Excerpt from Student Interview Findings
(reprinted with permission)
Interviewee: XXX, Senior Accountant, Audit Services
Contact Information: Deloitte & Touche LLP, 1000 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2472.
Phone __________ E-mail ___________
Date/ Location: DD/MM/YY/ Los Angeles (D & T office)
Duration of Interview: About one hour
- What types of writing do you do as a Senior Accountant?
We generally use preformatted correspondence for writing addressed to clients. The use of computers has made this very efficient. Many types of writing, such as reports and engagement letters, are preformatted due to content guidelines from AICPA as well as firm standards.
For client correspondence that is not preformatted, we have a little more creative freedom, but the manager or partner in charge will review the letter before it is sent. They will let you know if they want you to make changes. I have had a partner review a letter and say “We should change the tone here.”
I also use a lot of E-mail both within the office and to clients. A lot of clients prefer this. This is only for less formal correspondence, such as a request for information on a certain area. E-mail is great for Technical Bulletins or things that need to get to everyone in the office, because you can send it to everyone with one button. No phone tag.
- Do you give oral presentations?
I do not do very much formal oral presentation. I do a great deal of informal oral presentation to my audit teams. As a senior, I am responsible for coordinating and budgeting the audit. I do a lot of planning for the report. I assign tasks to the first and second year staff. This is mostly in a small group or one on one.
The most important skill for new staff is interpersonal skills. We try to read clients’ reactions and tailor our communication to their tastes. We try to tell if they are the “Chit Chat” type or the “no- nonsense” type. If they like to chat we do not want to offend them by rushing in and out. A no-nonsense executive might find chit chat annoying. We try to fit the clients’ needs.
Technical skills are very important. We maintain a high standard but the applicant pool is full of students with the necessary grades; when we recruit, we look for communication skills as well.
- Does Deloitte & Touche have any formal training programs for communication?
We have extensive training in Technical, Written, Computer, and Communication skills. I am doing an evaluation of a first-year staff member’s Verbal Skills this week. It is my job to offer her constructive criticism. What she does well, where she could improve, how to work on it, and whether she is meeting her goals.
® How often do you work in teams?
I would say 95 percent of my work is with a team. Once in a while there is an engagement that is just a review of a company. One person may be sent out for something like this.
- How is technology affecting communication within the profession?
We have just made a large switch in our technology base. Everyone in the audit department has an IBM Thinkpad. We have changed over to a new software that uses Excel and Word on Windows 95. It is called Audit System 2. It lets us link all kinds of documents, both text and spreadsheet. It can check the numbers in the text portion against the spreadsheet. It has an Index that is like a file manager for each client. My E-mail is linked so that I can send it the office. No more printing. This is new technology and I’m sure others will pick up on it; but for now we have an advantage.
- As a Senior Accountant, what skills are you concentrating on developing?
I am concentrating on my interpersonal skills, time and resource management as well as organizational skills.
[Student inserted visual aid here]
I really enjoyed speaking with XXXX. We spoke for about an hour, and she offered to review and critique my resume before internship interviews. I will definitely take her up on this! She also gave me some good advise [sic] on buying my first suit.
XXXX agreed to send me some sample documents over the weekend; I will include them in my report.
NOTE: Include an “ah ha!” moment here. That is, tell me:
- what you learned that you didn’t know before
- a point that had an impact on your thinking about the career field/company, and/or
- how the informational interview affected you academically or professionally