Senior accounting major Cody McQuillen has had a number of internship and leadership opportunities during his time at the University of North Georgia (UNG). Most recently, he landed a job working as an independent contractor within the treasury department at the Chick-Fil-A corporate office.
“Being able to participate in this role has changed my mindset and my outlook on professional goals completely,” McQuillen said. “I never thought that I would be working for one of the most successful organizations in the United States at such an early stage in my career.”
McQuillen says his accounting courses have laid the foundation for him to understand the financial processes involved in his current role. As an independent contractor, he works from home. This has proven to be a different experience in that face-to-face workplace communication is rare.
“Since I was not working at the actual office location, my professionalism was important in a different way,” McQuillen said. “I still had to ensure that all the email communication that I sent out was sharp, polished, and professional.”
Something this job entails is using different software to analyze and reconcile data from approximately 400 Chick-Fil-A stores across the country.
“I’m very interested in the technology side of accounting and finance, so I really enjoyed seeing first-hand how technology is utilized in the accounting processes of an organization,” McQuillen said. “I enjoyed utilizing technology and the different software, to add value and ensure that the financial information was accurate.”
McQuillen previously completed winter and summer treasury accounting internships with the Georgia Office of State Treasurer. He made valuable connections there that led to being referred for the Chick-Fil-A position. He would encourage students to value their professional networks and to give back to them as much as possible.
“One of the most important skills is to always remain positive and to be the person others enjoy working with,” McQuillen said. “This is achieved by producing quality work, doing what you said you would do, being positive, and communicating effectively.”
McQuillen hopes to attend graduate school next fall to get his master’s degree in information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity. He wants to continue learning about technology and how to leverage its uses in the accounting and finance fields.
Being involved on campus is something that McQuillen has benefitted from in multiple ways. This semester, he has had to balance his time to fulfil his duties for Chick-Fil-A, maintain success in his classes, study for the GMAT and effectively lead the Beta Alpha Psi chapter at UNG.
“I’ve learned that when you step out of your comfort zone and go the extra mile by getting involved, you learn an exponential amount about leadership,” McQuillen said. “The skills that I have developed while participating in leadership activities at UNG have been vital to my success, and I am extremely appreciative of the support from the faculty and the resources available that make these leadership opportunities available to students like me.”