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image of kerkering barberio interns

From left to right: Wallace Trahern, Erica Sims, Alicia Driggers, and Kailee Ringrose completed the accounting internship program at Kerkering Barberio in 2023. 

USF Bulls land new careers after tax season internships at Kerkering Barberio

TAMPA -- For accountants, tax season is the most challenging time of the year. Add college students and recent grads to the mix, and the accounting internship program at Kerkering Barberio provides an exciting opportunity to gain hands-on experience for future tax and accounting professionals during the busiest time of the year.

Upon successful completion of the internship, many students are offered full-time positions as staff accountants. This year, six interns from the University of South Florida’s Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy accepted employment offers from Kerkering Barberio. They joined the team as staff accountants the day after the April 18 tax deadline.

The USF Muma College of Business student and alumni interns said the Kerkering Barberio internship was an eye-opening and enriching experience.

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Wallace Trahern interned at accounting firm Kerkering Barberio.

“I didn’t have any prior experience working with taxes before this, so I had to ask a lot of questions, but everyone is very approachable,” said Wallace Trahern, who will graduate from USF in 2023. “I’ve learned never to be afraid to ask questions because when you are starting in tax, there will be a lot.” 

Trahern said the four-month internship confirmed his love for accounting and taxes.

“I had an idea coming into this internship that I would like taxes from the tax courses I had taken, and I was right. I am a 100% tax guy,” he said. “My advice to other students who might be exploring internships for next year is to keep an open mind and think about what you like, but don’t be afraid to try something new. You won’t know what you like until you’ve tried it.”

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Kailee Ringrose interned at accounting firm Kerkering Barberio.

Fellow intern Kailee Ringrose, who graduated from USF with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2022, said the internship gave her an overview of the entire 1040 tax return form. 

“Choosing a mid-sized firm like Kerkering Barberio was a big decision for me because I know a lot of my friends went to Big 4 firms and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of experience doing more things than I might have with a big firm.

“Rather than specializing in one specific part of a 1040 form or a single account, I’ve been exposed to the entire tax return and multiple clients, allowing me to figure out future career paths.,” she said.

Alicia Driggers, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from USF in May, said her biggest takeaway was realizing it’s okay to not know everything.

“A personal challenge for me was realizing that I don’t know everything and that I wasn’t going to know it within a few days. It has been a constant learning process,” she said. “It took me a little while to grasp that when comparing this role to other jobs I’ve had where you can figure things out in a few days.”

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Alicia Driggers interned at accounting firm Kerkering Barberio.

“We had daily training for the first six weeks and still have monthly tax update training,” Driggers said. “I’ve gained a ton of knowledge in my time here that you just don’t get in the classroom with all the hands-on work.”

As the 2023 interns begin their accounting careers, recruitment for next year’s program has already begun. These recent internship alumni agree the experience was worth it.

“Everyone is willing to help and has been very nice through the entire learning process with the interns and the many questions that we’ve had,” said Erica Sims, a 2023 intern and USF accounting student who graduated in May.

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Erica Sims interned at accounting firm Kerkering Barberio.

“The culture at Kerkering Barberio is positive and welcoming. That is what sets it apart from larger employers,” she said. “They make a concerted effort to show appreciation for their employees and acknowledge hard work, not only during the busy tax season but throughout the year. I’m grateful for this internship experience and had a wonderful time at Kerkering Barberio.”

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