Summer Stiles is in her third year of the Bachelor of Commerce co-op program, majoring in Accounting and minoring in Mandarin Studies. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Summer was drawn to the program by the ability to graduate with work experience.
Summer is currently completing her third co-op at a start-up called Make Your Mark Today!, a search engine optimization company that supports small businesses by helping them rank higher on Google. In addition, the company also owns a small barbershop located in North End Halifax. Secured through personal connections and networking, Summer’s position as the Staff Accountant involves overseeing both companies’ finances, profitability, and accounting, as well as some operational aspects.
Throughout Summer’s co-op, she has been exposed to many new learning opportunities. “I’ve gotten the opportunity to redesign websites for clients and I have had the chance to personally file payroll and GST/HST taxes for Make Your Mark Today!” When asked what her biggest accomplishment was this co-op term, Summer said, “Speaking with the company’s clients and directing them on how to make their websites and brand more appealing to their customers”.
One major advantage of working for a start-up is often a smaller core staff group can give you the ability to have your voice heard. For Summer, her favourite part about her position is the autonomy and the relationship she has with her boss. “My boss considers my opinion extremely important, which can be difficult to find in a co-op position.” Summer enjoys the freedom in her position and the ability to freely express what she thinks would contribute to the overall success of the company. “Most of all, I am learning so much. Being responsible for all of the ‘numbers’ in the businesses means I have to do lots of research. I’ve never learnt so much in a job. I also love being a part of small and successful businesses”.
Due to COVID-19, Summer is completing her co-op remotely, which she enjoys but expresses that it does come with its challenges. “This job is very doable remotely, but because I do not have a direct accounting supervisor to ask questions to, I must answer almost all of my own questions through research. I find it very similar to online school, but instead of getting simply tested on my knowledge, I have to flawlessly apply my knowledge”.
Summers’ advice for you:
- Organization is key, especially during remote school and work. Every Monday I make myself a to do list for the week and each day I go over and focus on what I want/need to accomplish that day. It keeps me well organized and it is very motivating to see items getting checked off my to do list.
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