Southeast Grad Paving Accounting Career at KPMG

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Nate Jones said he had a singular focus when he chose accounting as his major at Southeast Missouri State University.

“I wanted a job,” said the May 2019 graduate of Southeast who is an audit intern this summer with KPMG in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. “I’ve always loved business, and I felt that accounting was the best major to help me attain the goals I’ve set for myself.”

He says shaping internal business decisions intrigues him.

“Being able to look at financial numbers of a business and interpret them is a valuable skill that very few have,” he said.

A Festus, Missouri native, Nate said that from the moment he sat in on a presentation by KPMG and learned about its stature, he made it his goal to land an opportunity with one of the top four accounting firms in the world.  He began extensive networking with professionals and practicing interviews with Southeast’s Career Services to make his goal a reality.

He credits Dr. Leisa Marshall, Southeast professor of accounting, for assigning a project requiring him to interview three CPAs about their careers. Nate says this ultimately set him on the path towards his KPMG internship.

“I took advantage of this assignment and reached out to a KPMG senior manager who graduated from Southeast,” he said.

Nate shared his interest in being recruited, and the senior manager put him in touch with a KPMG recruiter. Career Services sharpened his resume and interviewing skills so he could take full advantage of the opportunity, and after a three-round interview process, he was offered the summer internship.

“I’ve learned so much from this experience. With being an intern at one the largest accounting firms in the world, I am able to gain experience from auditing clients of all sizes — Fortune 500 companies, all the way down to local companies within the St. Louis area,” he said. “This internship has taught me that I want to pursue opportunities with the Big Four, as the opportunities with a global firm are truly limitless. It has also confirmed to me that I want to start a career in auditing, as it fits both my interests and personality.”

At KPMG, Nate is an audit intern. Auditors review companies’ financial statements for reasonable accuracy. A company’s financial statement must be accurate because it is used for making decisions on trading in the stock market, companies receiving financing, and a variety of other important business considerations, he said.

He’s helping KPMG review client controls. These are steps taken by a company to prevent or detect fraud and errors, just as a retail employee counts a cash drawer after their shift, to protect against the act of stealing from the company. Reviewing a company’s controls is a necessary step in an audit, he said, because it can make an auditor’s job easier.

“When a control is functioning properly, an auditor can rely on the control and can more quickly draw a conclusion on the accuracy of financial statements,” he said.

Since arriving, KPMG sent Nate and more than 2,000 other interns to Orlando, Florida, for training, where he met KPMG staff from across the country.

“This was an awesome experience because it allowed me to see the reach of KPMG and how big the company truly is!” he said. “I have also been able to network with management, as we are matched with a partner and senior manager from the firm. This has allowed me to receive advice that is invaluable to my career and future.”

His internship has provided opportunities to participate in firm-sponsored events, including a St. Louis Cardinals game, an Anheuser-Busch tour, team dinners at St. Louis-area restaurants, and networking events at Ballpark Village.

“Working for KPMG has allowed me to see the various experiences that downtown has to offer,” he said.

Knowledge and experience are what Nate most hopes to take away from his summer at KPMG.

“This will be beneficial because I’ll be able to apply the knowledge throughout my MBA and early career,” he said. “My main goal during this internship is to receive a full-time offer, because if I do, I’ll be able to apply the various experiences that I am gaining now to my future career.”

This is the sixth accounting internship in which Nate has participated. At Southeast, he was  active in Beta Alpha Psi, Ignite Campus Ministry, Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.

“Outside of school and work, I love to play video games, explore the city, eat — I’m a major foodie — and listen to hip-hop music,” he said.

Since graduating from Southeast, he has begun an MBA program with an emphasis in international business at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

He’s set high goals for his future, hoping to become a partner of an accounting firm or a company’s chief financial officer in 10 to 20 years. This would set him up for financial stability and providing for a future family.

“I’m so excited to begin my career,” Nate said.

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