When I first set foot in the Singapore offices of the accounting firm BDO, I felt like a kitten among wolves – lost and completely out of place.
At the start of my internship – part of City University’s Singapore internship programme – I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to be an accountant. This changed over the course of the five months I worked as an auditor at BDO. Auditors are “outsiders” who check the work of accountants at different companies.
I’ll always remember how my mentor would patiently explain each task. Working at BDO was a real eye-opener: I got to know more about the accounting industry, and how it functions. It was like seeing all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle finally fall into place – everything made sense in a way it never did before. That was when I realised how much I loved accounting.
At the start of my internship, I did a lot of minor, repetitive tasks. I knew this was because the people I was working for weren’t sure what I could bring to the table. So I did my best and strived to improve myself.
I would listen to senior staff members speaking to their colleagues and clients, and then I’d ask them questions, showing them I was eager to learn more about the trade.
As time went on, I was given more important tasks, which spurred me to work even harder. I never thought I’d be the sort of person who would volunteer to stay in the office until 1am – but that’s exactly what I did during my internship. I liked my job and my colleagues so much that the amount of time I took to complete my tasks didn’t matter.
I had plenty of setbacks during my time in Singapore. In my first engagement with a client, they didn’t send me the documents I needed, nor did they explain to me any of the figures they provided. I was too new and inexperienced for them to trust me. I didn’t let this stop me though, and continued to develop my interpersonal and other skills. As a result, I was so confident in my last engagement that my client thought I was a senior auditor.
University is a time for students to branch out and experience different things. I did just that, and found out that something I thought I had no interest in, is actually fascinating.
I’m glad I did an internship abroad – if I didn’t, then I might never have discovered how much I love auditing.