Monday, May 30, 2016
Internship Final Report
Table of Contents
Ch. 1 Management, Planning, & Control 4
Ch. 2 Organizational Processes & Procedures 6
Ch. 3 Appropriate Means for Ethical Decisions 8
Ch. 4 Organizational Performance 10
Ch. 5 Value Creation in a Global Context 12
Ch. 6 Career Skills 14
The University Finance internship has been an incredible learning experience. The internship uses experiential learning as a base for the academic work. Kolb (1984) described the cycle of experiential learning. After completing a task time is taken to reflect and document what has been done. Theories are used for comparison to allow for evaluation. The career skills and professional competencies needed for a career in accounting will be evaluated.
The goal of a business is for sustained profitability. Customers, competitors, and company should be the focus of the company’s future plans (Elkin, 2007). The way the company manages information, plans, and controls will affect the focus on the customers, competitors, and company.
Plans are forecasted desired outcomes. Nolan, Goodstein, and Goodstein (2008) describe strategic planning as the ability of a company to plan for an uncertain future by preparing for multiple future possibilities. The vision for University Finance’s future is to work with non-profits to help with their accounting needs. The Finance department isn’t prepared to meet the vision for the future because the planning process wasn’t completed. The vision was set in place but a formal plan isn’t in place for the organization to move forward toward the vision. The lack of planning has the organization stuck focusing all of its attention on the company and none on the customers and competitors. The organization will not reach its vision until it puts multiple plans in place to account for an uncertain future.
University Finance has serious concerns with control. For proper control consistency is necessary. In the internship promotions are occurring every month. Management is constantly changing. The business environment can’t have the control necessary for sustained success with the constant movement of interns. Each new manager and intern will have different approaches, priorities, and means for completing tasks and documentation. The precision of execution and small details will be lost as interns move in and out of positions. Organizational control will decrease until each intern becomes accustomed to the proper techniques necessary for the positon. Loss of control means a loss of focus within the organization. A solution for this concern is to lengthen the time spent in the internship. Communication is important as interns need to reach out others if they are uncertain about what to do and good leaders will reach out to interns to effectively communicate what needs to be done.
Information management plays a role in the business environment. Information should be organized, easily located, and consistent. The ability of Finance interns to access accurate, up-to-date information in a timely manner will improve decision making. Currently all the information for the University Finance is stored in Google Drive. Google Drive has files which are outdated, inconsistent, and difficult to locate. As research of files is often done in Google Drive one may encounter a several similar files with slight differences. Poor information management leads to decisions based on outdated or missing data and wasted research time. An information filing system designed for University Finance would improve the management of information.
The focus of University Finance should be on meeting the customer’s needs, keeping the competitive edge over competitors, and improving the company. The company is slowly moving toward its vision of the future. The inefficiencies of the organization’s information management, planning, and control are detrimental to the organization focusing on the customer’s needs and beating competitors.
Organizations have procedures in place for completing tasks and processes in place to achieve business objectives. Having processes and procedures in place allows the business to have a uniform application of procedures and processes across the globe. A customer can have the same experience with the organization no matter which branch or office they go to.
Each week interns are continually learning how to use the processes and procedures in place. Not everything learned by interns are documented and presented to the new intern replacing the current one. Robertson, Daniel, and Beruvides (2015) believe maintaining the knowledge gained by the current intern and having the knowledge accessible to the next intern is critical to being successful. Mistakes are often made by new interns and without having the knowledge passed down the next intern will make the same mistake. The documentation needs to be easily understood. The current documentation for University Finance procedures and processes is often generic and doesn’t provide the detail necessary. The documentation could be a how to guide, notes, or information about the process or procedure. Without accessible documentation of processes and procedures the constant in and out flow of interns will negatively affect the performance of the organization. A solution to this problem is for interns to continue the process of documenting what needs to be done.
One procedure that has been effective is the time necessary for the internship. Interns must complete ten of hours of work for the internship each week. The ten hours is normally more than enough time to complete all the required tasks, attend meetings, check e-mail, and complete other unproductive tasks. Interns can use the remaining time of the ten hours to find other productive tasks to complete or ride out the clock. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is explained by Lester (2013). Interns have a list of needs they desire to fulfill in order of importance. When each need is fulfilled the intern will move on to the next need. Every intern has different levels of needs they will fulfill. The two end needs of the internship are the need to graduate and the need to learn and grow from the internship experience. If an intern only desires to graduate then they will most likely chose to ride the clock out with their extra available time. Interns with the desire to learn and grow from the internship experience will reach out to management or other interns for tasks or find a topic to research and consider for improving or implementation. Completing tasks on time and reaching out for extra tasks demonstrates an intern’s personal presentation. The ultimate need of the student will affect how much is accomplished and how much the intern gains from the internship experience.
The procedure for granting Wave accounting software access has excellent documentation. The instructions are a step by step guide on how to grant access. The guide includes screenshots showing the web pages. Notes are given by the guide creator to pass along the details of completing the task correctly.
