Labour Day is over, and students have headed back to University. For accounting students entering the Co-Op Programme at both uOttawa and Carleton, the next few weeks will be busier than ever. Even before attention starts to turn to midterms and assignments, the demands of interviewing for those Co-Op positions will kick in.
We are huge proponents of the Co-Op education programs at our local universities. We have participated by hiring accounting students for 5 years now, and our experience has been nothing short of spectacular.
A very cynical view of the Co-Op Programme is that it provides Accounting Firms with “cheap labour”. That’s certainly not the case at Vaive and Associates, and we strive to pay our students a fair wage for the work that they do. For us, our students truly are important members of our team. The contributions that they make during the busiest times of our business cycle are precisely what enable us to provide excellent service to our clients. Without the contributions of our students, it is hard to imagine how we could navigate the challenges of “busy season”. What started out as “Let’s hire Co-Op students to see how that might work out”, has now become “How could we ever manage without their contribution”.
During the Co-Op placement, our students get to see many different areas of taxation. At first, it seems like a mix of different and seemingly irrelevant processes. By the time they have completed their work terms, they will have prepared financial statements and corporate tax returns. At that point, all of those seemingly irrelevant processes will be woven together, and the big picture emerges. It is rewarding to watch as our students grow professionally and learn things that you can’t get from a classroom — no matter how good that classroom is. To excel in Public Accounting requires a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, and the Co-Op program is perfectly suited to provide just that.
Another benefit of the Co-Op programme is that it provides a path to full time employment. We’ve been lucky to have some great students join us as Co-Op placements, and to join us full time once they graduate. We hope that continues for many years to come.