My First 60 Days as a Audit Associate

Hannah WattsMy name is Hannah Watts and I have been an audit associate at Holtzman for 60 days. While 60 days seems like a short amount of time, it is crazy to look back and see how much I have learned during that short amount of time.

My First Day

Starting on my first day I was a ball of nerves. Holtzman is my first full-time position outside of college. Being fresh out of grad school and new to the world of auditing, I didn’t know what to expect and wanted to make a good impression, even if it was through zoom. My first meeting was to set up my laptop with Brandon, our IT Specialist, then I ran through HR onboarding with Mya, our HR Director. After, I had my first-day lunch with my buddy – someone who helps new hires navigate their new job – and two other audit associates. I immediately felt at ease with them and was reminded why I was drawn to Holtzman in the first place. Everyone at the firm was so kind, approachable, and willing to help. I felt comfortable right away and wasn’t scared to reach out to others for help with the millions of questions I had. Needless to say, my first day was a success and I felt I was able to make connections with my new co-workers, even while working in a virtual environment.

60 Days Later

Fast forward 60 days and I still feel the same way about Holtzman – I love it! On my first day, I was placed in a POD, or a team, that was auditing employee benefit plans. Being in a POD helped me to create closer connections with those in the audit department and offered me a great way to meet people. While it may sound crazy that I was tasked with auditing employee benefit plans (EBPs) before I had participated in one myself, I was amazed at how much I could learn in such a short amount of time. All of my new knowledge was acquired through the training and calls with team members who were always more than willing to explain how to work through the audit and the specifics of auditing an EBP. I have been so lucky that I was able to get into real work so quickly and felt like I was really contributing to the team. I started by mostly working on planning documents and working through the details of how to conduct the audit and what types of testing we would perform. I quickly moved to conducting the testing over the contributions to a plan, pulling reports from recordkeepers, testing distributions from a plan, and much more! The thing that surprised me most was how much I enjoyed doing the work. If you would have told me a couple of months ago that I would be excited about auditing a 401k plan, I would have thought you were crazy. All the happiness I have experienced around work can really be contributed to two main factors – the people and the culture.

Feeling Like Part of the Team

I immediately felt at ease with the people at Holtzman. Everyone, partners included, are easy to approach and genuinely wants to see you succeed. While I was worried about connecting to others in a mostly virtual environment, I have found that Holtzman has done a good job of keeping us connected. Whether it be a POD lunch in the office, a company happy hour, or the very competitive college football pick’em group we have, there’s always an opportunity to meet someone new, or someone who you may have thought existed only over Zoom! I have also had the opportunity to go into the office and meet up with some fellow audit associates. I love working alongside others in an office setting, especially when the kitchen is stocked with yummy snacks. Being paired with a coach on my first day, who helped me set long-term career goals and has guided me along the way, has also been helpful. I have felt that Holtzman really wants to see me succeed and does all they can do to prepare their employees for success in and out of the workplace. I feel so lucky to have learned so much over the past few months and know I will continue to grow through all the learning opportunities given to me at Holtzman, and from being surrounded by such skilled and knowledgeable co-workers.

My first 60 days at Holtzman – and in the real working world – were definitely different than expected, and thanks to the people and culture at Holtzman, it’s been in the best way. Now I am looking forward to seeing my career path and learning opportunities expand even more as Holtzman becomes Armanino LLP at the start of next year!

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