The organization will continue to grow and move closer to its goals. Documentation of processes and procedures is essential to maintain and pass along the knowledge from one intern to the next. Documenting processes and procedures is an excellent way for interns to spend their extra hours each week. Without proper documentation and access the organization will repeat the same mistakes and lose efficiency.
Organizations have different levels of ethics. Decisions made in the internship should be made with a high level of consideration for ethics. The internship is a part of the education process by University University. Any decisions made by interns are reflections of the University and of University’s ethical guidelines.
Interns must make daily decisions regarding the internship. These decisions can be based on consequential or non-consequential theories. Kant’s Categorical Imperative is a non-consequential theory. Johnston (2006) describes Kant’s theory as using morals to make decisions. Kant believed decisions should be based on morals and reasons and to ethical these decisions can’t be based on the future consequences of the decisions. Business decisions need to be made with ethics in mind. For interns to gain benefit from the decision making process then they must make ethical decisions. University has diverse group of students coming from different cultures and backgrounds. Consideration should be given to how decisions affect everyone. Unethical decisions could have a negative impact on other interns and University University.
The time clock manager decision was based on ethics. The time clock has two settings: employee and manager. Managers and leadership were given the status of time clock manager. With time clock manager status interns could review every intern in across University Finance and University Consulting making corrections or editing the time clock data. More than half of the interns in Finance had manager status. Too many interns had unrestricted access to the time clock data and could edit their time or other intern’s time clock. The decision was made to restrict access to the time to leadership and to interns with essential needs of accessing the time clock data. The decision affected managers and leadership. Managers were unable to adjust their own or department members’ time clock data. Directors were tasked with being responsible with making the time clock adjusted requested by interns. The decision was the correct one because it eliminated many opportunities for interns to make the unethical decision to adjust their own or any intern’s time clock without completing the time.
A major concern of the Finance department is the lack of accounting principles being followed. One principle incorrectly being followed is revenue recognition. Bloom and Kamm (2014, p51) describe the point of revenue recognition as “when a good or service is transferred to the customer, meaning the customer has control of that good or service, revenue should be recorded.” The accounts receivable department receives invoices from other departments concerning the amounts the other organizations owe to the University organizations. A framework doesn’t exist for recording the revenue properly. When an invoice is received by accounts receivable it is entered in the system without knowledge of the transfer of ownership to the customer.
Decisions should be based on the appropriate principles, concepts, and framework. University Finance should use the framework from the major accounting boards and associations to guide them on proper accounting. By considering the ethics of a decision and not the consequences better decisions will be made by Finance interns.
Organizational performance can be affected by the structure, management, and leadership. Organizations should be structured to meet the needs of the business. Management and leadership can make necessary changes to the structure to improve performance.
The structure of an organization depends on the needs of the business. The organization could use a functional, divisional, or matrix structure. Organizations using functional structures are divided by department or duties. The use of a functional structure can reduce the amount of communication and collaboration amongst departments. University Finance operates as a functional structure. To reduce concerns with communication amongst departments Randal and Jaussi (2003) suggest using cross-functional teams for projects or problem solving. By obtaining ideas from multiple departments the team will have multiple perspectives and an increased diversity of ideas and solutions. The increased amount of ideas and solutions means the possibility of taking the correct action is increased.
Management and the amount of experience in those positions can affect performance. The first new interns of this year came into a situation where two departments had new interns for manager and clerks. This situation creates a department with no experience in how the department is supposed to function. The quality of the performance of the department is reduced and knowledge is lost. To counter the chances of this situation occurring again the next set of new interns were spread across the departments. The spread of interns created a situation where there would be an intern in the department to take over the responsibilities when the managing intern left. The outgoing manager would have the time and opportunity to instill the necessary knowledge to the incoming manager.
Leadership is ultimately responsible for the performance of an organization. Leadership provides the guidance necessary to achieve the goals of the company. The goal setting theory described Locke and Latham (2006) believes setting higher goals will result in greater achievements by the employees. University Finance leadership has a lofty goal of working as an actual company and a lessor goal of assisting small non-profits. The Finance department can reach these goals but the issue is in how to achieve them. The most recent outgoing Finance Vice President and Director didn’t have any accounting experience or background to base decisions on. A formal plan wasn’t in place to help guide the leadership team in making the appropriate decisions. Little communication came from the top leadership. The result is the strides being made for the organization to reach its goals are unconnected. Leadership sees a need to address and finds out how to address the need. The need of sending out W-2 tax forms was identified. The issue with sending out W-2 forms is that a cumulative total of wages and taxes for last year wasn’t maintained for each employee. If the W-2s are sent out they could have incorrect data because of the information not being maintained.
Structure, management, and leadership have an effect on performance. The organization has a lack of consistent leadership and management. The negative affect on performance will slow the organization down from reaching its goals.
University Finance could have the opportunity to expand globally. Each potential global market has different economics, government, and laws affecting value creation. How University Finance operates to create value in each global market will be affected by each market’s economics, government, and laws.
