Culture Corner: New minds, new perspectives (Tristen Tamblyn)

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 weeks, 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 edition features Tristen Tamblyn, an intern in the Audit division.

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

Tristen Tamblyn (TT): It’s been amazing so far. I was definitely nervous on my first day because it’s my first job that actually relates to what I’m studying at Rotman, but my nerves were completely gone after a few short hours in the office. The team is incredibly welcoming and helped me settle in so quickly. I felt I was already part of the team by the end of my first day.

I worked on a lot of different things starting with the software and Caseware basics, really just running through the motions. But since then I’ve worked on audits and Notice-to-Readers for a variety of clients such as retail companies and investment firms. I actually had the opportunity to attend to a client’s inventory count in my third week, which was such a cool experience, one that’s been described to me in class but the description definitely didn’t do it justice. I also got to work at a client’s location for a week while performing an audit, which gave me the opportunity to interact with client which I wasn’t expecting. All in all, it’s been absolutely incredible.

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

TT: Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was definitely unsure of how involved I would be in any actual audit work given that I’m still a student and this is my first accounting job. I was expecting that I would learn mostly by shadowing or observing and spend most of my time doing so. That being said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of involvement I’ve had in client files and the hands-on training I’ve received so far. Not only I do feel that my audit skills have improved but I’ve been able to practice my basic accounting skills as well, in a way that isn’t available in classes and lectures at school. I definitely didn’t expect the opportunity to interact with clients and work in client offices would arise so frequently – but this is something that has helped me grow tremendously as a professional.

“Something that I noticed immediately at Richter is the collaboration between the various divisions.”

What skills do you wish 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?)

TT: In the next couple of months, I’m looking to not only further develop my audit skills but also learn more about the corporate tax procedures and preparing the various tax slips and schedules. Something that I noticed immediately at Richter is the collaboration between the various divisions, and I think that developing skills from divisions outside of Audit would be of great value to me as a student as well as a professional.

A soft skill I hope to improve over the summer is managing client relationships and communications, since that’s not something you can learn from reading a textbook. I’ve already been provided with so many opportunities to interact with clients and I look forward to those that will follow.

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

TT: My favourite thing about working at the firm so far is without a doubt my coworkers. No matter if it’s a junior, a senior manager, or even a partner, I always feel comfortable talking to them or asking for help. This adds so much value to my summer internship experience because not only do I enjoy the work I’ve been doing, but I also look forward to coming to the office every day and working alongside such intelligent and genuinely out-going people. I also really appreciate the fact that I’ve been given such a broad range of tasks and responsibilities at the firm. It makes me feel that I’m truly adding value to the team while simultaneously broadening my knowledge of accounting.

“It makes me feel that I’m truly adding value to the team.”

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

TT: I would tell younger students not to be afraid to put themselves out there by doing things like networking and applying for jobs – even if they are not 100% confident in their abilities or their chances. I know from experience that many students are afraid to apply for internships out of fear that they don’t yet have the skills they need to be successful. In the end, a lot of the skills that make you an exceptional employee and an asset to any team can’t be learned in classes, but rather from hands-on experiences you’ll get from jobs like your very first internship.

Also, many young students believe that networking is not as valuable as everyone says it is. In reality, it’s not only the connections you make by networking that opens doors for you, but also all the soft skills like communication and building your personal brand that are really important when it’s all said and done.