily find alumni in the field you are looking to pursue and they are often more than willing to meet/chat with you, as they have been in your shoes.

About Richter Founded in Montreal in 1926, Richter is a licensed public accounting firm that provides assurance, tax and wealth management services, as well as financial advisory services in the areas of organizational restructuring and insolvency, business valuation, corporate finance, litigation support, and forensic accounting. Our commitment to excellence, our in-depth understanding of financial issues and our practical problem-solving methods have positioned us as one of the most important independent accounting, organizational advisory and consulting firms in the country. Richter has offices in both Toronto and Montreal. Follow us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.