News from the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy

A Capital Experience

A long-time affinity for the nation’s capital led Morgan Buchanan to a prestigious internship this past spring with the PCAOB – the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“I knew I wanted to be in Washington, DC, so I started looking online,” says the Madison, MS, graduate student. “I came across the application and filled it out, not knowing what my chances were with this big, important, far-away governing body. But they called and asked me to interview.”

The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate and independent audit reports.

Buchanan began working at PCAOB headquarters in January as a risk analysis intern in the Office of Economic and Risk Analysis. She was joined by four peers – two from Georgia, one from Missouri and one who attended nearby George Washington University. They had a supervisor there in the office, but Buchanan was working for two research analysts, who were in Charlotte and south Florida.

“I identified and analyzed emerging audit and accounting issues that presented elevated risk of audit failure, by researching and using my analytical and problem solving skills,” she comments. “I gained significant exposure to the trends and developments affecting accounting and the auditing profession while also gaining exposure to advanced technology platforms, tools and databases.”

Buchanan enjoyed life in Washington as much as she had anticipated. Having found an apartment in the arty Adams Morgan neighborhood, she was a short bus ride from work near the White House. She spent her first weekends visiting major sites like the monuments and the Smithsonian.

“Then I really enjoyed sightseeing the neighborhoods, like Georgetown and the U Street Corridor,” she says. “There’s just so much to do. I explored the food scene, took my sister on the train to New York one weekend, went to a hockey game and a Nationals game. I went to the White House three times – for the regular tour, the spring garden tour and the Easter Egg Roll.”

While many internships lead to job offers, the PCAOB made clear up front that would not be a possibility because the organization requires about 10 years’ professional experience in its new staff members. However, Buchanan is confident her internship will impress potential employers.  She notes that one of her peers, in trying to decide between internship offers from the PCAOB and a major company, had been told by the company that he would still receive an offer for a full-time position but should intern at the PCAOB.

When she completes grad school, Buchanan hopes to begin her career in a public accounting firm…and she very much hopes it will take her back to Washington, DC.