Accounting Career Journey: From Externship to Associate

By Keiter CPAs

Accounting Career Journey: From Externship to Associate

Overton Ragland’s Journey at Keiter

I went from an externship at Keiter to a full-time associate. Let me take you on my journey. I encountered Keiter after finding out that I was not going to be able to major in accounting during undergrad. I was in my second year at UVA at the time and was fortunate to get selected for the externship during the summer of 2018.

My Accounting Internship & Externship Experience

During the Keiter externship, I got to meet people at the Firm and explore the Richmond, Virginia area. In fact, a fellow extern is now a good friend that decided to start their career at Keiter as well. On top of that, I instantly knew I loved the culture as the interviewers displayed their understanding and empathy for ensuring I made a decision about my career path that was best for me. Thus, I accepted the internship offer once I received one.

My first internship occurred the summer of 2019. During the internship, I got to experience three weeks of working with the audit team and three weeks of working with the tax team. This experience helped me to narrow down the practice area in which I wanted to begin my career. Throughout the internship, Keiter provided multiple opportunities for networking within the Firm where I got to meet most of those in senior manager or partner positions. The most surprising aspect of the internship was that the partners were willing to sit down with me  and explain the type of testing I was working on and the why. I received feedback throughout the completion of projects which I have carried with me all the way into my first year of auditing. The overall experience gave me valuable insight into what a career in public accounting entails and showed me I wanted to work at Keiter if the opportunity arose. I fortunately received a full-time offer shortly after my exit interview.

The second internship occurred during the summer of 2020, otherwise known as the COVID summer. While I knew of others getting their internships cancelled, Keiter was committed to those that were considering working for them and ensured we could work virtually. This was a difficult time, but the internship taught me Keiter cares about all of the team instead of just seeing us as a number. Keiter again held virtual activities throughout the summer of 2020 to give us opportunities to network in the Firm and learn about the evolution of public accounting after the start of the pandemic. Also, Keiter provided multiple opportunities to connect as an internship class through scavenger hunts. This led to me become best friends with some of the other interns that I connected with virtually. The internship was a great stepping stone and another opportunity to receive constructive feedback that I have used during my first year as an associate.

Beginning my Career as an Audit Associate

Finally, I started my career at Keiter as a Business Assurance and Advisory Services (BAAS) associate in August 2021. The associates had to come in earlier than expected given the current climate of public accounting, so I was able to study for the CPA exam alongside working on audits. Not only was that a perk, but the partners and senior managers all have an open-door policy, which is one of the best perks. They allow me to work through workpapers to get an understanding of what I am working on but I am able to go talk to them to learn the “why”.  The collaborative environment has helped me gain comfort about the testing I am completing. Additionally, there are multiple firm events in a given month such as board game night or happy hours within the Firm to continue to bond and build the relationships/comradery. The feeling of family is evident within the culture and everyone wants to see one another succeed in providing the best quality client service possible.

My journey has been nothing short of exciting and I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about business during my career at Keiter knowing that I have the support of everyone at the Firm. Keiter is unique in that the team feels like a supportive family. You can create your own path for career progression while making a positive impact internally and externally for clients and the community. I have loved my time at Keiter so far and would love to discuss my experience further if you are interested in learning more. Please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or email at oragland@keitercpa.com.

Learn More About Keiter’s Externships and Internships: https://keitercpa.com/externship-summer-2022/

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About the Author


Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

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The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.

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