Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ThedaCare Internship

Katelyn Frassetto
Accounting/Finance Intern

I am currently an Accounting/Finance Intern with ThedaCare. ThedaCare is community health system that includes four hospitals, twenty-two physician locations, residential facilities for senior citizens and multiple ThedaCare at Home, ThedaCare at Work, and ThedaCare Behavioral Health Services locations. Through all of our locations we provide medical care for over 150,000 individuals each year. As the intern at our corporate office, I have the opportunity to experience many different aspects and be involved in many of the processes of operating a non-for-profit organization.

In my position I am responsible for a wide variety of tasks, which is one of my favorite aspects of the internship. I am not tied down to just journal entries or just asset management. So far I have been involved in many processes and responsibilities. My largest project has been compiling information for our 990 tax return and learning the tax requirements of a non-for-profit organization. Through this experience I was able to learn a lot about the account structure and flow of assets in hospitals, physician services, our corporate office and other entities. I also had direct contact with our outside public accounting firm, which gave me great experience in building professional relationships and confidently communicating financial information.

Some of my other responsibilities or projects I have been or will be involved in include asset and capital management, preparation of end of year financial statements, mileage and account audits, liability insurance renewals, balance sheet and bank reconciliations, regulatory research, cost justification, company audit, other tax reporting requirements, retention program improvement, automation of documents and still others.

One of the few challenges I faced is when I first started. I was completely unaware of what to expect. To my delight, the people here are all very helpful. I was worried I was going to be overwhelmed and thrown into projects larger than what I was capable of. But I was proven wrong very quickly. My supervisor is very understanding and knows how to motivate people. He allows someone to grow in their position in their own way. He knows how to give just enough guidance and let you run with it. He helps me strive to reach my full potential even if I don’t know what that is or how to achieve it.

I have learned so much in the little time I’ve been here so far. Working at ThedaCare is helping me define my career path choices. I know an organization like ThedaCare would definitely be somewhere I would want to work. I know to look for a culture and company that values and motivates its employees. Due to the varied experiences I now have, I also know more about which area of accounting I want to pursue. I have also learned how to professionally present myself.

The biggest difficulty I have encountered so far is my lack of confidence. Being in a professional environment surrounded by very intelligent and successful people was quite intimidating at first. Yet, the most significant improvement I have noticed is the confidence I now have in myself and my abilities. Initially I was inhibited and afraid to ask for projects or things to work on because I was afraid I would be unable to succeed, fulfill the requirements or do something wrong. My supervisor and coworkers have been extremely helpful in mentoring me and teaching me that everyone make mistakes and needs assistance. They have showed me how much I learned from the College of Business and how I truly am able to apply that knowledge. Now, I willingly ask for projects because I am much more confident and I realize they are opportunities for me to learn, not to fail. I encourage anyone starting an internship not to hesitate. You will miss out on very rewarding and beneficial learning opportunities.

My experience so far has been very rewarding. I feel very appreciative for this opportunity. I have gained an extraordinary amount of hands on experience and real world knowledge. Overall it is an honor to be a part of the ThedaCare team and work with such amazing people. ThedaCare’s accounting/finance department is making huge leaps in providing better quality and cheaper costing healthcare and I am honored to be a part of their success and innovation.

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