When I first started applying to co-op positions, I did not know what I would find and where I would end up. I also did not know which area of business I wanted to concentrate in and I hoped to have a clearer sense of what I wanted to specialize in after doing a co-op. Since I did not have much professional experience working in an office setting, I also knew that whatever position I ended up getting would be a completely new experience for me.
When I found out that I had received an offer from Thomas Chimick Ltd, I was nervous about what to expect as I had no actual knowledge of accounting outside of a school setting. I haven’t taken any upper division accounting courses, nor have I ever used an accounting software such as Quickbooks or Taxcycle, thus going into my co-op with limited knowledge about accounting. I did not know what was expected of me, so I was also a bit unsure of what I was getting myself into.
As I started my first week on the job, I found it difficult adjusting to the workplace as I wasn’t used to the way the company organized their files digitally and offline or anything about the communication process of the company. My limited knowledge in accounting and the accounting software also made it harder for me to understand the rationale behind each step needed to complete a task, thus requiring more time for me to get the hang of things. Learning new tasks was also challenging as everything I was tasked to do was relatively new to me.
As the accounting firm I am working for is a small-scale firm, there was not much training provided and I was immediately plunged into working on real files that would have real-life implications. As a result, I ended up needing to redo some of my tasks multiple times due to lack of knowledge about the accounting software and organizational processes. This was frustrating as I was under the impression that I had double-checked my work. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the fact that no matter how frustrated my supervisor was at times, he always gave me multiple second chances instead of just giving up on me.
Looking back on the semester, I have to say that I am grateful for the opportunities that my supervisor has given me. I cannot say whether or not my future will be in the accounting industry, but one thing I have learned through this co-op experience is that encouragement in the workplace can really build a person’s self-esteem and help them develop strong relationships in the workplace.