Inside ARB: Testimonials

Testimonials

Laura Everett, CPA, Director – Graduate of the University of Southern Maine

Karla Brannen, CPA, Tax Manager – Graduate of Thomas College

What is it like to gain experience though ARB’s  internship program? What made our talented staff choose to launch or expand their careers with ARB? The best way to learn the answers to questions like these is by exploring testimonials from our team members.

Erika Gagne, Senior Accountant

Husson University Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2013

I was first introduced to the accounting profession through my father, who spent his career in private accounting. When I decided to study accounting at Husson University, I learned more about public accounting options and heard about ARB through classmates. The opportunity arose for an ARB internship, and I jumped at the chance to be able to experience public accounting first-hand.

The Internship

One of the many things that I noticed about ARB was its sense of community. Before I even started my internship in January of 2013, I was invited to many firm-wide events, which proved to me just how different ARB’s culture is from other firms. As an intern, I felt like I was a valued member of the team. They do a great job at providing the knowledge and expertise of a large firm while still focusing on small-firm, personal touches.

I expected to be working on small projects, maybe even doing clerical work, but ARB proved me wrong. I did not expect to be working on in-depth returns and statements. From the very beginning, I was assigned many returns and other projects that tested me professionally. Whenever I ran into roadblocks or had questions, the staff was GREAT at helping out. All were willing to help me learn how to solve the problems. The team aspect really came into play, which is very important to me. They wanted to see me succeed in my goals. I was definitely challenged, but with the support of everyone at ARB, I was able to succeed.  They also provided great advice on my future goals of attaining my CPA and working in a public accounting firm. I learned so much from diving into a busy tax season within a public accounting firm and truly believe that ARB is a great place to be!

The Career

Since my internship, I have worked up to my current role as a Senior Accountant. During this time, I have been able to work with a variety of clients in all of our industries, including credit unions, dealerships, not-for-profits, and construction. I have also been able to work on a variety of complex projects including tax returns, audits, and consulting engagements, which has helped me grow professionally. ARB wants you to succeed in your goals, which I saw firsthand while studying for my CPA license. They encourage you to work towards your goals and provide opportunities to study during down times.

The Community

ARB is also great at employee involvement. One committee I am involved in is the Community Committee. This committee focuses on employee involvement in the communities we live and work in and provides opportunities to learn about and participate with local service organizations. The Portland community is a great community to become involved in. There are lots of activities and things to do in the Portland area, especially in the Old Port. I love how lively the area becomes, especially in the summer season. ARB is a great place to work!

 

Kevin Hudon, Senior Accountant

Husson University Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2013

The Internship

ARB was a great firm for an internship. Everybody that I worked with was remarkably patient with all of my questions, and everyone was very knowledgeable. It was a great environment to have questions answered and to be able to learn what an accountant experiences during tax season.

ARB was also very supportive of its employees’ work/life balance. There were no restrictions on when people needed to work. As long as you worked your required hours, then it didn’t matter when you worked them. As long as the work was completed on time, everyone was happy.

For me, the first lesson of tax season was how to work inside effectively all day. Coming from primarily labor jobs, my ARB internship was the first time I had to focus for a long day and use what I had learned in courses – and on the job – all day.

The Career

Once the internship was over and I started working at ARB full time, I notice that it’s really no different from your internship; from the first day I walked through the door, I was part of the family. The first full year at ARB was a challenge and a learning experience like I had never had before (and it was awesome!). I developed a system that worked for me – keeping track and balancing audit and tax work at the same time – and of course everyone at ARB was very helpful along the way. Now, three years later, I have taken everything I learned from my co-workers and from my own trials and tribulations and catapulted from charming intern with promise into a rapidly rising star with a promising young career. Stay tuned for updates. I look forward to regaling you with tales of my astounding ascent to management.

Living and Working in Maine

I enjoy living in Portland. There is a lot to do on my time off, and the people are all very friendly. It’s not a large place like Boston or New York – but there are things to do – and it has a city feeling to it while also retaining the feeling of a small town.

Brandon Spera, Assistant Senior Accountant

University of New Hampshire Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2015

My first introduction to ARB was at a career fair hosted at the University of New Hampshire. The accountant from ARB’s Recruiting Committee was extremely friendly and personable. That first conversation set ARB apart, which led me to attend their annual open house. Throughout my interviewing process everyone at the firm was extremely nice and welcoming. It was immediately clear that ARB was going to be a great place to work. Everyone works well together and there’s mutual support for growing in the field.

The Perks

I was attracted to a mid-size firm, rather than a larger firm, because I wanted to work in an environment with a focus support and mutual respect, not office politics. I also wanted to get as much experience in different industries as possible early in my career. ARB makes this a priority for new accountants, which not only improves your accounting knowledge, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and grow as a professional and an individual. I’m sure I was given more responsibility at ARB earlier in my career than a larger firm would have given me.