Each market operates in a different economy. University Finance currently operates in a country with a robust economy and growing market for accounting and financial services. In order to expand to smaller countries University Finance will have to understand where it fits into the market. A couple of the University organizations have the current ability to help small non-profits and would be able to expand globally. The radio and ELV department has the ability to expand globally. The services of University are essentially free of charge to customers so it wouldn’t have to be concerned about the economy of other markets to compete with competitors.
University Finance currently operates in a capitalist market in the United States. Markets across the globe operate with different levels of government influence or control. In China the government controls which foreign companies are allowed to operate, where they operate, and what services they can provide (Schuman, Jiang, & Ramzy, 2012). University Finance would have to get approval from the Chinese government to operate. The government would then license University Finance to only operate in certain places and offer only certain services. University Finance can expect more government regulations and restrictions placed on them than the domestic companies they are competing against. The cost of successfully operating in China could outweigh the potential gains.
Most countries across the globe have laws based on one of two systems: civil law or common law. The United States operates under common law. In common law countries the legislative body makes the laws but the judicial system interprets the laws. Civil is a system where the judicial branch must base decisions on the written codes and judges are less likely to protect individuals and corporations (Shakar, 2011). University Finance has more protection under the common law system. Common laws are based on the precedents of previous decisions and how the law is interpreted. Countries with similar laws as the United States would offer the easiest transition.
Expanding globally offers great opportunities but many hardships. The University organizations could find the most lucrative market and expand into it. Careful consideration must be made as economies, governments, and laws could make profitability difficult in certain global markets.
Professionals with successful careers not only have the skills needed but use them to drive business results (Morgan, 2011). The internship offers many opportunities to learn, use, and improve my career skills. The skills gained and improvements made will be valuable for my career.
Active Listening involves giving others full attention to understand what they are saying. The director of finance has to be able to help the managers in the different departments solve problems. I didn’t have experience in all the departments so it was important for me to listen to the managers as they explained their issues and ask questions to determine what exactly the issue was. The accounts payable department had an issue concerning invoices. I was able to listen to the issue and determine the problem was concerning what to do with the invoices received. I have learned to make sure I have all the information I need and have asked any questions before I attempt to solve the issue.
Judgment and decision making is weighing the costs and benefits of actions and making the correct choice. Decisions have positives and negatives. One decision made was to have one manager for the audit and tax department. The decision benefits the organization by allowing it to operate effectively with one less intern. The downside is this gives one less manager position for an intern to promote up to and more responsibilities for the manager for both departments. The most important part of the decision making was keeping University Finance running efficiently. The correct decision was made to combine the tax and audit manager position. To make the best decision I needed to consider what was most important, positive and negative effects.
Critical thinking is an effective way to solve problems. The problem was too many interns had edit access to the time clock. The strength of the decision was to reduce the number of interns who had edit access to everyone’s time clock. The weakness of the decisions was now department managers couldn’t see their interns’ time and documentation for their time. If the time clock status for the department managers had been left as is then the strength and weakness of the decision would have been reversed. Another part of the decision was our ability to provide access on an as needed basis.
Communication is one of the most valuable skills for any career. After a few emails I realized I needed to include more information in e-mails. The delays in responses back and forth made it difficult to solve problems or get information from others quickly. E-mails need to be clear and concise in order to eliminate a misunderstanding or having to send several responses to inform the recipient.
Time management is the skill I practiced the most during the internship. I have ten hours of internship time to put in and the time it takes for completing coursework to account for each week. I must consider how to allot my time between the coursework and the internship. As manager and director I must consider other interns time. I must assign tasks for interns to get their time in but not overly burden them so they don’t have time to work on academic assignment.
Today’s business environment is constantly changing. The ability to adapt to change is about learning new information and using it for decisions and future problems. The internship is over a short amount of time. I only spent two weeks as an audit clerk, two more weeks as a manager, and four weeks as director. As soon as the change happens I must be ready to make the decisions and solve the problems that come with the position.
As accounts payable manager I had one of my most valuable experiences of being thrown into a situation and asked to improve the situation. The accounts payable department had new interns as manager and clerk. The department wasn’t performing. I replaced the accounts payable manager to get the department moving again. I worked with the clerk to learn about the department and figure out what needed to be done. I was able to contact the senior advisor for support and was able to take control of the department. I enjoyed successfully completing my task and learned from being in an uncertain situation. The challenges I face will be like this one. I will be tasked to complete assignments I am not certain about and look forward to competing them well.
Communication is one of the most valuable skills. I have to learned how better use written communication. I was also able to speak during Finance meetings. Speaking online to others was a different experience and offered a chance to speak publicly in a different environment. The speaking opportunity was another chance to work on a skill I am not fully comfortable with. Because I am a shy and introverted person I will continually be faced with communication challenges.
My strengths are teamwork and hard work. I enjoy helping others and working hard to get the job done. I hope my strengths can help me prosper in my career.
The internship has been a journey. Reflecting back on what was accomplished and what could have been better is very beneficial to the learning experience. Mistakes are made but there is the opportunity to learn from them. The experience has will prove to be a worthwhile undertaking.
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