Living and Working in Maine

I enjoy spending time in the outdoors — hiking, rock climbing, running, canoeing and water skiing – so New England is a great place for my career. I’m a native of New Hampshire and attended UNH for both undergrad and graduate school. Now that I’m living and working in Portland, I love the city’s diverse restaurants, and our proximity to the ocean and mountains.

 

Dalton Myers, Assistant Senior Accountant

Thomas College Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2016 

The Internship

As soon as I started my internship, I knew ARB was going to be a great fit. Everyone was so accommodating and willing to help me learn and grow as an accountant from day one. After I accepted the full-time position and began getting more exposure, I knew I made the right choice.

The Career

ARB, being a mid-sized firm, allows me to get experience on both audit and tax engagements across many different industries. The people who work here are great, and that translates to a hardworking yet fun office culture. And with all the firm-sponsored events ARB puts on – from volunteering days in the community to post-deadline parties – there are plenty of opportunities to get to know your coworkers on a personal level.

 

Lauren Brady, Assistant Senior Accountant

University of Southern Maine Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2017

I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and after working for several years in healthcare administration I realized that I really wanted to focus on business. A career in accounting was a natural fit, given my interest in operations, economics, and finance. I appreciate that ARB values people who have taken alternative routes in their career, knowing that we can bring a lot of skills and experience to the table.

The Internship

My first introduction to ARB was through the recruiting process at the University of Southern Maine. I was interviewed for an internship, and I was instantly drawn to the enthusiasm the ARB interviewers had for their firm. When I did my internship at ARB, I understood their feelings! It was a challenging experience, but I was given the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks and never had a problem finding someone who would not only help me when I had questions, but who did so with kindness. I immediately felt like a valued part of the team and knew that, although public accounting would never present a shortage of challenges, at ARB, there would never be a shortage of support. I appreciate that everyone at ARB has been happy to remind me that we’ve all been there, and that they have encouraged me to ask questions and seek help.

The Career

I was so happy to be hired as a full time staff member after my internship, and now as an Assistant Senior Accountant my work is becoming even more fulfilling, as I’m given so many opportunities to expand my base of knowledge and experience. One thing I really appreciate about the firm is its size. We are small enough that I know everyone’s names, have met their families, and get to work on a daily basis with everyone from interns to partners. At the same time, we are big enough to contain a huge body of knowledge, experience, and resources.

The Perks

We work hard during tax season, but the firm recognizes that and makes sure to help us keep a good balance. Shorter summer hours, work parties, and opportunities to volunteer are all perks that make me feel rewarded for my hard work. The firm is invested in my professional growth – I have attended national, industry-specific conferences and trainings – but they are also invested in my ability to enjoy my personal life. And, those things are both very important to me.

I love that I get to work in both tax and audit. That’s a huge advantage over bigger firms, where new staff are often set out on one track or the other. At ARB, any time I’ve shown an interest in a particular topic or task, I’ve been mentored to explore it and see where my talents are best utilized. I’m gaining experience that will help me make the best choice for my career specialization, and that is an awesome thing, because the best way to know what you want, and what you’re good at, is to try it all out!

Living and Working in Maine

I moved to Maine from Boston several years ago, and while I love the big city, Portland gives me all of the opportunities without all the fuss. I’ve seen great bands play here, shopped in awesome local stores, and eaten amazing, world-class food. My favorite part is that I live just a short drive out of town, and, for the price of an easy commute, I get to be surrounded by the woods and lots of space and quiet. Working in Portland affords people a balance, where you can embrace the culture and accessibility of a great city, while also enjoying the beauty and landscape of some of the most gorgeous coastline and woods in the country.

Jenn Lemay, Staff Accountant

Thomas College Graduate | Joined ARB as an Intern in 2017

When I started my internship search my senior year at Thomas College, ARB was one of the first firms suggested to me. They have a wonderful reputation among my accounting professors and the Thomas alumni community, and many members of that community work for ARB.

I decided to attend the ARB annual open house, and that was when I knew they would be a great fit. I was able to ask questions and get a better feel for the atmosphere and the people I would be working with. I would highly recommend those seeking an internship to attend an open house and speak with employees of the firm firsthand about career goals and internship opportunities.

The Internship

During my internship, I was able to experience a variety of areas in public accounting, including both corporate and individual, while exploring multiple industries. ARB is a smaller more personal firm, so I was able to gain specific experience that was pertinent to my individual career goals.

Working for ARB, you are part of a team. Everyone is so supportive, and I am provided with the tools I need to learn and grow towards the career I want. I love that the company values each of us individually and makes sure that there is a healthy balance between work and personal life.

The Career

After I completed my internship, I was given the opportunity to continue at ARB as a Staff Accountant. Since I had already been through training as an intern, the transition into my new role was seamless. ARB uses real life scenarios in their training simulations, which help you prepare for real client cases. ARB also has an open door policy, allowing me to work closely with the partners and ask one-on-one questions.

At ARB, I am trusted to do my best work. There is no micromanagement, and I am provided with constructive feedback that allows me to constantly improve as an accountant and a professional. I can see myself moving up within the company and making a lifelong career here.